Marketing is a strategic method used for selling goods or services to consumers. Healthcare marketing is the process of boosting and improving the community’s health through communication, delivery, development of health-related information or products, and intervention strategies.
The primary purpose of healthcare marketing is to create effective systems that boost a population’s health while integrating various aspects of public health, such as communication, marketing, health promotion, and research. Marketing in healthcare started in the 1970s and developed in the 1980s when marketing healthcare services increased to gain more patients and build trustworthy relationships in the healthcare sector. Marketing strategies that have proved to be the most efficient during a crisis maximize digital channels messaging apps, influencer marketing, websites, and increase internal marketing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined healthcare marketing strategies and reassessed effective marketing strategies critical in gaining potential clients for healthcare. Communication structures in the recent crisis are crucial in tailoring marketing frameworks; healthcare organizations have included COVID-19 information on their website to inform and educate the public on the virus. Online marketing of healthcare organizations has drastically changed due to the pandemic, as they continuously post COVID-19 information on the websites for the public to read (Vafainia, 2020). Organizations have several internal communication methods within a healthcare facility. The most effective communication strategy during the pandemic is the use of command centers in healthcare, considering that healthcare workers are rarely using computers during work hours.
In recent years, hospitals marketing has diversified following the need to expand and seek a wider range of consumers. For example, healthcare organizations formed nursing homes and independent physicians due to the demand for the services. Evolution of the healthcare sector has developed dynamic marketing strategies to educate the public on the importance of medical services as a preventative measure. The healthcare marketing landscape will change following the 2019 pandemic crisis by putting up exhaustive healthcare information on Google for easy access for individuals searching for the required information.
Exploitive types of tactics and ads on Google will boost the marketing landscape post COVID-19, updating Google information and content for patients and consumers to benefit from is a sure way for marketing (Konyalioğlu and Öznur, 2020). Use of education campaigns on social media and prohibiting unnecessary and false information on COVID-19, for example, ads encouraging the use of disinfecting wipes in place of hand sanitizers (Teemil, 2019). Communication of correct and useful information in healthcare organizations significantly boosts the long-term effects of trust with patients.
Healthcare organizations tackle long-term trust with patients using marketing strategies by ensuring updated and correct information about COVID-19 information on social media and websites and updates on the specific healthcare organizations such as the closure of other hospital locations. Transparency is critical in communicating what is going on and compelling messaging and videos from the management team to the healthcare employees.
The marketing strategies used during the COVID-19 crisis will be expected to continue as the new normal post-pandemic, allowing growth and boost of telemedicine, a digital healthcare service that diagnoses and treats patients virtually (Wiedner et al., 2020). Community to healthcare workers’ support is an effective strategy for boosting trust. For example, in Germany, the community showed health workers support by applauding frontline workers from their balconies’ comfort. Supporting banners were placed in front of hospitals, cooking for heroes in Berlin and Hamburg, and blood donation through the German Red Cross in Karlsruhe. Such action builds trusting relationships between healthcare and the community.
As the future remains unpredictable, information becomes easily accessible on the internet, conveying information on the website communicates transparency to the community instead of gaining access to other websites. Online presence management in the healthcare sector will impact future communication to the community, boosting employer brand perspective while monitoring online reviews. The immense effort and dedication achieved by healthcare will eventually positively impact its brand during the pandemic.
Marketers should start planning strategies such as highlighting the heroes during the pandemic, online reputation, and community management through online comments, questions, and online engagement (Krukowska-Miler, 2020). Online content engagement maximizes the content, for example, communication of symptoms on social media and websites of the healthcare organization, encouraging consumers to visit the hospitals for care. Social media engagement is unlikely to decrease after COVID-19 since this is a new habit in healthcare organizations.
Hirsch (2017) developed the healthcare marketing process model has distinct strategies that healthcare facilities should go through before they decide if they should adopt a new marketing structure. The research paper will focus on the eight marketing strategies with minimum attention on traditional marketing in the Hirschs (2017) healthcare marketing to boost consumer engagement in healthcare. Based on Hirsch (2017), the first step in marketing is branding, standing out from competitors in a memorable and unique proposition through the consumer perception. Traditional media marketing is an ancient marketing strategy with minimum conversions of healthcare consumers; the plans should be consistent with the desired outcome.
Relationship between Key Knowledge Contributions
Branding, online presence, referrals, traditional media, internal marketing, public relations, and employer marketing are the eight most essential tools that develop a diverse organization in healthcare marketing and boost new consumers’ presence in the healthcare facilities. Branding promotes healthcare’s physical presence in the population; it reflects and represents the organization (Balogun and Ogunnaike, 2017).
During this pandemic, online presence has played a significant role in building consumer groups and products for the market. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, online advertising, and website have built and engaged the community or target audience. The traditional media where using T.V., radios, mail, and print inserts online presence allows the healthcare team to interact and engage with instant communication. The constant engagement enhances the need for referral is based on the quality of services delivered and face to face experience of the patient. Internal marketing is achieved through patient experience, tracking system, testimonials and reviews, and also phone communication. Business to business marketing is done on the employer-to-employer level through the hospital to hospital.
Healthcare marketing is essential for providing open communication between patients and healthcare professionals to understand hospital settings’ various options. Open communication builds trust, confidence, and interest of the patients to explore healthcare options and for the hospital to build client connections and boost long-term patients’ relationships. This study examines the marketing strategies during a crisis, such as, pandemics, how the healthcare marketing landscape changes after its eventual emergence from the COVID-19 crisis, and building long-term trust with patients using marketing strategies. Significant changes in healthcare marketing are predicted after the crisis; billing methods in healthcare are likely to change in the future to incorporate new innovative ways to bill and pay for healthcare services.
Literature analysis: Research Methodology
- What are the most effective healthcare marketing strategies during a pandemic?
- How the healthcare marketing landscape evolves?
- How marketing strategies can build long-term trust with patients
Marketing has been widely affected by the pandemic causing a significant shift in consumer behavior and healthcare marketing response. The view and dynamics of marketing have changed due to the widespread lockdown in various countries; staying indoors has been the norm while leaving the house is a luxury. People are forced to adopt new perspectives and effective strategies of healthcare marketing.
Healthcare marketing strategies are influenced by the marketing mix, new opportunities, and managing marketing (Raji, 2019). External factors, which influence marketing strategies, include competitors, suppliers, employees, shareholders, media, and consumers. These factors contribute to the presumed effect of shifting marketing strategies and develop innovative ideologies to market healthcare (Shaughnessy, 2020). The COVID-19 pandemic moved the plan to accommodate broader technological opportunities for marketing innovation while still using the 7ps of marketing, namely, product, promotion, price, people, place, process, and physical evidence.
Data Collection and Analysis
This thesis will focus on a more in-depth informative insight into healthcare marketing during COVID-19 using qualitative and qualitative research. Qualitative research will focus on the non-numerical part of the study to provide in-depth information using opinions and concepts to find solutions and new theories. The researcher will achieve data collection in qualitative research by observing and surveying the healthcare facility and the community.
Quantitative analysis and data collection will incorporate data presented in statistical forms to analyze, understand, and predict future use patterns. In contrast, data collection focuses on using technology in the healthcare sector to collect and analyze it. The healthcare sector uses electronic medical records, especially during the pandemic, to track new and frequent patients (Oztekin, 2018). Electronic medical records are a robust system to track down healthcare strengths, weaknesses, and loopholes and identify measures to improve. Data will be analyzed using open, axial coding, cross-tabulation, and data analytics, and then presented using chart and bar graph. Quantitative and qualitative research methods will provide comprehensive research that examines and explains the theories in this research.
Participant Sampling and Selection
Sampling entails recruiting participants from a population of research interest to take part in the study. Sampling is the process of obtaining a representative taste from a group being studied. In this study, the research interest population includes healthcare workers, patients, and Germany’s community. Due to many healthcare facilities in Germany, this study will focus on at least two healthcare facilities in Germany. The researcher will aim to sample a representative number of participants to explore the formulated research aim and research questions. Purposive sampling is a non-probability sampling technique, will be used to recruit healthcare facilities into this study with the intentional selection of advanced technological electronic medical records in hospitals.
Additionally, stratified sampling will be used in the equal selection of healthcare workers, community, and patients to analyze healthcare marketing’s effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stratified sampling focuses on grouping a more extensive population into subgroups with similar characteristics. The sample selection is limited to healthcare organizations using advanced technological equipment to provide better care for the community during COVID-19 in Germany. Specific focus aims to obtain responses from the population, healthcare workers, and patients based on whether the hospital is acquiring new patients from a health professional view, the population view of healthcare organizations, and the patients’ view on the quality of services provided.
Critical Literature Review
Academic Paper 1
Rawwas, M.Y.A., Javed, B., Iyer, K.N.S. and Zhao, B. (2019), “Healthcare marketing: The synergistic and mediatory impact of positivity and negativity factors on channel members’ satisfaction,” International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 469-488.
Methods Of Data Collection And Analysis
A qualitative methodology was used to examine the reaction of marketing to healthcare professionals critically. This study used the survey as a data collection method to analyze professionals’ relationships with the management and later analyze using the LISREL statistical software package.
Significance Of Study And Its Findings
This study’s main factors are the relationship between quality of services and the synergistic impact of patient satisfaction. The positive effect of satisfaction in patients was triggered by the use of power sources and coercion of a mediator to increase consumer engagement. The main benefit of addressing healthcare marketing is to provide more accurate information in the healthcare field and make it faster and more convenient for hospital managers to acquire practical and efficient strategies to market and become competitive. It could also enable them to find avenues for seeking impactful marketing techniques from other sectors that are not significantly related to healthcare (Rawwas et al., 2019). Like any other industry, the hospital sector is expected to be a transparent industry for all consumers. The problem to be addressed in this research is significant because it brings out the marketing sector’s challenges that affect new consumers’ entry into the healthcare industry.
Gaps And Limitations
There are several gaps and limitations identified from the reviewed article; first, the methodological limitation was using a survey as the only data collection method for the study. The study only enables the researcher to examine the opinion and individual perspectives that participants have towards the topic under review. However, it is difficult to identify the common trends and statistics on the subject, thereby prompting quantitative research using a survey questionnaire. The use of quantitative analysis can aid in data triangulation and improve the validity of the collected data. Secondly, there is a gap in the study for surveying pharmaceutical professionals alone in healthcare marketing. This gap stresses the need to survey other healthcare parties in the analysis and findings of the study.
Academic Paper 2
Purcarea V. L. (2019). The impact of marketing strategies in healthcare systems. Journal of medicine and life, 12(2), 93–96.
Data Collection Methods
This study uses survey data collection study using an anonymous questionnaire distributed among healthcare professionals and consumers to analyze the significance of marketing in the healthcare sector. The developed questionnaires were distributed among 100 random respondents in the healthcare facility. The study aimed to focus on the dynamic aspect of healthcare marketing when there are demand and supply but limited resources and funds. The purpose of the survey questions is to assess the formulated research questions. Specific data collected from the interview questions entailed assessing healthcare workers’ views on marketing strategies’ impact. The questions also consider why marketing structures are essential in healthcare facilities. Besides, the questions intended to examine key marketing strategies that improve various aspects of healthcare services. The researcher of this study used the most appropriate data collection technique based on the research title.
Significance of The Study
The study explored the numerous elements of healthcare marketing in the evolving and unpredictable industry. The article highlighted marketing strategies such as increased awareness through social media and the internet, use of technology as a form of marketing, personalization of services, and quality and effective services. The impact of marketing strategies in healthcare systems affirmed that traditional marketing strategies are still beneficial. According to Purcarea (2019), “The application of marketing in the field of healthcare was imposed by the problems in the health of the society,” determining the marketing strategy that will be most effective.
Another key reason to pursue this study is to compare past literature and currently available information regarding this study and analyze essential information that would significantly contribute to this study. Healthcare marketing is a growing area of research that has potential benefits for community healthcare professionals and the health management team. It is essential to determine whether the current marketing strategies connected with COVID-19 are adequate or are just occurrences prompted by recent industry adjustments (Purcarea, 2019). These strategies would also help determine the most effective recommendations to encourage more hospitals to explore research in the industry.
Gaps and Limitations
The article can identify several methodological limitations from this study. One of the limitations of this study focuses on the qualitative research approach used to explore the research problem. The study only enables the researcher to examine the opinion and individual perspectives that participants have towards the topic under review. The use of quantitative data in this article would provide an in-depth understanding of the need for effective marketing strategies in healthcare facilities using electronic medical records or any other digital equipment used to collect consumer data and trends (Konyalioğlu and Öznur, 2020).
The cost and time spent to conduct this study is another limitation. The use of qualitative data meant that the researcher required more time to collect data from the interview sessions. Due to the limited time, there was no sufficient time to collect information from all the target population. Besides, the costs associated with organizing interview sessions also limited this study as the researcher had to work within a limited timeline to collect relevant information in this study. Also, the shared research data may not have reflected some of the participants’ honest opinions, especially when assessing the evolution of healthcare marketing strategies as hospital management may give limited insights on the issue to safeguard their marketing strategies. There is little data on the link between healthcare marketing and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marketing in healthcare organizations during COVID-19 in Germany is an area of study with no previous research articles. Since COVID-19 is still a new research area, this study will develop a broader perspective on Germany’s healthcare marketing during a crisis or a pandemic. This study will guide and provide factual information for other researchers to use. However, healthcare marketing is a broader topic than previous articles that boost the purpose of this study.
The most tentative dissertation research would be “Global evolution of healthcare marketing strategies during COVID-19” based on the above assessment. The dissertation would focus on the dynamic marketing strategies that have evolved over the past three years during the pandemic. Additionally, my dissertation background and history of study would be based on previous pandemics globally, such as the 1918 influenza pandemic, also known as the Spanish flu. Although there are limited research articles on healthcare marketing strategies during COVID-19, the thesis would form a concrete start for future research papers to rely on by formulating logical research questions and guide. The most probable research questions on global evolution of healthcare marketing strategies during COVID-19 would be:
- How has the use of technology in hospitals impacted healthcare marketing strategies?
- What are the effective healthcare marketing strategies that can be adopted globally?
- What strategies can be implemented in the communities to promote health?
Advanced technology in healthcare facilities will equip healthcare professionals with the most effective and quality patient care. Technology will transform healthcare marketing, creating an efficient way for the consumer to acquire information before being released to the public. Using a standardized network to directly link healthcare professionals to consumers and provide full control to both parties will improve quality and personalized care. The technological network will allow patients to access their comprehensive medical history and directly link to physicians without the need for appointments or physical attendance.
Effective healthcare marketing strategies adopted globally include social media platforms specifically designed to promote physical and mental health. These social media networks would allow the consumer to open an account, fill in their details and location, then diagnose patients based on the symptoms checked on the social media. The COVID-19 pandemic has educated and prepared the society on home-based care; social media platforms will then provide detailed information on home-based care and vitamins to purchase depending on the symptoms. The network will minimize the need to visit healthcare facilities; however, critical conditions and physical examinations will require hospital appointments.
Qualitative research will enable the researcher to collect essential insights from participants that cannot be ordered through quantitative studies. For instance, data collected from quantitative studies is limited to establishing trends on the topic under research but does not develop participant feelings and opinions about the subject. It is also challenging to use quantitative studies to understand participants’ lived experiences with the phenomenon under study.
Thus, qualitative research makes it possible to assess personal insights, experiences, and perceptions of investigated issues. Qualitative studies enable the researcher to seek additional clarification from the participants during interview sessions. Since the researcher is in contact with the participants, it becomes possible to reduce potential bias during data analysis. More clarifications can be sought from the participants when collecting data. However, the use of qualitative research has some shortcomings which need to be taken into consideration.
The collected data will be transcribed verbatim and analyzed to identify the main themes emerging from the study. The thematic analysis used in this study will be inductive, with a primary prerequisite for data analysis being that the collected information will reflect lived experiences shared by the interviewees. Quantitative data will be analyzed using the SPSS statistical software be develop solutions for research problems.
Balogun, B. and Ogunnaike, O. (2017) ‘Healthcare organizations in a global marketplace: a systematic review of the literature on healthcare marketing,’ Journal of Marketing Management and Consumer Behavior, 1(5). Web.
Hirsch, L. (2017). The 8 most important marketing strategies for a healthcare practice. Hirsch Healthcare Consulting. Web.
Konyalioğlu, F.İ., and Öznur, G.Ö.R. (2020). Consumers’ healthcare service marketing delivery channel preferences and distinctive factors. In IV. International applied social sciences congress (c-iasos) (p. 424).
Krukowska-Miler, A. (2020) ‘Marketing strategies in relation to employees of healthcare organizations, based on selected aspects’, Zeszyty Naukowe. Organizacja i Zarządzanie/Politechnika Śląska, (144), pp.315-326. Web.
Oztekin, A. (2018) ‘Creating a marketing strategy in the healthcare industry: a holistic data analytic approach,’ Annals of Operations Research, 270(1-2), pp.361-382. Web.
Purcarea V. L. (2019) ‘The impact of marketing strategies in healthcare systems,’ Journal of Medicine And Life, 12(2), pp. 93–96. Web.
Raji, S.J. (2019) ‘Introducing 5p’s methodology as healthcare marketing plan: using 5p’s healthcare marketing plan in diabetic foot care management’, Indian Journal of Public Health Research & Development, 10(6), pp.1235-1239. Web.
Rawwas, M.Y.A., Javed, B., Iyer, K.N.S. and Zhao, B. (2019) ‘Healthcare marketing: The synergistic and mediatory impact of positivity and negativity factors on channel members’ satisfaction,’ International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, 13(4), pp. 469-488. Web.
Shaughnessy, M. C. (2020). Critical evaluation of a regional healthcare marketing membership association and recommendations for programmatic transformation (Doctoral dissertation, Wilmington University (Delaware)).
Teemil, Z. (2019). An investigation of how healthcare organizations use Social Media as marketing tools in the UK-the case of private and social care Organizations. Web.
Vafainia, S., (2020)’ Marketing in the post-COVID-19 era: a guide for marketing managers’, Managing a Post-COVID-19 Era, p.31.
Wiedner R., Croft C., and McGivern G. (2020). Improvisation during a crisis: hidden innovation in healthcare systems. BMJ Leader. Web.