When health care companies decide to advertise their products or services, they go through a process of deciding what method of marketing to use. There are several different methods of marketing that are used to reach potential consumers. A few of these methods are as follows: Email, Internet, Billboards, Flyers, mailings, needs surveys, and open forums for questions and answers. The one that I feel is the most effective method used within health care is marketing through question and answer panels. This method gives the consumers a chance to express any questions and concerns they may have about health care. It also gives the health care provider a chance to fully explain the services and products offered through their company. This method differs in a huge way from others because of the level of direct communication it provides. Although this method only accounts for about 5% of the monetary allotment by most companies, it is the most cost effective.
THE BENEFITS TO THE CONSUMER
The Consumer may have questions and concerns that they do not know how to express or to whom they need to express them to. When setting up a question and answer forum you have to make sure you find a location that is centrally located. This will increase the attendance potential for the event. Make sure you have several panel members who can effectively answer any possible questions that may arise. It might even be helpful to have a way for people to email questions in ahead of time so answers can be prepared beforehand. This way the panel members can have an idea of what topics to prepare for. You have to keep in mind that you must maintain complete confidentiality when communicating with consumers. The best way to do this is to allow attendees to fill out an index card with their questions and drop them in a box to be pulled and addressed once forum has begun. All persons asking questions will remain anonymous.
This method is a very effective way to market the company because it allows consumers to hear directly what products and services are being offered through this particular company. It also helps gain a level of trust through direct contact. When you are reading a written advertisement it is hard to gain personal trust. You have to earn trust from potential consumers in order to be successful. In today’s economy “word of mouth marketing is becoming more effective than ever.” (The Decline of Traditional Health Care Marketing; Daniel Fredricks; 2011)
SOCIAL NETWORKING AND HEALTH CARE
Social networking can be a very helpful tool for marketing in health care. In today’s technological world everything seems to be going computerized. Even though the internet only accounts for about 1% of marketing funds, there is a growing need for internet marketing. This means over the next few years we can expect an increase in the amount of funds spent on social networking as a marketing method. (Health Care Marketing Information: An Assessment of Past and Future Utilization Patterns; McSurely, Hugh B and Fullerton, Sam; 02/1996)
Even though there is no way that social media could replace the level of trust gained though face to face contact, it is still a very effective method of marketing. (Social media, health care, and social networking; Prasad, Bobby; 03/2013) Social media can be used to advertise new services being offered or even to advertise promotions for health care plans. You can also use social media to solicit sponsors for the company. Finding sponsors could possibly help offset the costs from marketing and other funds being distributed. Social networking could also be used as a communication bridge between health care clinics/ providers. This can be a way to share ideas and different methods that have worked and even those that did not work. If more health care companies worked together then there might be a larger scale of services offered to the public. Because this method proves to be just as effective,