Marketing in a hospital trust
Crafting any hospital marketing plan is a hectic task that involves a lot of variables and factors to be coordinated (Bean et al., 21). The principal challenge is to satisfy the numerous and diverse internal demands, and to do so with the finite resources allocated for marketing in the hospital. Any marketing in a hospital trust must be cohesive and coordinated that will effectively reach the various audiences and serves the range of services in the hospital (Bean et al., 23). For effective marketing, no area in the hospital should be neglected. In other words, all areas and services should be a priority in the marketing plan of the hospital trust.
Objectives of the study
The objectives of the study are to:
- Show how hospitals should market its services to get trust from the people
- Show effective and cost friendly ways of marketing for hospitals
- Show the mediums that’s should be used for marketing
For a hospital trust marketing plan to be successful, there must be some elements that must be sued in strategic ways so that hospital can achieve its business goals and objectives. Some of the critical elements needed for a successful hospital marketing plan are target marketing, competition analysis, SWOT analysis, SMART goals, tactics, marketing budgets, and marketing system (Bean et al., 24). Marketing plan for a hospital trust is not an easy task, but a comprehensive plan provides the insight and the tools to anticipate, assess, prepare, build a road map to follow, construct necessary support systems, win consensus with the target market, and define the measure of the marketing success 9bean et al., 25). The elements will be discussed below.
For an effective marketing of the hospital trust, there should be a target market defined (Burton 375). This will help the organization to know the message that will be relayed to best please them. Since the target market for the hospital is the general public, then there must be segmentation of the market so as to be more effective in the marketing plan. The segmentation can be in terms of gender, age, geographical locality, and also the financial power of the people (Burton 375).
Target marketing and the market segmentation will help the hospital identify its potential clients and also people who are not fully convinced so that they can work on other means to convince them. In the current world, consumers are more market-savvy than ever before and dislike to be ‘lumped’ with others so this makes target marketing and market segmentation a crucial process for the marketing of the hospital trust (Burton 380).
A hospital should perform a competition analysis or commonly known as competitor analysis in its marketing strategy. This assessment will help the organization to know the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors in the field (Chapman et al., 44). Knowing the strengths and weaknesses will help the hospital to know the methods that it will use so as to get a competitive edge over the competitor. The hospital will have an offensive and defensive strategic context that will help it compete favorably among the rivals. Ignoring the rival powers and weaknesses can kick the hospital out of the market in a very short time (Chapman et al., 50). This is a very vital tool in the marketing of the hospital trust.
This is a structured planning method use to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the hospital trust (Drennan et al., 88).
- Strengths- in coming up with the marketing plan the hospital should come up with the areas that it is best in. For instance time keeping or even customer relations. The hospital should use this information to sow the customers how choosing the hospital is the best choice and they will be guaranteed prompt services and they will feel comfortable and appreciated in the organization. Focusing on the strengths in marketing will make the organization more appealing to the public.
- Weaknesses- these are the aspects of the organization that would detract it from the value it offers or even place the hospital trust at a competitive disadvantage. The hospital must enhance these areas during marketing to maintain the competitive advantage. The weaknesses can be in form of limited resources, poor location of the hospital to the public, and lack of certain machinery. The hospital should use this as a marketing strategy to convince the customers that despite all this, they can be assured of high quality services.
- Opportunities-These are the external attractive factors that represent reasons that the hospital trust will be a success. These are things like positive perception of the organization on the people and increase in population. While marketing, the organization should o consideration put such matters into consideration to increase the efficiency of the organization.
- Threats- these are external factors that the hospital trust have no control over. This include growth of a rival hospital, arrival of new machinery in another hospital. The hospital trust should have a contingency plan to deal with such matters in order to remain active in competition.
Just like the other elements discussed, marketing budgets is a very important marketing element that should be checked at all times (Hair et al., 88). The hospital trust should ensure that the marketing costs are limited to the available money set aside for marketing. Going overboard with the budget will have a great bearing into the operations of the organization. Some departments in the hospital will be seriously strained and this will cause stagnation in the growth and success of the hospital. Hospitals that stick to the market budget set aside enjoy greater benefits and they rarely borrow to finance other activities in the hospital due to lack of funds (Hair et al., 89). This is due to the discipline in sticking to the budget.
This is the network of buyers, sellers and other factors that come together to trade in the given service or product being offered (Kraus et al., 23). The hospital should take time to learn the market system before deciding on the channels of marketing its services and products. The hospital is a direct player in the market and any move will affect the whole market either positively or negatively. The organization should ensure that all its activity marketing for its products and services do not offend any player in the market.
Any slight offence can lead to a very big number of people opting out of using the services and products provided in the hospital. The hospital should adjust well in the market system to reap the maximum benefits from its marketing practices.
This a best practice framework for setting goals by the hospital trust. A smart goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bond (Lee et al., 104). If a hospital sticks to the listed elements in its marketing strategy, then it is bound to be successful. The goals of marketing should be specific so that the hospital trust can maximize on the one thingit wants to achieve. When the goals is not specific then there will be cases of underutilization and this will not make the marketing most effective. Specific marketing goals make the hospital target the neediest issue first. It helps the hospital to set priorities well.
The goal of the marketing strategy placed by the hospital trust should be measurable. Measurable goal is one whose benefits and costs can be quantified and give a clear picture of the cost benefit ratio of the marketing plan used. This will assist the organization to be aware if the marketing plan is beneficial or financially harmful to the organization.
An achievable goal is one that is feasible by the hospital trust with its current status (Lee et al., 110). A good marketing plan’s goal should be easily achievable by the origination without any difficulties. The targets set should be within the boundaries to avoid waste of resources. A good marketing plan’s goals should also be result-focused. The essence of the marketing is to draw people into the services and products of the organization. A good marketing plan should be effective in performing this duty.
When deciding which marketing plan to be used by a hospital bound, the planners usually use the one that will bear fruits in the shortest time possible. This is to minimize the cost used in the marketing process and also to allow the hospital trust to start to reap the benefits early enough. A plan that bears fruit in the shortest time possible is the best plan to use in achieving the goals of the organization.
Hiring qualified people in marketing
For a successful marketing of the hospital trust, the hospital should hire people who are trained and are experienced in marketing (Vargo et al., 10). This will help in the success of drawing people to the organization. This is because they know the avenues and methods that should be used for each segment to get their attention and interest. The medical doctors are trained in medical science, and they rely on evidence-based practices (Vargo et al., 13). They will be very poor when it comes to market because marketing is not a science-based practice that is evidence-based. Having that distinction from the medical area of the organization and the business area of the organization will lead to great success and drawing many people to the business.
The content of the marketing message is also important like the elements marketing plan. The content is what the message being relayed will contain and what will attract the interest of the customers. The contents includes brand, product/service being offered in the hospital, and customer being targeted.
Brand image is essential in the marketing of the hospital trust. The brand will tell a story about the hospital and its reputation in the field of medicine (Hair et al., 122). This will influence the decision of the customers to go to the facility and use the services and products that are being marketed. A good brand communicates with the subconscious and it remains in the memories of the customers through generations if it is well communicated.
A strong rand will in the long-run turn into a normalcy for the customers (Hair et al., 123). They will get attached to the organization and this will make the hospital save a lot of cash in future that would have been used in marketing. A strong brand sells itself without any hectic marketing and raising awareness to the customers. If the brand communicated earlier in the hospital marketing is a strong one and not deceiving to the customers then it will cause a great amount of success to the organization.
The product of the hospital is the service being offered in the organization (Burton 382). The services in the medical field are wide and varied and each service appeals differently to different market segments. The services offered should be clearly articulated in the marketing plan so that the customers get the full knowledge and clear picture of the hospital even before going to the hospital. Customers usually dislike going to new places without any prior information about the place. Clearly articulating the services solves this problem and this attracts the customers to the organization.
While listing the services being offered, the hospital should maintain a high level of integrity. It should not list any service that it is not currently providing. This will be misleading the customers. The medical field is a very delicate area in that the customers gained through marketing can all be lost in a very short period of time if they sense any malice from the hospital. Listing services that the hospital anticipates to provide can also lead to the closure of theorganization in counts of misleading information to the public and this will have a great impact on the operations of the organization.
The customer and staff
The hospital should clearly indicate the number of staff that it has in the marketing message relayed (Drennan et al., 119). They should be categorized according to their departments. The customers will be able to know if the hospital will be of any use to them by knowing the specialists employed by the hospital and in what field. The hospital should also educate the customers on reasons why they really need the services provided by the hospital. This will help in attracting more customers to the organization.
Channels used for marketing
There are so many mediums that the hospital can use in advertising its services and products. There is no perfect medium but as a hospital, the medium used should be cost effective and efficient in getting the message out to the public. The channels used for advertising of the hospital trust are broadcast, print, digital, and social media.
Television is the best form of broadcast medium that the hospital can use. They will take a shoot showing all the services that are offered in the hospital and then go book air in the television stations so that they can be aired (Lee et al., 130). This will make the hospital reach a very big number of people and it will translate to greater success of the organization. Television is the best media of broadcast to use because there are a lot of people who watch television and actually it is easier to convince the masses through the television because thy will be seeing what is being talked about unlike using radio.
The hospital should make magazines that contain all the information about the hospital and distribute them free of charge to the people. The magazines should have niche topics that will attract the interest of the people. This will give the people an insight on the operations of the hospital and also introduce them to the staff that will be of service to them. This medium is a very efficient one because it will lead to community marketing whereby the people will market the hospital to their relatives and friends and this will grow the number of customers to the hospital (Chapman et al., 87).
Organizations that produce magazines showing its vision, mission, and also drive tend to be more successful in its operations and also attract large number of customers.
The hospital should also have a website that will act as a marketing tool for the services provided by the hospital to the people. The use of website is the perfect digital media that the hospital can employ. Even though it is a bit costly to maintain a website but it really captures a very large population. This is because in the 21st century many people are stuck to computers and laptops and the smart phones. The hospital should also evolve with the marketing channels and embrace the constant change the world undergoes. People will want to be associated with the hospital because it is up to date with the marketing and communication techniques to the people.
The website will contain all the services and also the educational background of the specialists so that the customers can observe and study the critically. This transparency is vital because in the medical field, customers prefer the most transparent hospitals in its operations.
Social media has evolved o much in the 21st century, offering a relative low-cost way for organizations to get more engagements with customers. The hospital can have atwitter handle and Facebook page and respond directly to the customers who might want to know a certain information about the hospital. This will help the organization in getting closer with is customers and create loyalty from them. Customers usually want to be associated with organizations that appreciate them and their concerns. The type of engagement provided by the social media is vital in the current fast-paced, technology-driven marketplace.
In as much as the marketing plan convinces many customers, there are those who are difficult to please. This can lead to scuffle and mistrust between the managers and the marketers (Kraus et al., 32). The marketers shall be seen as dishonest and unreliable by the mangers if the results of the marketing plan are not immediately felt. Some measures can be taken in order to avoid such scenarios because for any organization to thrive and attain its goals, then there must be trust and good coordination between all the departments in the organization. Such measures are transparency, accountability, realistic expectations, flexible strategies, and enthusiasm
The marketers in the hospital should be very transparent with the costs that are incurred in the marketing process of the hospital. Transparency will help save some cash for the organization which shall be used in other departments that will help in the success of the organization (Vargo et al., 7). If the hospital spends large amounts of money just for marketing, then it can lead to closure of the organization due to the losses incurred.
The management should set realistic expectations rom the marketers. The expectations set should be quantifiable that will allow the marketers to work without any pressure that can compromise the work (Bean et al., 101). The marketing process should be a gradual thing with growing expectations as the organization grows. Placing considerably high expectations can be harmful to the marketing plan for the hospital. Setting realistic expectations motivates the marketers more in their work.
Marketers should be quick to change to another marketing medium or process if the current one is not bringing results (Bean et al., 102). Being too rigid in the marketing process can lead to the business running into losses due to the spending with no returns scenario. Marketers should be able to change quickly into another strategy that brings results in a short period of time and is consistent. The hospital will grow tremendously when the marketing strategy used to sell it to the people is up to date with the current times.
Marketers should have enthusiasm in their work of marketing the hospital. With enthusiasm, comes natural flow of good results (Bean et al., 105). Enthusiastic marketers tend to enjoy their work. Good flow of results means many people streaming in into the hospital for the services that are offered. This will lead to the massive success and growth of the organization. As we all know, the success of an organization majorly depends on the marketing techniques of the organization. It is marketing that makes the public aware of the existence of the organization and the services and products that it offers.
Just like other organizations, the hospital needs a clear and distinct marketing plan to assist it in achieving its goals. The above elements of marketing, mediums of marketing, and the content of the marketing message are the principal components that collectively comprise the marketing plan. Even though the hospital deals in a medical field, it is the business field that makes its operations a success. The marketing of its services is the major business area that the hospital must adhere to. Therefore, qualified personnel in the marketing field must be hired to take charge of this area.
Hospitals that tend to hire doctors in the marketing department run through operation difficulties due to poor decision-making. Doctors are science-oriented and actually are drawn to conclusions by scientific evidence. When it comes to marketing, this I not the case because this is a social phenomenon and actually it takes someone who understands the field very well and knows how to convince customers to the business and how to react to all situations during the period of marketing. As seen in the study above, there must be patience and faith in the marketing process. These two traits are very important due to the uncertainty of the current market trends and consumer behaviors. The success of the hospital goes hand in hand with the marketing plan used in the organization. When the marketing plan is top notch, then the business will be very successful due to the large number of customers that will be drawn to the organization.
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