Healthcare Marketing: Definition, Strategy & Differences

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  • 0:03 What Is Helathcare Marketing?
  • 0:41 Healthcare &…
  • 2:19 Strategy
  • 4:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, you'll learn the definition of healthcare marketing and contrast it with traditional marketing. You'll also go over a case example of when healthcare marketing may be used and what strategy it may employ.

What Is Healthcare Marketing?

Although we don't like to admit it, studies have shown that even when we don't think advertisements have any effect on us, they do. That's the job of marketing: to get us to buy stuff. And the marketing strategies used in day-to-day businesses are also applied to healthcare. Healthcare marketing, in its simplest terms, refers to the use of marketing strategies for the purposes of protecting and improving a population's health by promoting health information and treatment options. Let's discuss how healthcare marketing differs from traditional marketing as well as some strategies healthcare marketers may use to achieve their goals.

Healthcare & Traditional Marketing

So what's the main difference between healthcare marketing and traditional marketing, as in commercial marketing that purveyors of goods and services, like electronics, haircuts, and cars, may use? Well, commercial marketing seeks to communicate and deliver value to a customer and to manage a customer relationship in a beneficial way to the product/service company and its stakeholders. Benefited how? Well, financially mainly. So the end goal of commercial marketing is to financially benefit the company and its stakeholders.

But healthcare marketing is a bit different. The aim of healthcare marketing is to benefit the consumers, which happen to be the public and thus potential current, or future, patients. So, organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aren't trying to make a quick buck for themselves by trying to promote important health information. Instead, they're trying to improve the population's health by encouraging the value of a person's health just as much as commercials might make them value the next cool phone.

Another very important difference between commercial marketing and healthcare marketing is the concept of an exchange. In commercial marketing, the exchange is a consumer's money for a product or service, like money for a $10,000 Crabapple smartphone. In healthcare marketing the transaction is different. The product, like a test kit, or service, like a blood pressure screening, is exchanged for a person's time or effort. That is to say, the effort to unglue oneself from a sofa with a permanent indentation of your body on it and the time it takes to get to the health center in order to take care of your health.


The phone analogy is actually key here. Organizations like the CDC know full well that traditional commercial marketing techniques have numerous excellent strategies, some based in science, on how to create value and appreciation for a product or service. This is why healthcare marketing is a cross-disciplinary field of many different traditional marketing techniques, newer techniques like social media, and biomedicine - all of which are used to promote public health.

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