One of my Paediatrician friend told me an interesting story. He did his Post Graduation from SMS Medical College Jaipur where queues of patients would wait for the doctor since early morning. After finishing his MD he decided to setup his private practice in Gurgaon. While doing MD he had thought that wherever I would put my table the patients would start queueing. When he landed in the city he tried to find an area where there was no Child Specialist but could not find any. He finally decided to setup his clinic right next to the busiest child clinic in the city. He thought that the spillover would come to him initially and very soon he would also have a busy practice.
Things did not turn out this way. He would sit in his clinic waiting for patients, who would all queue up outside the nearby child clinic which would only open at 11 am. Two years later a patient from the nearby clinic came to him and asked him that when did you open this clinic. This is the power of branding and patient loyalty. In the earlier days the following would develop over a period of time and almost every doctor would create a brand for themself through this route. Not anymore, the market is too much crowded in the bigger cities and getting noticed through this cacophony is very difficult. One cannot sit back and hope that over a period of time the patients would come and a following would be created.
Most of the big hospitals in the country are bunched together in Metro Cities. A lot of doctors shuffle between these hospitals and therefore creating a brand identity and patient following is extremely difficult. Most of the services being offered by these hospitals are also similar in terms of the equipments and the treatments being provided. The prices are also more or less similar. So how would a hospital stand out in such a scenario. The real differentiator can be the marketing team but that also is not happening as any new hospital tries to poach on the marketing teams of the competing hospitals. These guys would come and implement the same solutions which they did for their previous hospital.
A very simple and effective communication strategy must be adopted by the healthcare providers to reach out to the potential patients. Cut the jargon and the medical terminology, if you want to grab the eyeballs. If you are putting up any advertisements even in yellow pages then the ads must be professionally designed as they represent your personality and your skills.
Most of the clinics have doctor designed internal branding which leaves a lot to be desired. This must be done by a professional agency which knows healthcare and which knows branding. Nicely designed standees and leaflets would make a lot of impression on the patients and their loyalty to the brand would be strengthened. A brochure is not a big investment for any clinic as each brochure would cost you around Rs. 50 while each patient pays around 300-500 as the consultation fee.
Most of the healthcare providers are so enamoured with their gadgets that they would like to mention the special features of each of that gadget in their literature. This makes little sense to the patient as they are only interested in their treatment and not to undertstand the healthcare in its entirity. This makes the promotional material look like a medical journal and is of no use for the patient.