As turbulent as our current economic outlook may be, one marketing trend can be identified as here to stay: consumers are increasingly educated, market-savvy, and sophisticated. Businesses must meet consumers on their terms and provide services and products by means that are increasingly dictated by the customer.
Hardly a trailblazing thought, except we can expect to see this sort of thinking applied more and more frequently to an enterprise that often considers itself outside of traditional marketing approaches: health care. With the proliferation and variety of health care plans, the increasing ability of consumers to choose how to spend their pre-tax health care dollars, and a continued escalation of health care options and information, the health care industry must find ways to deliver their products in a manner that is consumer-centric.
How might this differ from tradition? Consumers of health care want increased access to providers, outside of the traditional medical office, perhaps through telephonic consultations or internet access. They seek flexibility, responsiveness, and a respect for their own scheduling needs. Increased access to information and responsive communication are key issues as well.
Health care must constantly evolve as research and development deliver new gains to the science of medicine; so too must the business of health care remain ready to adapt new approaches to reaching consumers and retaining their patronage. Strategic marketing plays a vital role in reaching these goals, through identifying and capturing the needs of the marketplace to providing a road map for delivering services that are customer-driven and customer-focused.
So how can strategic marketing best be applied to the needs of health care? The discussion is open! Observations and opinions are solicited and welcome.