Healthcare Marketing and Strategy

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Introduction

There is no doubt that in a rapidly changing world, a modern clinic must remain relevant and accessible to patients. It is difficult to give an answer to the question of whether a universal cure for all diseases will ever be discovered, but by the present moment, it can be stated that the demand for medical services among consumers is not decreasing. In this case, it may seem that there is no urgent need for a clinical organization to change its organizational structure to meet the requirements of modern society. However, such an approach will be unsuccessful, as it can be seen that the market of medical services is replete with offers, which means that clients will always choose what is more appropriate for them. From this point of view, the changes proposed by the CEO are justified and feasible to implement. The purpose of this essay is to discuss two marketing strategies aimed at mature or global patients, in the context of choosing the best option.

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Reference Information

The practice of implementing new marketing strategies should be preceded by an analysis of the market and consumer demands. As can be seen, the CEO proposes two plans that are entirely different in structure and idea: to expand commercial offers for mature or international patients. Determining the needs of the target audience is of primary importance, and therefore, it is necessary to clarify the principal differences between the two cohorts. First and foremost, mature patients are clients who may experience some health problems due to their age. The range of such diseases traditionally includes cardiovascular problems, cerebrovascular and oncological diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus, age-related dementia, and bone structure damage (Sweigard, 2020). In other words, by choosing this category of patients as the target group, the company director should invest in the development of the chronic disease therapy industry.

An alternative cohort is the category of international patients who seek services from American clinical organizations. It appears that such groups include formal and irregular migrants or travelers who have health issues. Regardless of the reason, it is worth recognizing that the treatment of international patients presents a particular difficulty due to cultural and social differences between the parties. It is not uncommon for members of the same cultural group to go to American medical facilities for help but receive the support that is not what was expected. Therefore, it is crucial to develop a mechanism for interaction with international patients in the field of health care to ensure safety for both them and the indigenous population (Marceca, 2017). From this point of view, the company’s CEO will need to invest in developing experience with and needs analysis of alternative ethnic groups.

Marketing Offer One: For Mature Patients

This proposal aims to discuss the development of the medical business towards providing services to mature American patients. The choice of this path would be justified by the large number of potential clients who would seek medical care from the company in question. In particular, according to Duffin (2020), more than a third of the US population (35.6%) is over fifty years old. This fact creates a unique situation, as the company opens up several business strategies that are appropriate to attract such patients.

Word of Mouth Marketing

One of the most studied ways to attract clients remains to encourage the dissemination of useful information about the company in society. According to this rule, patients who once applied to a medical organization for help will definitely mention their experience in dialogue with friends or family if it was positive (Kenton, 2020). According to Kenton, more than 92% of consumers trust their friends rather than traditional advertising, which generates interest in this strategy. In addition, it is actually a tool for free advertising, as the investment is almost zero. However, it is essential to understand that under this option, the company must provide the maximum quality of patient care to increase the likelihood of positive information spreading. This effect can be intensified by generous promotions, discounts, and patient loyalty systems.

Internet Marketing

Another strategy that may be relevant for mature Americans is the involvement of patients through the Network: the so-called e-marketing. Identifying the proportion of adult patients using computer technology is undoubtedly crucial for the success of the project. Thus, according to Kakulla (2020), about 86% of Americans over 50 use smartphones every day, and 17% have smart home appliances that help them integrate with the Internet. These are quite acceptable figures to make a decision to deploy a marketing program to attract patients. In particular, specific measures may include actively targeted advertising of thematic publications on social networks, calls for action, involvement through social surveys, contests, and discount systems. In such projects, the marketing concept proposed by Marsh (2010) can be used, the essence of which is to “rejuvenate” the audience in appeals and publications. On the other hand, with the help of Internet technologies, the company can carry out powerful analytical work aimed at assessing the needs and demands of clients (Leonard, 2019). For instance, while searching for medications for kidney failure is common among mature people, a company can use this knowledge to offer hemodialysis procedures.

Customer Focus and Client Profile

An important milestone in marketing strategies to attract clients is to retain current patients and try to interest them in new services. It is known that many clinical companies have their databases containing information on previous patient visits, diseases, and prescription medications (Marsh, 2010). Intra-corporate turnover of data between marketing and analytical departments can allow sufficient information to be gathered on patient needs. In particular, if the database states that the previous time a client contacted a clinic for surgical procedures, then a message or call to such a patient offering great discounts and promotions for new ones would be relevant. However, it is fair to say that obtrusive calls with service suggestions are not always received by clients in a friendly manner, and consequently, the company management should consider other reasons for calls or messages. For instance, themes of such communication with already treated patients can be a desire to learn a health condition of clients or specification whether the help of doctors is not required to them.

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Marketing Offer Two: For International Patients

At first glance, it may seem that strategies to attract international clients are much more complicated than for mature clients. To a large extent, this effect is justified by social conflicts with patients from other countries or other cultural and ethnic groups. It is well known that traditions, habits, and morals typical of the U.S. may not be well received in West Asian countries. Nevertheless, it should be recognized that this category of patients is very advantageous for attraction because if the strategic plan is implemented, the company has the potential to increase its recognition among a wide range of consumers significantly. According to statistics proposed by Duffin (2020), about 40% of the U.S. population are not native white people, and this trend will continue to grow, and by 2060, this mark will approach 60%. Meanwhile, American medicine is known worldwide as one of the highest and most affordable systems (Fell, 2002; Radu, 2020). In other words, it means that there is a strong demand for local medical services, so the CEO could consider investing in attracting such clients.

Structure of Services

Although the example in question does not specify the company’s specific medical services, it can be assumed that their range is wide enough to cover the interests of large segments of society. However, this approach is rarely successful in terms of gaining international popularity, as there are universal clinics in almost every developed country. On the contrary, if the CEO reorients the organization to provide narrowly specialized services, there is a great chance to become better known. Patients from all over the world will strive to get into this clinic if it provides quality services to patients who are refused in other institutions.

Multilinguality of Advertising Materials

The company’s welcoming website is its business card, through which customers determine commercial value. There is no doubt that if the site is poorly structured, not adapted to the needs of users, and has inadequate design, patients will refuse to visit the institution. The language switching function of the site is not insignificant in creating an ideal site for attracting global clients (Denning, 2019). Such a tool will demonstrate a company’s willingness to work with different ethnic groups and increase client loyalty (Fell, 2002). It is important to note that this approach is also relevant for social media publications, which can be duplicated in several languages. However, it should be borne in mind that the creation of an alternative version of the website itself is unlikely to become a successful engine for the company’s development on the international market: it requires the involvement of marketing and analytical departments.

Cooperation With an International Company

If the clinic is located in a large enough city where there are offices of multinational companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, or others, it is advisable to conclude a partnership agreement with the management of these companies. In particular, the subject of the transaction may be the provision of medical services to employees of companies, which traditionally include representatives of different groups, at reduced prices. As a result, two parties benefit from such partnership: the medical clinic increases the flow of foreign clients, and the conglomerate takes care of employees’ health.

Recruitment of Foreign Employees

It seems apparent that, every time an international client looks at a company’s personnel list and sees a member of their race or ethnic group, the trust in the organization increases. In other words, it is possible to attract a large number of international visitors by ensuring that the main demands of consumers are met. It is essential to recognize that this method requires a prior assessment of customer interest because it is evident that the company is unable to hire representatives of all nationalities.

Participation in Exhibitions and Medical Tourism

In today’s world, transoceanic tourism has become quite accessible, and that is why so many residents of European, Asian, and African countries visit the U.S. territory to relax and travel. On the other hand, some people purposefully visit American hospitals for a number of reasons, including cost and narrow profile (“Marketing strategies,” 2018). This phenomenon is exceptionally beneficial for the medical organization, and consequently, it should consider health tourism in strategic planning. Specific measures may include the creation of tours with special accommodation and flights, as well as assistance in obtaining visas. Meanwhile, foreign citizens can learn about the clinic at local forums, where companies traditionally present their brand. Fell (2002) points to the importance of maintaining a strong brand, for instance, like Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic, which is vital for attracting international clients. If the CEO looks at the most significant international exhibitions and acquires a place for a pharmaceutical company to participate, there is a possibility of increased recognition of the organization (“6 easy strategies,” 2018). Thus, foreign visitors to the exhibition interested in the clinic’s offers will be able to study the pricing policy and services and make an appointment to see a doctor.

Selection of the Best Marketing Offer

In general, from the two proposals described above, it can be concluded that both are good ideas for the leader. In fact, if the CEO had enough financial and technical resources to implement two parallel marketing paths at once, it could be of great benefit to the company. However, it is essential to take into account that the focus on mature patients may have already been spread in the company within the framework of basic marketing programs. For this reason, the CEO should concentrate on strategies for international clients in order not to create a conflict of programs. On the other hand, this approach ensures that the clinic has gained experience working with foreign patients, a recognizable brand and popularity, and more investments: all this will stimulate the development and expansion of the company.

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Potential Conflicts

It should be admitted that the development of two marketing proposals was carried out without looking at possible market policies of the company. In other words, the involvement of mature or international clients may conflict with advertising campaigns separately conducted in the organization. It is important to remember that the traditional advertising, implemented in most American medical organizations, already suggests a targeted approach to the consumer. This means that there is a division of information provided to the user based on their place of residence, age, income level, or most frequent requests. Most advertising banners, publications, and preferential systems already target mature people, so developing a separate area may seem inappropriate and even contrary to general policy.

Recommendations

Perhaps the most significant recommendation that would be relevant to the CEO would be to thoroughly and objectively assess the resources and risks available. It would be wrong to develop any direction relying only on intuitive knowledge about business. In other words, the manager should entrust the company’s expansion into the international market to a professional marketing department. On the other hand, it is difficult to say that this approach implies a full delegation of responsibilities. As an effective leader, the CEO must take an active part in their company’s organizational life and manage it: therefore, the decisions of the marketing department must be coordinated by the head.

References

Denning, A. (2019). 9 tips for designing a multi-language website. Weglot. Web.

Duffin, E. (2020). Resident population of the United States by sex and age as of July 1, 2019 (in millions). Statista. Web.

Duffin, E. (2020). Percentage distribution of population in the United States in 2016 and 2060, by race and Hispanic origin. Statista. Web.

6 easy strategies to attract more foreign visitors to your tourism business. (2018). BDC. Web.

Fell, D. (2002). Taking US health services overseas. Marketing Health Services, 22(2), 21-23.

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Kakulla, B.N. (2020). Older adults keep pace on tech usage. AARP. Web.

Kenton, W. (2020). Word-of-mouth marketing. Investopedia. Web.

Leonard, K. (2019). The advantages of advertising on the internet. Chron. Web.

Marceca, M. (2017). Migration and health from a public health perspective. In I. Muenstermann (Ed.), People’s movements in the 21st century-risks, challenges and benefits (pp. 103-127). InTechOpen.

Marketing strategies in healthcare tourism. (2018). Medical Tourism. Web.

Marsh, D. (2010). Marketing to the mature marketplace. Six pathways to success in challenging times. Marketing Health Services, 30(1), 12-17.

Radu, S. (2020). Countries with the most well-developed public health care systems. US News. Web.

Sweigard, J. (2020). Common age-related diseases and conditions. Very Well Health. Web.

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