“Primum Non-Nocere” in Hospital Marketing and challenges.
The quote derived from one of the writings by the Father of Modern Medicine, Hippocrates, says: “Declare the past, diagnose the present, foretell the future; practice these acts. As to diseases, make a habit of two things — to help, or at least to do no harm.”
And surprisingly, the word “Primum Non-Nocere” which means first do no harm, does not appear in the Hippocrates Oath
When setting up a whole new clinic or hospital or a pharmacy, or any healthcare-related service, when it comes to its branding and advertising, the right approach towards it becomes quite necessary, as the initiation requires a huge amount of cash flow and further a lot of resources are being involved in the new setup; any flaw in the marketing of the services may deteriorate its image in public.
Thus,to avoid any sort of mistake one must learn from the failures of others. As Mistakes or failures derived from other people’s experiences may help you effectively decrease the number of mistakes and failures you make without suffering the consequences.
There is a plethora of Misconducts that often hampers the consistency and growth of marketing the healthcare services, some of them are as follows:
#1. Baffling up Marketing with Advertising
Marketing is not advertising. Marketing is everything you perform to grow your services and shape the experience you create for patients. Shaping the experience, you create for people is a long way from advertising. On the other side, an advertising strategy is part of the clinic or hospital marketing plan which is aligned with your service’s objectives or your area of specialization. For the Healthcare sector, Marketing and Advertising might be a bit of a formidable task. Yet for the advancement of any healthcare service, Marketing can be done in the following ways:
1. Professional Referral Marketing,
2. Internet Marketing
4. Internal Marketing
5. External Marketing and
6. Public Relations.
#2 Haphazard Marketing
When any service is being marketed without a plan or any strategy then it has a higher chance of turning into a disaster than Healthcare Service Marketing itself with a proper, planned, and patient-centric approach in the marketing.
Further, any unplanned way of marketing can be a bit brutal for the organization in case budget, as trying out different tactics every time and that too without any professional help will surely lead to a disaster. The Professional way of Marketing will lead the campaign on a defined path by implementing proven Marketing Tactics and further executing the plans according to the outcome of the previous marketing campaigns, thus providing you with the highest ROI.
#3Over-Hyping Simple Things
Being a Medical Practitioner means being a Critical Thinker, which is great when it comes to practicing Medicine or supporting it, but when it comes to marketing their own practice, the medical practitioners tend to lag due to over-evaluation of the plan. Thus, you need to set a deadline to approve and execute the strategies for the success of any campaign. If you are unable to do so, then it is high time to hire a Professional for a smooth flow of the branding and marketing campaigns.
#4Managing the Opinions
When multiple people are working on one plan then differences in opinion is obvious. A Big organization is very likely to face a similar kind of problem.
And when such varied sets of opinions come together, there are high chances of having a dispute over running any campaign which might act as a roadblock to any campaign.
The solution for this is to include a key decision maker within the healthcare organization to design a roadmap for the marketing campaign according to the objective and budget allotment. The engagement of the Third Party will ensure unbiased Decision Making, which will ultimately result in better and timely execution of a plan.
#5 Handling Skeptical Patients with Untrained Staff
When a Healthcare Organization is approaching its patient via external marketing then the patients attracted from such campaigns tend to be more skeptical as compared to the referred patients. Such patients come to your organization or practice with different questions, mindsets, and concerns than the patients your staff is accustomed to.
To tackle such patients, a need for highly trained staff arises, who can help the organization to build a trustworthy atmosphere for the patient.
#6Limiting the Marketing Budget
Marketing in the initial phase may require a bit of capital investment. This puts a lot of healthcare organizations into a dilemma, whether they should spend a chunk of capital to just to market their services. But keep in mind that Marketing is not a cost center of the organization, rather it should be treated as a Revenue Stream.
Because as the marketing scales up within some time, the capital invested in the campaign will result in an increase in the number of patients. Thus, for hassle-free marketing and a high ROI, an organization must have a generous sum of capital invested in Branding part
#7Lack of Delegation
A big healthcare organization has countless number people organizing and managing their department. Trying to oversee each task by yourself will lead you nowhere. The same thing implies in the Marketing Department as well, when a plan needs to be implemented, then a delegation of work is the only proven way to make a strategy successful.
Calling up a staff meeting, making the members aware of the vision and mission of the organization, allowing each member to express their views, and further delegating tasks according to their capabilities and strength will not only help in a smooth flow of work but also trustworthiness amongst the staff towards the organization.
#8 Inconsistent Marketing
Conveying Healthcare services to your patients is the basic objective of the Marketing Plan. To make the message clear from your side you need to be consistent in case of making your presence visible to your target audience. Also, the patient will set his/her expectations according to the image presented to them by the advertising medium.
Any marketing campaign will take its own time to acquire targeted patients. So, the withdrawal of any campaign in between the process will only hamper your reach, thus giving adequate time to the strategy and analyzing the outcomes can help to amplify the results.
#9 Not keeping track of Patient Source
To know the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, you need to know the source of the patient, for that, you MUST convince and then train staff to track the actual source of every new patient, from the very first visit to the hospital.
Once you have patient data, you can easily go back and calculate approximate ROI by the implemented strategy.
#10 Hesitating in Hiring an Outsider
While working in a healthcare organization, it becomes quite challenging to hire any talent outside your own area of expertise.
The trouble is a lot of marketing people appear to be well qualified but very few are practically qualified for the job. Even VPs of Marketing often fail in their assessments of marketing talent.
Things one should keep in mind while hiring the new talent:
- A Healthcare Marketing Personnel should be hired who has experience in serving at least 100 healthcare clients
- A Marketing Strategist is a must to manage the marketing team and plan all the strategies according to the provided objective.
- A Healthcare administration student who wants to sharpen his/her knowledge while acquiring skills in the same field
Hiring Marketing Experts, as these professionals have a tendency of selling anything in the market, and they are highly result-oriented people.
#11. Doing all the tasks by yourself
Being a critical thinker and resisting doing every task in-house is difficult, but at some point, it becomes a necessity to hire a strategist to market your clinic or hospital.
As marketing is directly associated with YOUR image in the healthcare sector, so it becomes a priority to have a specialist who could reach the masses to bring up the marketing campaign to have an effective image of your service and image in the patient’s mind.
And of course, it is very hard to post an ad in a newspaper or magazine and get a lazy person off his chair and call you for a consultation. Only a marketing specialist can help you out with this. So don’t hassle yourself up with such things, let the experts take over.
#12 Doing Nothing
The business of healthcare is getting difficult every year, and competition has been increasing day by day between organizations and practices. Doing nothing is equivalent to denying a battle that is raging, and then choosing to stay unarmed.
When a medical practitioner does not have a marketing or branding plan then it becomes a competition between Lifesaving medical practice versus Marketing / Branding. As they will be in competition not against a fellow medical practitioner but a marketing expert who is capable enough to brand that doctor’s services.
Start where you are and do not overanalyze any plan or strategy. Hire a Professional to carry out the marketing plan according to the objectives without any biased opinions. Pump in a generous sum in branding, give it some time to reach the masses and you will receive a better ROI.
- To learn more about the outcome and get the best ROI for a Marketing Campaign one must undergo a Marketing Audit.
Your Marketing Audit must include the following things:
1.Proof-Based Marketing approach
Having your marketing system which includes
i. Proven Strategies
ii. Well-designed Marketing Plan
iii. Effective Implementation
iv. Means to Evaluate Results
All the components create a road map to marketing success for a healthcare organization.
2.Having a time-bound marketing plan
Any plan that is made without a particular date then it might become outdated if not executed regularly. You must make a routine analysis of the already implemented strategies and execute the upcoming strategies accordingly.
3.Setting Clear and Specific Goals Make sure that the objectives are upheld by some progress measurements and accompany a cutoff time. The association ought to know precisely what they are striving for. This will ensure the proper execution of your marketing plan
4.Optimal Budget Allotment
A newer health framework or practice will probably have to spend more capital on brand-centered endeavors – even up to 10 or 15 percent. Brand mindfulness can be hard to accomplish from the outset; have confidence, notwithstanding, that a committed marking effort executed right off the bat will receive remarkable benefits as your market position acquires strength and authority.
5.A Clear Brand Image
Competition in the medical services space is savage, with a developing accentuation on understanding fulfillment and wellbeing brands that sell straightforwardly to consumers as opposed to through suppliers. This development in care implies clinical marking needs to catch up, particularly in advanced commercial centers.
6.Well-tuned working in the Referral Program
When Internal, External and Professional Referral programs are working in a sync, then the Marketing Campaign seems to run in a smooth way and further gaining more audience to referral program.
7.Keep a count of ROI
Having a reliable tracking system will help the hospitals, Practices, and other healthcare organizations to identify the source of new patients and measure the ROI of the marketing strategy. Keeping the count will help to plan future branding strategies.