As the healthcare industry is characterized by intense and ever-increasing rivalry, marketing becomes all the more essential as a mechanism for achieving success. Healthcare entities compete in what might be considered the most competitive of industries in an environment of immense complexity. On an ongoing basis, hospitals, medical clinics, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and other healthcare establishments vie against one another in their respective markets for the opportunity to serve customers. Each of these healthcare organizations ultimately is in search of growth and prosperity, and the best managed of these entities will
indeed, realize this goal. Marketing possibly the most critical management responsibility associated with pursuit and realization of growth and prosperity.
Marketing can broadly be defined as a management process that involves the assessment of customer wants and needs, and the performance of all activities associated with the development, pricing, provision, and promotion of product solutions that satisfy those wants and needs. Although most often associated with advertising and sales, marketing is much more encompassing, as its definition implies. Aside from promotions activities, marketing includes such critical functions as environmental scanning wants and needs assessment, new product development, target marketing, product pricing, product distribution, and market research.
For anyone engaged in the healthcare industry, the importance of understanding marketing cannot be understated. We have to think about marketing as “Inbound” marketing (hearing from stakeholders) and “Outbound” marketing (getting the word out to stakeholders).
Inbound marketing includes marketing research to find out: what specific needs of a specific potential customers, how those needs might be met (Target market), how much the customers might be willing to pay (Pricing analysis), who the competitors are (Competition analysis), how to design and describe the product or service, and how the product should be identified (Branding). Outbound marketing includes Advertising and promotions, sales, public and media relations, customer service, customer satisfaction. Effective inbound marketing often results in much more effective and less difficult outbound marketing.
Marketing is an innovative field that attracts very creative people. Implementing a marketing strategy is a multi-faceted activity. Marketing strategy can be developed by the management team and rolled out to the organization once it is completed. The extent to which approach works, depends a lot on the issues involved with the strategy development, the culture of the organization, and the buy-in to the plan by the organization as a whole. Consequently, implementing a marketing strategy involves so much more than marketing. It involves the whole company.
This article describes some of the Basic Concepts of Healthcare Marketing; such as: an introduction to marketing, product lifecycle, Igor Ansoff’s Product-Market expansion grid, Martin Lindstrom’s 5-D brand Sensogram, the Market-Product grid, GAGMAR Marketing communication spectrum, Raphel and Raphel’s Loyalty Ladder, the PEST analysis, the SWOT analysis, Blake and Mouton’s Sales grid, Michael Porter’s value chain.
Marketing can broadly be defined as a management process that involves the assessment of customer wants and needs, and the performance of all activities associated with the development, pricing, provision, and promotion of product solutions that satisfy those wants and needs. Although most often associated with advertising and sales, marketing is much more encompassing, as its definition implies. According to John L. Fortenberry “Marketing is possibly the most critical management responsibility associated with the pursuit and realization of growth and prosperity.
Wants and Needs
Marketing pursuits normally begin with assessing the wants and needs of customers. The terms want and need are often used interchangeably in society. A need is something that a person requires for well-being and possibly survival, while a want is something that a person simply desires. For example, coronary artery bypass surgery represents a need, while elective cosmetic surgery represents a want because the surgery is not medically necessary.
Products: Goods and Services
The term product refers to any offer provided by an entity for purchase and consumption. A product can be a good (i.e., tangible item), a service (i.e., an intangible item), or hybrid (i.e., an item with tangible and intangible characteristics).
When organizations develop new products, marketers must determine which customer groups they wish to pursue and how they wish to present their products to these groups, this practice is known as target marketing. Through target marketing, marketers customize product offerings and associated marketing activities in an effort to address that wants and need of specific customer groups.
Target marketing involves three interrelated activities: market segmentation, targeting, and product positioning.
The Marketing Mix
Upon identification of the particular segment or segments to pursue, marketers formulate the marketing mix for each customer group that is sought. The marketing mix includes four interdependent components: product, price, place, and promotion. It is often referred to as the four Ps of marketing. The product involves the development of goods and services that will meet and, ideally, exceed the wants and needs of target markets. Price involves all elements associated with pricing products in a manner that will be attractive to target markets. Place refers to all elements involved in making products available to customers. Promotion
involves all activities associated with communicating product attributes to target markets, such as advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing.
Ongoing Marketing Surveillance
Throughout the marketing process, marketers must maintain a keen awareness of the environment by engaging in ongoing marketing surveillance. Marketing surveillance activities include assessing customer wants and needs, assessing the potential of markets, identifying market trends, monitoring product performance in given markets, monitoring the activities of competitors, and determining future market pursuits.