In today’s competitive environment,in order to retain and grow your business, it is extremely important to reach your customer. Every organization strives to remain visible and adopts innovative methodology to market itself. Even social and charitable organizations are not far behind to remain relevant. Even before an organization attempts to promote itself, it is vital to answer following:
- Who you are
- As an organization, it is important to define your strength, ultimate selling point (USP) and what your core objective is. Hospitals try to spread themselves in all specialties and wide area and fail to make a mark.
- Why you need to promote your hospital
- We all agree that marketing our hospital is now a necessity. Some simple reasons can be
- To be at the forefront of “Brand recoil” of our present and likely customers
- Grow and optimize our resources and improve profits
- What you want to advertise
- Be clear on the product or service you wish to focus-as
- Any specialty or super specialty
- Any specialist doctor or group of doctors
- Any superior technology such as top class PET scan / MRI etc
- Any service like 24 hour dialysis facility / round the clock trauma team etc.
- Content (message) and its present-ability issignificant.
This should be accomplished after detail discussion with all stakeholders like doctors, hospital managers, marketing team members and people who drive strategy.
- Where you want to promote;
The outcome of any marketing initiative majorly depends on its success in reaching the right audience and leaving a positive impact.
- Is our customer Urban or rural or mixed?
- Promotion of specialty in nearby areas where incidence is high makes business logic.
- Promoting care for joint in the gardens during early hours will attract the right audience.
A judicious research on who your right target customer and what is the best means in the most cost effective ways to reach him/ her is “Key” of good marketing strategy.
- When you should do marketing activity.
Timing is extremely important. Some examples are
- Radio marketing: Its penetration and impact is much better if promotion is during peak time (Morning 8 to 11 AM or Evening 5 to 7 PM) as people travel in their vehicle / public transport.
- Every hospital launches similar health checkup plan say on Heart day has very limited impact and entire effort may yield much better results if done when other hospitals are silent.
- Hospitals are not ready and they promote a program. This has a negative impact as you launch a campaign to promote an angiogram and your cardiologist is not available during the promotional period.
- For Whom;
We need to have clarity on who is our customer
- For Chronic disease like heart / diabetes, our target is the elderly population
- Cataract / prostate surgery again, it is elderly people
- Delivery promotion is for young population
- Premium product in the non affording audience may not give you desired result, e.g. promoting high cost cosmetic procedure in urban slums
- At times adult children decide; Say son/ daughter may decide for heart surgery for their patients.
- InWhich Way
We can promote hospital through an endless list of tools and mediums, as:
- Print / TV / Radio advertisement
- Fliers/ Paper insert
- Mass e mailers / SMS campaign
- Promotion through twitter / Facebook/ Web site promotion / Key word –search engine optimization /Search engine advertisement
- Health screening Camps: both at hospital and at community level.
- Forming support groups with community participation such as a cancer self help group and a group for parents of children suffering from Thalassemia.
- Weekly Doctor clinic in big Corporate offices / Industry etc.
- Ambulance service at key points on highway.
- Empanelling corporate companies either directly or through insurance companies.
- Making nearby population part of your outreach medical program with regular visit by doctors / giving special privileges.
- Promoting our doctors in “target audience’’. This could be people / Nearby IMAs and other medical forums.
We can promote our hospital in 100 more ways. However, each activity should be of quality, innovative, target to the right audience and must give good returns on investment either in the form of increase in volume or brand enhancement. It is equally important to study impact of each activity prior to implementation. The things which give results must be repeated and improved upon. Recurrent failure through particular activity should be discontinued or improvised.
Dr Vikram Singh Raghuvanshi isleading Hospital Planner. He has also worked in the area of Strategy&hospital operations for over 25 years. He has designed and managed some prestigious hospitals in India. He is also visiting faculty @ leading management Institutions.