In modern-day, the average human is perhaps more concerned about his or her health than ever before. Equipped with technology, they are more informed and can attain a wealth of knowledge about healthcare providers before selecting one. The healthcare industry is trying to adapt to the changing customer mindset. What used to be a volume-based industry centered on the physician has turned into a high-quality industry centered on the patient. Healthcare marketing aims to build lasting relationships with existing patients, attract new patients and outperform competitors. Firms have to formulate appropriate strategies and communicate with customers effectively if they want to remain in the market.
Creating The Groundwork
When it comes to healthcare, patients expect great service from the company. They want a good experience at a reasonable price. To satisfy the needs of the patients, the companies first have to determine their goals and formulate a strategy based on those goals. An audit will determine the available resources. The resources will dictate the type and level of service that can be provided to the patients. Being aware of the capabilities and level of service offered, the company can accurately figure out the customer segments it should cater to and develop a patient persona. Catering to specific segments of the population means that services can be offered more satisfactorily and efficiently. This, in turn, helps to retain existing customers and attract new ones.
Communication and Relationship Building
For an organization of any sort, reaching out to the customer is crucial. The communication between firms and the patients should be clear and be understood by the patients. Healthcare terminology might be interpreted as jargon and the communicative messages can be rigid and unappealing. Healthcare marketers have to think out of the box to counter this problem. Guidelines and information can be delivered to patients at various stages throughout the healthcare process. By being creative in shaping the patient journey, healthcare literacy of patients can be improved and this can result in increased trust and formation of a strong physician-patient relationship. The process of communication between the firms and patients has changed drastically due to the use of social media. Direct interaction can be made with patients which is humorous and interesting. Relevant information can also be shared through online platforms. The healthcare brands can use these online platforms to present themselves in a more approachable way and create a unique experience for their customers.
Medical issues are sensitive and worrying. Patients suffering through a condition want to be heard, acknowledged and understood. Healthcare providers have to empathize with what the patient is going through. They have to imagine themselves in the shoes of the patients and try to feel what they are going through. Identifying patients’ problems help cater to their needs better and make the experience as smooth as possible for the patient. Brands have an important role in illuminating that which is core to a product or service. People want healthcare services to be understandable and initiative. The marketers should focus on making their marketing tagline that is clear and understandable and enables customers to connect and empower patients.
As businesses are going online, healthcare firms are now carrying out more of their marketing through online platforms. This is advantageous for customers because they can make informed decisions. However, how much information reaches customers and how it helps them to make informed decisions solely depends on the content provided by the firms on their website and other web platforms.
Customers often visit online platforms of various organizations to learn more about the firm and its offerings. If they are satisfied, they might decide to purchase the offering from that particular firm. Therefore, the website or online platform is often the first medium of interaction between a potential prospect and the firm. Therefore, it is important to ensure the prospect is satisfied and converted into a customer. One way of doing it is to make the website more interactive. Many healthcare organizations offer pop up quizzes on their web platforms that encourage customers to lead healthier lives. Going online also has the advantage of being convenient for customers. Smartphone applications designed by various healthcare organizations helps them to keep in touch with their customers and monitor their health. The use of smartphone applications has to be taken seriously because many users prefer to use the internet through their smartphones and on the go. If there are glitches or drawbacks in the applications, customers will doubt the ability of the firm and this will adversely affect the potential customer base.
Online marketing may be considered as an effective tool to communicate with customers and reach out to them, there are certain drawbacks that the firms need to consider. To begin with, it is difficult to converge traditional marketing with digital marketing tools. Data security is also a matter of concern. As digital systems are susceptible to cyber-attacks, many people might not want to share their information with the firm. Privacy issues have to be handled with privacy policies. The firm also has to centralize the data for analysis. Integrate it and utilize it efficiently and ensure the correct customer is getting the correct information. Before allocating the marketing budget, trials should be conducted and the response should be monitored, only then the number of financial resources be allocated has to be determined.
The Bangladesh Context
The healthcare industry in Bangladesh is growing very rapidly. Investments are rapidly flowing in and the industry is also enjoying support from the government. As mentioned earlier, healthcare marketing promotes building relationships with customers. An important function for the firms in Bangladesh would be to provide authentic and useful information to the common people. As the advancement of technology in Bangladesh continues and more people are connecting to the internet. Unfortunately, many of the people in the rural areas, people are not properly educated about healthcare. If the firms use appropriate strategies to provide relevant information to the masses, people would become more aware of their health and they would seek healthcare advice more often. This would be beneficial for both the firm and the patients.
Raiyan Mehdin Hassan