The History of Healthcare Marketing
Healthcare marketing has a history that goes back far beyond what most people realize. Doctors, media professionals and marketing experts presume that the marketing of healthcare is a relatively new phenomenon dating back just a few decades. The reality is that it goes back to the advent of healthcare at the dawn of human civilization.
Healthcare Marketing through the Ages
- The first healthcare providers were the witch doctors and shamans at the dawn of recorded history. Their brand of “medicine” may be laughable today, but at that time, these were the people you went to if you were sick or injured. How did people know where to find them? Simple – they were the ones who painted their faces with the “healer’s” colors and wore distinctive robes and gowns. This was the first form of healthcare marketing – people knew that this service was available to them and where they could get it.
- When written languages appeared, signs could be made. A crude hand-painted name or image told people that this was where they needed to come to get cured. No other information was available, but then there was not much real knowledge to share. It was enough that this was the place to go to if you were sick.
Also Read: The Role of Digital Marketing in the Healthcare Industry
- The growth of technology brought diversity into healthcare marketing. Printed signs could be placed outside a doctor’s clinic to let people know where he practiced. In rural areas where itinerant doctors/healers moved from place to place, signs could be painted on the sides of their wagons to tell people who they were.
- Soon after, printed handbills could be cheaply produced and distributed to spread the word about the availability of medical care.
- When mass media became available in the form of newspapers and periodicals, proper advertisements for medical care and where people could go to get treated exploded and this formed a significant portion of total advertising.
- The next stage in healthcare marketing came with the invention of the automobile. In the early part of the 20th century, as roads and highways came into being, so too did the large advertising signs or billboards that we now see dotting roads everywhere. Doctors and hospitals were among the major advertisers.
- Electronic media, in the form of radio and later television, brought marketing into the home. Static advertising was no longer enough. Sounds and moving images created a bigger and longer lasting impact and the medical industry (medicine was by now a major business) made full use of this marketing avenue.
- The internet changed healthcare marketing beyond recognition. Now, patients and caregivers could search for the medical resources they needed from home and after finding a suitable resource, interact with it to see if it provided the medical services that were needed.
Healthcare Marketing Online - Competitive, Complex and Effective
Online healthcare marketing is huge and growing every day. No doctor, clinic or hospital can afford to stay off it. Staying offline means staying away from growth and progress. Because of the massive volume of marketing being done online, to stand out from the crowd to create the positive image and perception that leads to patient footfalls, marketing must be done professionally. From websites to social media, blogging, newsletters, interactive patient engagement and much more, only a professional online marketing company, with expertise in healthcare marketing will be able to produce the kind of results that make online healthcare marketing such a huge engine for growth.
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