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Many health care systems are aware of the challenges that they are facing in the industry. As such, marketing plan is aligned with the existing challenges to ensure that they serve the purpose and objectives of renal dialysis center. This will largely depend on the perceived and real challenges that the center’s marketing department faces. Obviously, the renal dialysis center has unique challenges which inform the formation of a marketing plan that will help in overcoming those challenges. Through an effective marketing plan, the renal dialysis center can have a clear direction on where it is going and, more importantly, how to get there. This is mainly done in the form of documenting each and every decision, and analyzing the potential challenges and opportunities that might arise along the way.
In its marketing plan, the renal center will pursue the following marketing objectives in order to achieve a growth of rate of 12 percent annually:
- In its marketing, the center will support community development activities through strategic partnerships and alliances with the community organizations, and other health clubs and retailers to reach the clients;
- The center will also introduce an online platform to allow patients to interact with physicians within the next two years. This will increase the level of reach to clients, hence increased sales;
- The center intends to become a market leader of renal dialysis services in the town by increasing its market share of renal services;
- The center will continuously improve on the renal dialysis services as a way of achieving a 98 percent customer satisfaction by the end of year;
- The center also aims at doubling the number of space occupancy in the next 1 year in a bit to maximize on the increased number of customers;
- The center will increase the number of returning customers by 5 percent in the next 1 year.
Qualitative Marketing Objectives
Objectives and goals of the health care institution are important in outlining a marketing plan. However, goals and objectives to be included in a marketing plan must be specific and achievable. In other words, a marketing plan must emanate from the SMART concept so that it is specific in nature, measurable in quantity and quality, attainable in terms of execution, realistic, and time bound. These characteristics will ensure that the marketing plan not only help the renal center in competing effectively, but also that it helps it to remain profitable in the amid challenges.
The following qualitative objectives will form the basis of the marketing plan for the renal center:
- To provide renal dialysis services to patients in an innovative environment that allows friends and family visits with a view of improving their quality of health.
In formulating a marketing plan for dialysis service, the marketing manager will require to identify their target customers. This is because the center will need to have a clear understanding of the needs of its customers for it to provide services which are specifically meant for such customers. Moreover, having the needs of the customer in mind will help in cutting down the costs associated with providing general services which also might not attract as many consumers as possible. Having to identify a niche market is also important in contemporary marketing because it helps the health care provider to specialize and offer high quality services.
Additionally, a marketing plan should be informed by the actual happening in the entire industry. The ability to highlight the actual challenges in the health care industry will assist the marketing team to come up with innovative and creative solutions in health care (Kotler, Shalowitz & Stevens, 2011);
- To establish awareness of the Renal Ease brand among physicians linked to a meaningful positioning.
The renal center will use profiling strategy in communication in an attempt to reach out to customers who indicate signs of loyalty in their brands through sending e-mails and making direct calls to them to find out how they are finding their products and services. The center will use direct marketing to clients within the community it serves by showcasing its services and products to them (Richardson & Norris, 2010);
- To strengthen and build awareness of the brand among the public especially targeted consumers.
Health care systems need to take advantage of the push approach as a strategy to targeted customers. Health care providers must also use tools such as contests, free samples, and coupons to entice and attract customers to visit their facilities. This form of communication should go a long with the pull approach to minimize on the costs of marketing the products in the new market. However, the success of the push strategy will depend on the demand that potential customers indicate and the level of interest that they show during road shows and trade shows and whether customers indicate their loyalty to the health care service. It may take a longer period for the health care providers to determine customer loyalty; even though, it is important to expect that customers will be embraced with products and services provided. One way to identify whether customers are likely to form brand loyalty is the ability to recognize the brand before they go to health care facilities to access the services;
- To invest heavily in marketing to create a memorable brand image projecting innovation, quality, and value.
For an effective marketing plan, health care systems will also require to use all relevant communication techniques in order to attract customers in the already competitive health care industry. This is especially important considering the increasing competition from other health care providers that already serve in their regions. Both push and pull strategies shall be used in communication besides the profiling approach. Push communication will aim at getting customers to visit health care centers without necessarily advertising. This will surely include people who will not be reached with advertisement;
- To develop tools to measure awareness and responses by adjusting marketing efforts if necessary.
This will be done through carrying out evaluation of the approaches used in the renal dialysis center so as to know whether it is meeting the marketing needs in the regions it serves from the market point of view, or from a customer point of view. Organizational approach will focus on the 7Ps. This means that product, price, place, promotion, people, processes, and physical evidence is the center of focus by the health care providers. On the other hand, 7Cs including customer, cost, convenience, communication, caring, coordination, and confirmation forms the center of focus;
- To increase customer satisfaction, thus reducing the number of complaints in complaint box while making complaint box more visible.
For an effective marketing strategy, it is essential for health care providers to understand that adopting a single communication strategy may not work effectively for them. They, therefore, must combine different approaches to communication. The most important is the balancing of these strategies with the aim of creating a satisfactory marketing mix, which is acceptable, and enticing the targeted customers. This is in recognition of the fact that different customers react differently to certain advertisements or communications, concerning health care products and services. The center will also consider best pricing strategies that will attract customers instead of driving them away to competitors (Hibbard, Slovic & Finucane, 2009).
The knowledge of the advantages that competitors have will help in launching products and services which are based on the outcome of the care services and the quality that customers are going to derive from the services. This will arguably be the basis on which the consumers will choose the health care provider among the numerous ones in the market. Equally important for the customer is higher success rates which will be the blueprint on which the customers are going to choose the renal dialysis center (Richardson & Norris, 2010).
The following marketing strategies will be observed in the marketing plan:
- Developing a safe environment and culture;
- Implementing continuous research and development systems;
- Identifying target segments and their needs that Renal Ease intends to meet;
- Position Renal Ease as the premium facility for renal diseases and complications;
- Coordinate with purchasing, operations, sales, finance, and human resources;
- Introduce a marketing department to proper support effective implementations of the plan;
- Introduce the training program of all units;
- Build a reliable brand reputation through continuous patient experience excellence, physician marketing campaigns, and enhance Renal Ease website, online and search engine marketing, and utilization of social media;
- Develop patient satisfaction surveys and monitor website statistics;
- Capitalize on community awareness events;
- Develop effective communication systems with patients and community;
- Improve the involvement of public to understand their health care needs;
- Enable continuous improvement for developing effective solutions for existing health care problems within the community.
From the above marketing plan, it is expected that health the renal dialysis center will be able to launch and promote high quality services and products in a competitive market, having analyzed the situation and carried out SWOT analysis inherent in its operations. Proper and effective marketing plan in health care is the one that helps the marketers to take advantage of their niche markets and provide high quality and competitive services and products besides enabling them to be better choices in the market. This is the reason why marketing plans must have specific targeted consumers. Additionally, health care systems must capitalize on their ability to create high quality services and products at prices that are reasonable to the consumers.