Marketing the Medical Tourism … is too Complicated!

By lotfi khelifi

Generally, Marketing is a difficult task, because it is the most important tools of any activities following production tool that delivers the product which will be marketed. Thus, marketing is mostly the central point of life for most products and services. Success or failure of the product in markets depends on the plans done for marketing it and the extent of its attraction in term of innovation of marketing view, as well as ability of delivering idea and resources invested.
If marketing process – usually – is complicated and has difficult general concept; marketing for medical tourism is the most complicated one.
How and what are the causes?
As we all know, Marketing process is a transmission of a product or services from the site of production, to byres minds and thought in a well-planned style, affecting people with “purchase coma”, means: attracting people to the service or service provider, with great conviction, and taking a person from no idea about the product to one of the main systems of life, sustainability and development of that product.
Medical tourism activity as a product related directly to people, who are unfamiliar to destination where marketing will be done, and because it is marketing of a services of marketing process restricted by ethical standards and traditions as turning back of people ethically on following of advertisement in a critical matter such as health, so planners of marketing process in this field as well as marketers should be fully standby to make a higher level of success moreover many faceable obstacles before beginning of reflecting the concept of product to minds of group targeted by marketing process itself. From here, the matter begins to be complex.
Obstacles in the pathway:
If we want to gather all obstacles previously indicated, we can summarize them in the following points:
– Marketing process interacts with people.
– Marketing process in medical tourism filed targets specific group of people.
-Marketing process in medical tourism targets a group of people live beyond the limits (other different societies)
Marketing process in medical tourism requires geo/sociological study, to identify people behavior, what do they want and what do they do not want, in order to provide what attracts them and to avoid what is not favorable to them.
After going over all obstacles, actual activity of main point of marketing process is started. First step is to convict other about marketing process in a critical field which marketing of medical services and degree of acceptance of the patient, whereas advertisement occasionally may not be psychologically accepted at least by the patient, as he/she see it with suspicion. Fortunately, medical tourism has many activities which are not considered part of clinical specialties, such as treatment in hospitalization stations, treatment by seawater, sanatorium specified for relaxation and treating with salts and hot water, plastic surgery and others, it looks like lungs which medical tourism breathes by in more than comfortable way, and a place where marketers find easier filed to market their medical/touristic destinations.
Requirements controlling success of marketing process in field of Medical Tourism:
Trust:
Trust is base of each medical practice. Thus, if patient does not trust you, you may not get his/her hand, this makes trust the base of success of marketing tasks in field of medical tourism. To get trust, there are many factors that should be available, first one is quality of medical services.
Can marketing plans succeed if no advertisement about medical successes done in any country?
Actually no.
Security & Honesty:
Security is considered as one of main terms of marketing medical tourism as well as the sense of tourism generally. In addition to security, honesty should be found, whereas patients trust in doctor in unfamiliar destination where they target, so they give special prominence about not to be falsified, cheated or stolen in deceptive ways.
Competitive rate is also an effective term:
Rate in field of medical tourism is a major element i, because it almost be main term considered by medical tourist, it determines his/her medical destination, yet the main two causes of finding medical tourism are; unavailability of treatment in tourist’s country, so he/she has to go out of nation for treatment, or it is available but in higher rate, so he/she decide to travel for treatment out of homeland.
Qualification & Acquaintance:
Last but not least, if we assume that all mentioned terms become completely available, is this mean that each marketer will success in marketing tasks of medical destination?
actually the answer is NO,
Marketers in field of medical tourism should have tourism knowledge and minimum BACKGROUND of general medical knowledge to be able to meet requirements of medical tourist, which is an actual term to get trust of “client” coming from overseas.
Last question:
Do health care providers understand all these challenges?
Have governmental authorities – supervising marketing of medical tourism – efficient awareness about the exigency to put plans for marketing and advertising, and enough credits for that?
This is the question which still looking for a clear answer from most of people as most of them that – especially owners of private hospitals – considered that it is not necessary to pay money for marketing their hospital, while patients have to come, but, does this “paradise” remain longer? Let’s answer the question in the next edition.