For years marketing has been about pushing, promoting products and services and brands. It’s been about marketers controlling the conversation and the media to communicate its desired message. But that has changed. Changed dramatically. As we enter a new decade, the emphasis of marketing is entirely different.
Now marketing is about being personal. It’s more one-on-one marketing. And it’s about managing customer relationships. Consumers now have a much greater role in controlling the marketplace. Consumers determine what messages they receive, when they receive them and how they receive them. It’s no longer about flooding the airwaves with the message marketers want the consumers to hear and see. It’s now more about relationships and interaction. It’s about making connections, nurturing and growing those relationships to build long-term loyalty.
Fundamentally, marketing is about building brands and establishing brand value. In the not too distant past, branding took a back seat to promotion and price. That was shortsighted and diminished some brands to nothing more than the latest promotion and price comparison. Fortunately, we have learned our lessons and now know that branding, brand perception and brand relationships are extremely important.
This is certainly true with healthcare and hospital marketing. In the past, healthcare marketers could just advertise or promote a new product or service and expect the local constituents to be loyal. But like most other industries, in healthcare there is increased competition, new pressures to grow market share while consumers want more control and expect a higher level of attention and customer service.
Healthcare marketers can no longer take customers for granted. Strong customer relations, customer-focused relationships, and meaningful interactions are now vitally important. To build a healthy brand, marketers must have keen consumer insights, effectively interact with consumers and be consistently accountable. The new decade presents new challenges, a new way of doing marketing. But with those challenges come great opportunities. There will be great rewards to those who understand the new marketplace and who reshape their brand to meaningfully and personally interact with consumers in new and expanding venues.