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Marketing in the Healthcare Sector

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Modern consumer products no longer fit neatly into categories like goods or services. Instead, most products involve a combination of these categories. For example, a mobile phone, at first glance, is a good, but it relies on a service provider to function — as such, it requires particular branding to reach its market. The healthcare industry relies on adaptable marketing like this more than many other industries because it offers combinations of good and services, such as therapy and medication, which healthcare providers bundle. Healthcare executives must understand not only the differences between marketing goods and services but also the specific challenges of marketing them both together. An online MBA program in healthcare marketing can provide the knowledge and training marketing professionals need to understand the nuances of the healthcare sector.

Unique Challenges

Healthcare marketing presents unique challenges. Before marketers can even develop strategies for branding healthcare-related goods and services, they must understand the underlying concept of healthy behavior and how it differs regionally, culturally or demographically. Further, healthcare markets must stay current on regulatory changes and technological advances before they can brand and market health. These three important factors in particular affect healthcare marketing:

  1. Demographics: Healthcare marketers must customize their efforts to the age, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds of their marketing audiences, as each has its own particular health needs and approaches to medical decision-making.
  2. Regulatory changes: Because healthcare is a highly regulated industry, marketers must constantly monitor changes to laws that might affect their industry. For example, changes in healthcare laws can affect how often people seek preventive care, which requires marketing campaigns that adapt to and educate about changes in healthcare. The Affordable Care Act gives patients more freedom to choose their insurance coverage and healthcare providers, which means healthcare marketers must concentrate on attracting new patients while retaining existing ones.
  3. Technology: Not only do patients have more choices about how and where they receive healthcare services, providers also have more choices regarding the technologies that connect them with their patients. Smartphones and mobile apps are transforming healthcare in several important ways. Apps that provide reminders about doctors’ appointments or medication protocols empower patients to manage their own health, enhancing quality of care and patient engagement. For providers, apps and software systems can collect and sort large volumes of complex patient data, again enhancing patient care and easing compliance with legal regulations. Social media trends and public opinions about health can also influence healthcare decisions, so savvy healthcare marketers must adjust their marketing campaigns accordingly.

Given these recent healthcare developments, it is more important than ever for professionals in healthcare marketing to recognize shifts in the industry and adapt to launch effective marketing efforts.

Learn about University of Texas Rio Grande Valley online MBA in Health Care Administration program.


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