Marketing is a very diverse industry, meaning the proliferation of marketing sub-industries often eclipses several important sectors. Healthcare marketing is one such specialization that is only now becoming more familiar thanks to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. While selling healthcare is not dissimilar to other marketing fields, there are some unique aspects to its practice.
Healthcare Marketing in Hospitals
Hospitals are one of the most important aspects of healthcare marketing. While this type of marketing seems simple at first glance — market a hospital’s services — in practice, it is much more complicated.
Hospitals bring different medical communities together under one roof. From bariatric medicine to obstetrics, each department has its own culture, objectives and motivations, and it is the job of a healthcare marketer to present “a cohesive and coordinated plan that effectively reaches various audiences and serves or supports a range of service lines in a variety of service areas,” according to Healthcare Success, which goes on to say “The true scoreboard of success is to create a marketing plan that is carefully aligned with — and supporting of — your hospital’s business objectives.” So, an effective healthcare marketing campaign focuses on the bottom line: bringing patients to a particular hospital.
A Numbers Game
Healthcare Success sees effective healthcare marketing as evidence-based: “Doctors are trained in science, and they rely on evidence-based practices. Similarly, business-minded administrators, chief financial officers and managing executives will view a hospital marketing plan from the bottom-line up.” Outcome metrics, benchmarks and data sets are the tools of the trade, and many marketing programs are missing this mark. When choosing an online MBA program, healthcare marketing professionals should pay attention to a program’s offerings. Marketing healthcare is not the same as marketing automobiles.
Numbers to Pictures
While numbers are important to administrators and CFOs, healthcare marketing professionals must also take the pulse of contemporary patients. The internet provides many methods of research for people seeking healthcare, and they are more informed than ever before. As such, healthcare marketing must strike a balance between highly technical information and the experiences of healthcare consumers.
Chuck Malcomson is the founder of Screwpile Communications, an inbound marketing agency. In a HubSpot article highlighting examples of good healthcare marketing, Malcomson points to infographics as a relatively new-yet-effective healthcare marketing strategy: “They tend to resonate with audiences who may not be interested in sitting down to read a full blog post on an important topic. Plus, infographics are highly shareable across all social media channels, making them a great attention-grabber to attract new patients.” Simplifying complex information is key to bringing new patients to a hospital.
Complex information is an important characteristic of healthcare marketing, but one can argue that there is a more important aspect to the field: humanity. Healthcare marketing focuses on the human aspects of healthcare and thus may significantly differ from many other types of marketing. One strong example of a successful healthcare marketing campaign in this vein is Sharing Mayo Clinic, a blog highlighting the stories of various patients. By focusing on the experiences of real patients at the Mayo Clinic, healthcare marketers are showing potential customers that these organizations care more about people than numbers.
Walking the tightrope of information-based but patient-centered healthcare is a challenge unique to healthcare marketing. Not all online MBA programs are the same: some concentrate on marketing generally, while others specialize in particular fields. For those seeking a career (or seeking to further their careers) in healthcare marketing, there are online programs that offer this concentration.
Learn more about the UT Tyler online MBA with a Concentration in Marketing program.
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