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The Challenge to Healthcare Marketing

By Lindsay Resnick. March 12, 2009

Political change, economic volatility and competitive rivalry will bring the
unexpected this year. Be prepared to aggressively track what's working (or
not) in terms of your business tactics and prepare to move quickly based on
emerging market indictors. Be agile.


It appears health reform is set to take off in 2009. The new administration
has made this their top domestic priority under a battle cry of "How can we
afford can we afford not to" With America's aging demographic,
soaring unemployment, expanding uninsured population, and unprecedented
levels of uncompensated care, there's broad agreement on the need for major
health system overhaul. Of course, the devil's in the details.

Recessionary conditions also mean that healthcare companies that are able to
demonstrate an ability to lower costs will continue to thrive. Leading this
watch-list are those promoting medical travel, chronic care management,
limited benefit individual medical plans, and retail medicine. Personal
healthcare budgeting is shifting along with the number and complexity of
delivery choices. There's a healthcare squeeze on consumers and it will only
get tighter.

Expect to see the Health 3.0 movement continue to advance through web-based
consumer connectivity, personalized health care delivered in clinically
relevant settings, and financing mechanisms structured around
consumer-centric business models. The new digital customer will be an
activated consumer with any time-any place-any device connectivity,
supported by "information everywhere" tools. They will have the confidence
and smarts to be empowered healthcare purchasers. Be proactive.


Making sure your business can turn it up in a downturn relies on a marketing
strategy built on data, dialogue and differentiation.

Customer segmentation allows companies to know your most profitable
customers. It enables smart marketers to define what messages and vehicles
are most effective in reaching your best prospects. Understanding
demographic, lifestyle and value-based attributes provides an important
competitive edge.

Search engines are defining brands, changing sales processes and influencing
just about everything in our lives. Newspapers, magazines, and traditional
television audiences are shrinking. They're being replaced by social
networks, wikis, blogging and online video content. It's a media insurgency,
and consumers have grabbed an important new role. They are now broadcasting
opinions, turning fads into trends, and getting information from customized
information outlets where monologues are turned into dialogues. Tomorrow's
marketers will quickly figure out how their efforts fit into the new media

Healthcare is a price-driven, fragmented marketplace where differentiation
is king. A sustainable growth strategy takes targeted outreach, value
positioning and tactical savvy. Figure out how to articulate your value
proposition in a way that separates your company from healthcare's "sea of
sameness." Then, select in-market tactics (direct response, new media
advertising, grassroots PR, etc.) that will be most effective for getting in
front of the right people at the right time. Start a relationship with your
prospects and build a customer base of brand loyalists. Be memorable.

Everyone agrees 2009 will be a tough year. Companies will be hard pressed to
balance budget pressures with customer acquisition and retention
expectations. Competitors will work hard to steal your customers. But, where
there are challenges there's opportunity. Keep a sharp eye on trends that
impact your business, and keep a closer eye on your customers. Keep products
and services relevant so they can withstand economic pressures. And, keep
your marketing data driven, differentiated and built around a relationship
with your customers. Of course, a little luck will go a long way! Be

Reader Comments (1)

Health Blog I wonder if our healthcare system will improve in a few years! I'm so worry about it.

June 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjusosandesu

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