Marketing Decisions in Health Care

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A PR team breaks down recent campaign results.Like all businesses, health care companies must pay attention to marketing. Take a look at some of the primary factors that health care administrators must consider when they’re making vital health care marketing decisions.

Social Implications

As the impending presidential election looms, social issues continue to gather more attention and people voice their concerns about such things as LGBT rights, abortion, and stem cell research. These and other controversial topics, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all have a bearing on the health care industry.

When health care decision-makers design marketing campaigns, it’s imperative that they demonstrate an awareness of these issues. One article from Modern Healthcare pointed out that health care businesses may see better results from their ad campaigns if they feature more gay and lesbian couples in the ad content. Whether a company chooses to feature these individuals in its ads depends heavily on the audience the company wishes to reach.

Industry Relationships

Healthcare Success, a marketing firm for health care businesses, noted some factors unique to health care marketing. One of the most notable factors is that health care professionals want to maintain good relationships with industry peers. A hospital or clinic is unlikely to run an ad campaign that insults or downgrades a competitor. Advancing health care depends on good relationships among medical professionals, so marketers must keep this in mind when they design ads.


Some state licensing boards have guidelines on marketing practices for medical professionals, and marketers must pay close attention to these regulations. Usually, this means that ads must be very clear about the services or practitioners they promote. The language should clearly and honestly represent the advertised product or service and may not make any sensational promises.

Some health care providers may be so afraid of being penalized by their state’s licensing board that they do not make any effort to market. If those responsible for marketing carefully review the board’s regulations, however, marketing is usually beneficial for a health care business.

It is also important for marketers to pay attention to insurance regulations. Since these regulations may affect prices on medical services, ads generally shouldn’t make promises about the prices of certain medications or treatments.


An article on Modern Healthcare’s website says that in recent times, health care marketing efforts have placed “emphasis on educating patients and engaging them in their growing role as health care consumers.”

This new emphasis is partly due to the ACA, which requires everyone to have medical insurance. Consumers may be confused about how insurance or health care works, and they may look for health care providers who are willing to take the time to educate them. Further, customers with high deductibles on their policies often search for the health care providers that provide the best quality services for the lowest prices, so marketers may place more focus on the value of services rather than on the services themselves.

Health care marketing is a challenge that requires marketers to adapt to changing times and regulations. However, by being alert to social issues and paying attention to consumers’ needs, marketers can rise to the occasion.