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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Health service marketing was first introduced in the 1970s. The marketing field changed drastically, it grew, it fell, and grew again. Although marketing in the health system was introduced in the 1970s, it was not until the 1980s when it really took off. In the beginning, marketing strategies include television commercials as well as ads on the local radio stations and billboards around town. It was not until almost forty years later that they changed their strategies to become more efficient. The most important requirement for marketing consists of knowing what the potential consumers wants and needs are. This is an essential part to building a brand. Marketing has become an essential part of healthcare services. In order to attract patients, marketing is required and without marketing the financial constraints of physicians and healthcare organizations are huge.

The idea of marketing was first introduced into Healthcare during the 1970s. The marketing field in health care fluctuated frequently. It showed growth, decline, retrenchment, and renewed growth. The urgency of marketing was not driven at the corporate level; they did not fully understand the concept. It was actually brought out by a few creative individuals who went ahead and took the initiative to start marketing programs. During the 1970s, knowing that hospitals were eventually going to have to be able to attract patients to stay open, the legal restrictions on marketing were loosened. In the beginning, interest in health care marketing was brought in from the outside industry. This was brought about mainly by academic marketers who saw a huge opportunity. Because of the cost reimbursement due to Medicare, the competition between hospitals became serious. Organizations had realized that the people chose who they wanted to treat them as well as where they were treated. This was in fact the beginning of mass advertising strategies. Although it was introduced in the 1970s, it did not show any significance until the 1980s. The industry evolved from a seller's market to a buyer's market. This had a significant effect on the marketing of health organizations. Even though marketing was started to be accepted, healthcare suffered from a lack of professional personnel who were specialized in marketing. Many people who were specialized in marketing were not familiar with health care organizations and had a hard time combining their marketing expertise with the health system (Thomas, R, 2005).

Consumer behavior refers to the patterns of consumptions of goods or services. “Because marketing is driven by consumer needs, an appreciation of the behavioral dimension of any target population is essential” (Thomas, R., 2005, p. 188).

Health strategies cannot be reached without a knowledge of consumer behavior health services and factors that influence them. Some of those factors that influence consumer behavior include cultural factors, social, personal and psychological factors (Badulescu, V., Cetina, J., &  Orzan, G., 2012). In theory, the number of health service consumers is not limited unlike that of other fields. Anybody can become a consumer at any moment, the potential market for health services is huge. Another factor that influences consumer behavior is the law. The health sector is one of the most dynamic sectors of the economy and even of society. Changing in response to a whole category of power include patient expectations, changing social patters, and public policies. The idea that individuals are not really healthcare consumers until they are really sick is a barrier to the development of marketing in healthcare. Healthcare consumers are different from other field consumers be many ways, one of those ways being that the purchases are nondiscretionary. This means that everything is typically ordered by a healthcare professional for the well-being of a patient. (Thomas, R, 2005)

Techniques and strategies are the most crucial part of marketing, this is how organizations grab the attention of potential clients, or in this case patients. The marketing strategies in the 1970s included those such as television, radio commercials and billboards. Those are much different strategies than are used in today's day and age (Thomas, R, 2005). There are several marketing techniques and strategies that are currently used by health organizations. Some of those techniques include first building a brand. This involves creating an identity for the organization that can set one apart from others. This helps hospitals grow their patients and also encourage patients to seek treatment within the same organization. People appreciate getting everything they need from one organization rather than making multiple stops.

Another technique could be to create a real and official website. Many people now days go to the internet to search symptoms that they are current experiencing. It is a necessity for health care organizations to have a respectful website and to keep it well maintained. Having a website design that is specific to the organizations brand offers a higher return investment especially when it is combined with search engine marketing which is the next strategy. Search engine optimization means that when a potential patient searches anything related to the organization location or specialty then that medical practice will come up in the top five results. The simplest technique of all would be to participate in conferences. This means participating in national and even regional conferences just to get the name and website out in the world. Word by mouth marketing strategies is the simplest way to get an organizations name out there. Building relationships with people at conferences keeps the name of the brand out in the open for a while (Westerhof, M, 2017).

One of the most important requirements for having successful marketing strategies would be to ask the patients how they can be better served. Knowing exactly what the patients are looking for allows a better understanding of who their marketing ads are reaching. With that being said, the involvement of consumers in determining strategy is important to the process of coming up with marketing plans. An organization cannot put a marketing ad out into the world without a specific viewer group (Hillestad, S., Berkowitz, E, 1991). Another requirement for successful marketing is to make sure at least one person is fully committed to the work. Good leadership calls for great results. If a good, efficient leader is not found then the health care center should postpone the campaign. If it is launched without a leader then the work the medical center did would be a waste. Also, comparative analysis of surrounding hospitals is another requirement for marketing success. The failure of other medical centers could be beneficial to another center. Look at their old advertisements and what happened once those were released. See what worked for the surround hospitals and then adjust your strategy and put a unique spin on it to fit the brand the organization is going for. Refining and defining the vision the organization is going for is a huge requirement in order to be successful. Figure out where the company needs to be in five years and go from there. The vision needs to be clear and concise, make a website that will help attract patients but also fits the image the company is going for. (Stensburg, K, 2013).

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