The Indian healthcare industry size is expected to touch US$ 160 billion by 2017 and US$ 280 billion by 2020. Health care delivery, which includes hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostics centers, and pharmaceuticals, constitutes 65% of the overall market. India requires 600,000 to 700,000 additional beds over the next five to six years, which potentially throws an opportunity of more than US$ 25-30 billion. While the existing hospitals would look at expanding their capabilities, a lot of new properties would also come up (Source: India Brand Equity Foundation).
With the current and expected boom in the hospital and healthcare sectors in India, the focus is once again on customers – potential hospital admits and existing patients who are looking for the best in healthcare, lifestyle-related ailment management, hospitalization and emergency care, as well as primary care at the best yet affordable hospitals in the country.
Hospitals and affiliated sectors are in a position to leverage digital platforms to reach out to patients, both current and prospective. With the right mix of messages, marketing campaigns and events targeted at various segments of the population, private hospitals in India can gain more footfalls, stronger engagement with their patients, greater trust, and public goodwill.
Below is a priority mix of marketing strategies, both online and on-field that hospitals can deploy. The full version is accessible via PDF: hospital marketing strategies. Marketers need to understand that marketing for hospitals isn’t just about “selling” products and services, or focusing on building the hospital’s brand value in the market. You need to consider the entire healthcare ecosystem at the local, regional, national, and global level, and create messages that fit each segment in relation to the hospital.
In terms of social media platforms and campaigns, here are a few ideas that hospitals can adopt in India. These campaigns are already popular and ‘routine’ in hospitals across the United States, Canada, Australia, and United Kingdom.
- Invite patients for free check-ups via social media promotions
- Organize Doctor-Tweet-Ups / Google+ Hangout Q&A sessions.
- Tweet about interesting happenings in the hospital, including what the doctors are currently reading, surgeries being performed, births and celebrations
- Hospital website should feature articles about healthcare, geriatric lifestyles, diet and fitness, sports and rehabilitation, disability and long-term care, caregivers and potential global health threats.
- Publish a quarterly or monthly hospital publication that is consumer friendly – highlight your strengths and success stories, narrate triumph of human spirit in difficult surgeries, show the human side of the doctor in their everyday life, and involve your patients.
- Publicize collaborations with national and global hospitals and doctors who are visiting the hospital for important surgeries and procedures.
- Align a campaign or mission with the country’s healthcare agenda.
One of my favorite healthcare and lifestyle management hospital campaign in India comes from Apollo Hospitals’ Billion Hearts Beating. This comes at a time when India is particularly vulnerable to a heart disease “epidemic.” According to government data, the prevalence of heart failure in India due to coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and rheumatic heart disease ranges from anywhere between 1.3 to 4.6 million, with an annual incidence of 491,600 to 1.8 million (Source: ASSOCHAM: The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India).
If you were to receive a marketing flyer or email from a hospital, what sort of news and features would you be interested in reading?