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How healthcare marketing differs to other sectors

Published on Friday, 31st May 2019, contributed by Perfect Storm

When it comes to healthcare marketing, medical sales and marketing departments are way more restricted on what they can say and do in their advertising. Conforming to rules and regulations is the key to ethical healthcare marketing. 

Remember, this is an industry where product-focused marketing will not work. The focus needs to be on trying to get patients to speak to healthcare professionals about your product.

Let's dive into some of the key differences between healthcare marketing and other sectors.

Follow up all complaints within 24 hours.

All medical complaints need to go through a proper process and be handled as quickly as possible. The general process involves:

  1. Patient engagement - Patients/customers need to be able to easily get their complaints and queries to you.
  2. Technical investigation - A two part process which involves an investigation of health records as well as laboratory analysis.
  3. Corrective actions - Consider all feedback, respond to all queries and concerns and take the necessary action to fix any issues.
  4. Monthly reports - Reports, trend analysis and all other documentation needs to show that the issue was resolved.

Persuasive marketing techniques should be avoided.

In the healthcare sector, you simply cannot use persuasive marketing techniques. Although it is used frequently in other sectors, the medical industry is quite a sensitive one and requires a lot more forethought. You’ll need to carefully think about the different meanings people can take away from your ad imagery, copy etc. Most importantly, everything you say will need to be backed up with evidence as it is a matter of health and safety.

Conform to marketing and advertising guidelines.

In the past, medical organisations were of the belief that advertising within the sector makes the practice of medicine more commercial and damages the profession's integrity. However, as time goes by, more and more healthcare professionals are warming up to the idea. 

As mentioned earlier on, the most important thing is to be ethical and legal in your marketing. Some things to keep in mind are:

  • It is 100% ethical for physicians to market their practices as long as they consider all of the ways in which an audience would receive the advertising.
  • It needs to be clear that it is paid advertising and not part of the news.
  • Ensure the advertising conveys that success rates differ from patient to patient.
  • Avoid discrimatory language at all costs.
  • There needs to be careful consideration of vulnerable groups when developing your marketing strategy/plan.

Whilst there are many rules and regulations to follow in this sector, a good healthcare marketing agency will be able to guide you through the process and make sure that your marketing strategy is professional and ethical. If you're interested in learning more about the differences between healthcare marketing and other sectors, feel free to browse our latest blog post.