HOSPITAL TARGET MARKETING 4
Thecomplex patient composition causes the first challenge to identifyinga target market for Health service organizations. The United Stateshealth industry is composed of a minority, 1%, of heavy spenders inthe health care. This category is mostly comprised of the elderlyand patients diagnosed with chronic diseases. Such a compositionmakes it hard to identify a suitable market due to the small size.Besides, there is a high competition by healthcare organizations toattract the top health spenders through subsidized health care costs.Consequently, the old and chronically ill patients are the mostvaluable customers, but they are also linked to the likelihood ofproviding meager revenue to the health institutions (Coughlin et al.,2015).
Thesecond challenge healthcare organizations face is how to tailor theircommunication messages to target specific customers. The choice totarget a given segment relies on several factors such as theavailable resources and the size of the intended audience. Besides, atailored message has to consider the nature of behaviors of thepotential customers. It is imperative to evaluate whether thepatients assume a simple character such as that of one-time purchaseor a complexbehavior prompted by behavioral change. Subsequently, tailoring themessage to various customers increases the cost of marketing, and thehealth communicators are unable to find a balance between thespecifications of the message and the proportion of the targetaudience. Besides, communicators find it difficult to createtargeting messages that take into account the attitudes, lifestyles,and values of a viable community (Nam, 2015).
Thethird challenge is data collection and privacy. Customer targetingrequires client-driven information obtained from data of thepatients. Hospitals can use information available from insuranceclaims or clinical data regarding hospital services, blood tests orthe treatments given to patients. Just as other industries identifythe shopping history of their customers, hospitals can use non-healthdata to determine the health history of the patients. However, datamining processes by the hospitals are prone to conflicts withpatients’ privacy concerns. Moreover, efforts to avoid such crisesare subject to uncertainty. By retrieving anonymous patientinformation and clustering their patients into subgroups, hospitalscannot tailor their services to particular individuals (Onchard,n.d).
Thefourth challenge is fragmented information since patients’ data isstored in various sources. Many institutions store the informationin different computers, paper files, hospitals as well as insurancecompanies. As a result, the development of necessary information thatwould lead to the identification of a goal market requires heal carefacilities to undertake a laborious process of data collection. Thelack of user-friendly records serves as a challenge to obtaininformation about a potential patient segment.
Fifth,health care management finds the difficulty of convincing thecustomers about various health choices. In other industries,customers have a tendency to understand their options, but sometimesthey have a preference for given products. Although there arepatients with multiple health options, some are either nervous orconfused when it comes to treatment choices. Besides, majority ofcustomers are more inclined towards minimizing the cost of healththerefore, it is hard to convince such a market to utilize a servicedesigned for a different patient group (Bowes, 2010).
Finally,the difficulty in targeting customers arises because the loyalty isbased on experience. Clients’ decision to continue obtainingservices from a given hospital depends on their first experience. Forexample, when a patient attends a hospital and receives satisfactoryservices, he or she is less likely to go and try the same services inanother hospital. Besides, sick people have different behaviors,opinions, and attitudes that further contribute to the lack ofhomogeneity in their health care decision-making. The lack ofsimilarity makes it complex to classify segments for target marketing(Schmid et al., 2008).
Bowes,P. (2010). Using targeted marketing strategies to optimize healthcare plans. Whitepaper.Web. Retrieved fromhttps://www.pb.com/docs/US/pdf/SIS/Healthcare/WhitePaper-BenefitsCommunications.pdf
Coughlin,S., Wordham, J., & Jonash, B. (2015, January 26). Risingconsumerism: Winning the hearts and minds of health care consumers.DeloitteReview, (16), Retrievedon 11 July 2016 fromhttp://dupress.com/articles/consumerism-health-care/
Nam,S. (2015, November 5). Which customers should the disruptors inhealth care target? ClaytonChristensen Institute.Retrieved on 11 July 2016 fromhttp://www.christenseninstitute.org/which-customers-should-the-disruptors-in-health-care-target/
Onchard,C. ( n.d). 8 Challenges to customer-driven health care. HarvardT.H Chan: School Of Public Health. Retrievedon 11 July 2016 fromhttps://ecpe.sph.harvard.edu/newsstory.cfm?story=Customer-Driven-Health-Care
Schmid,K. L., Rivers, S. E., Latimer, A. E., & Salovey, P. (2008).Targeting or Tailoring? Maximizing Resources to Create EffectiveHealth Communications. MarketingHealth Services,28(1),32–37.