By: Lindsey Matthews
Healthcare is quickly becoming a new career path for IMC students post-graduation. While they aren’t enrolling in medical school, they are taking notice of the marketing needs throughout the medical field. Marketing is required for businesses of all kinds and healthcare is no exception, especially during a global pandemic. Going to the hospital or visiting your doctor may not seem like something you have much of a choice in, but you do, and healthcare providers know this. What makes you choose one hospital over another? Outside of distance, many patients would cite trustworthy care and hospitality as their main deciding factors. Fortunately, healthcare providers are eager to build a strong relationship with patients to make this choice an obvious one.
A strong rapport with both new and existing patients is the difference between a mother choosing to have her baby at one hospital versus another or deciding where to take a loved one when they need saving. This is where a skilled IMC student steps into the picture. Adequate marketing can help make a visit to a hospital or healthcare provider a little less scary and a lot more welcoming. They can highlight the experienced and caring team waiting to help them through photos and statistics that support their claims. This can help patients envision a person with a smile and warm heart rather than just a nurse with a needle.
It is important for healthcare providers to continue to gain new patients and further relationships with existing ones in order to create more revenue. Patients are a necessary evil in order for healthcare providers to have the funding to complete research and obtain the equipment needed to save lives. While it may sound strange to create an Instagram page for a hospital or doctor’s office, just like any other business looking to generate more revenue, they need to be on top of evolving media and advertising trends. Every form of advertising from social media platforms to billboards and print ads will need to be taken into consideration and put into action. Because many people do not think of healthcare until they need it, it will be especially important to reach new audiences outside of the existing following. When a potential patient is asked what hospital they would like to be taken to in a crisis, they will think of the one with the best ads, whether they realize it or not. Many of us do not go through our day planning which hospital we’d like to go to, so when the time comes, we chose the one we have a positive correlation with.
Finding and narrowing your target audience will be tricky since everyone from all walks of life will need healthcare at some point in their life. It will be vital to narrow in on the specialties of your hospital or provider, in particular, to create what they are specifically known for. For example, if your hospital is home to the number one pediatric wing on the east coast, use that to your advantage in advertising. Brand recognition is especially important when lives are on the line and patients are in a vulnerable state. An IMC specialist can help manage the story being told by healthcare and help patients choose the best options for safe and reliable care.
While healthcare may not be the first career path students think of when exploring IMC jobs after graduation, it is a lucrative choice. Unlike a small business or marketing firm, a hospital is highly unlikely to go out of business. In other words, they will always need marketing and if employed, you could have a high level of job security. Marketing in healthcare has become especially prevalent since the start of the pandemic. Hospitals and doctor’s offices across the globe are being put in the limelight. An IMC specialist can ensure that the extra attention is in working to the advantage of the providers rather than hurting them. Additionally, many IMC majors might have an extra interest in the healthcare industry which would make this an especially fitting career path. A career in healthcare, whether you’re on the front lines or in the advertising department, is an admirable profession that helps others and is an important role for every community.
Elrod, J. K., & Fortenberry, J. L. (2020). Advertising in health and medicine: Using mass media to communicate with patients. BMC Health Services Research, 20(S1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05599-3