Healthcare marketing refers to the creation, communication, and delivery of health-related information and interventions through the use of science-based and customer-centered strategies with the intention of protecting and promoting the health of various populations (Fortenberry & Fortenberry, 2010). It is a practice that seeks to promote the use of marketing research to inform, motivate, and educate the general public about health messages. Various healthcare systems leverage on healthcare marketing to inform, educate, and make the public aware of their healthcare services and products. In this case, the focus is on home healthcare, which entails the provision of skilled nursing, occupational therapy, aide services, physical therapy, medical social work, and speech therapy to beneficiaries in home settings.How home healthcare systems legally market their services and products
Before marketing home healthcare system services and products, it is imperative to abide by federal requirement and state mandates (Shalowitz et al, 2013). As such, home health care systems must be licensed by either the state or feral government to be operational and legally market their services and products. Besides, such systems have to abide by anti-kickback, physician self-referral, and patient inducement federal and state laws. After abiding by the existing federal requirements and state mandates, home healthcare systems can leverage on various strategies to legally market their services and products. First, home health care systems can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to market their service and products to patients. With this strategy, owners of home health care settings have the option of marketing their services and products to friends on social media pages or encouraging their followers to refer anyone who is need of home health care services and products to their settings. It is imperative for social media marketers of home health care to provide detailed information about their settings as well as the services and products offered. Some of the important information that should be availed on the platforms includes professional specialties and years of experience in healthcare.
Second, home health care systems can leverage on writing informative articles as a way of legally marketing their products and services to potential customers. For instance, if the home health care system provides home care for elderly patients, information on the prevention and management of conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis, which affects elderly patients, must be posted on articles. It is also important to post the articles on other health care websites that are frequently visited, and through this, successful marketing will have been achieved. Third, home health care systems can legally market their products and services through establishing professional relationships with doctors and other health care professionals who operate in hospitals. To establish these relationships, people or owners of home health care settings should attend health care-related networking events. Besides, they can frequently visit doctors in hospital settings and have brief conversations while exchanging contacts or business cards. With such relationships, home health care facilities can benefit by receiving information about patients who are in need of in-home services. The other way of marketing home health care products and services is asking for referrals, which involves having clients referring particular home health care service providers to their family members and friends. With this strategy, it is important to offer training for home health care staff on how to ask for referrals from customers (Harris, 2015).
Three marketing principles which are most promising for home health care system
In marketing, the way customers are persuaded or convinced will lead to them purchasing the marketed products or services. As such, home health care marketing should leverage on various marketing principles to ensure that potential customers are persuaded or convinced about the effectiveness of specific home health care services or products. One of the most promising marketing principles for home health care systems is reciprocity (Berkowitz, 2011). This principle implies that people, in this case, patients, are likely to return a favor or repay in kind once they are offered a healthcare service or product. As such, to market their services and products, home health care systems should come up with programs where free services or products are offered to patients in need of home health care. Some of the home health care services that providers can offer for free to patients include dental cleaning and physical therapy, as well as offering unexpected gifts to customers. In the long run, this will influence more patients to come back for home health care services and products as well as refer their friends and family members. Another marketing principle that is most promising for home health care systems and providers is commitment and consistency. When home health care setting are committed and provide services and products to patients consistently, the patients will want to stick with the services or products provided, or they will find it better to refer their family members and friends to the same services or products. In essence, home health care systems should make public commitments regarding the services or products they will offer to patients, and it is only through this that the loyalty of patients can be attracted. With this principle, the profitability of home health care systems cannot be doubted as patients will visit frequently.
The third most promising marketing principle for home health care systems is the provision of social proof to potential customers or clients (Berkowitz, 2011). Social proof as a marketing principle implies that people will learn from others about the services or products provided by a particular home health care system. In most cases, patients who are not aware of the services or products offered by a given home health care setting will prefer to get information regarding the same from friends or family members who have benefited from the same in the past. As such, it is important for home health care settings to capture a significant number of patients during startup, as this will act as social proof to future or potential customers. Arguably, patients are more easily convinced or persuaded by requests of people they know or are related to, and this is an avenue on which home health care systems ought to capitalize.
Real-life health care system that matches home health care system and synthesis of its marketing efforts
Home health care systems are common in the US, and a renowned real-life home health care system in the country is the Boston Dispensary, which was established in the 1790s, being the first home health care system in the country. The success of the Boston Dispensary is attributed to its marketing strategies, which have given it a competitive advantage over competitors in home health care service and product delivery. The stakeholders of the Boston Dispensary leverage on social media marketing to attract customers and make them aware of the organization’s services and products. It has created pages on social media platforms such Facebook, Twitter, and Linked, through which followers learn of the organization’s services and products. Besides, information about the organization’s services and products are available on articles, which are distributed to patients, and through this, they are made aware of the organization’s home health care products and services. Moreover, most of the administrators of the organization have worked in public and private hospitals, and thus, have established healthy relationships and connections with doctors who inform them of customers or patients in need of home health care services and products. These strategies highlight how committed the organization is to market its services and products top patients, making it one of the most successful home health care systems in the US.
- Berkowitz, E. N. (2011). Essentials of health care marketing. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
- Fortenberry, J. L., & Fortenberry, J. L. (2010). Health care marketing: Tools and techniques. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
- Harris, M. D. (2015). Handbook of home health care administration. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
- Shalowitz, J., Stevens, R. J., & Kotler, P. (2013). Strategic marketing for health care organizations: Building a customer-driven health system. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.