These past couple of years i noticed a very interesting trend in the healthcare market: Most of the purchasing behavior has changed.
Not only that, since the leader healthcare industry has always worked in a B2B environment we see an amazing and interesting dispute between a B2B mindset trying to work in a B2C setup. Well, you might be asking yourself why are they moving into a B2C setup. Here it is:
1. The way hospitals and clinics purchase capital equipment has changed
It has been a fantastic change and i would blame most of it on the economic situation we find ourselves today. Hospitals would use a similar approach very well known on consumer behavior:
a. Identify product or service required (the need)
b. Search for all possible alternatives. Google most probably will pay a big part here (product or service specs)
c. Compare options – Brad plays a part in here (supplier evaluation)
d. Decide what is best (decision making)
e. What’s next (post purchasing)
Yes, this could and is used the same way in both B2B and B2C but one of the crucial pieces of B2B are not listed in here:
He is the front line man, the hard worker, the problem solver, the relationship builder, the challenger, the lonely ranger.
Opposite from the consumer buying process, the rep is driving that relationship and takes control of the situation. Driving that B2B process.
2. Purchase departments some times, when not most of the times, are included in the final decision
That eliminates most of the relationship business since those guys are very concerned about the overall cost. It seems like they get some kind of bonus trying to get the lowest price possible. Hey, you… Purchaser… yes, you… when buying the cheapest option you do not realize that you might be buying something that could possible be… NOT RELIABLE!
My recommendation to Purchaser that do not care about anything but the lowest price possible is to visualize yourself or a member of your family going to that hospital and being hooked up to that ‘cheap’ device you just bought it. Have you thought about this?
3. The way some B2B communicate is the same as seen in B2C
If you look around the ads and flyers, or even leaflets, they all have some kind of social network in there. ‘Follow us’ here, ‘like us’ there. But that is not all, they are really creating a huge effort to go this route. That brings us to the final and crucial moment. If Healthcare companies do not adapt and i say, as quick as possible, then you will be left behind… yes, right back there where your AOP was not met and you meet with your HR manager to pack your stuff and go out.
Hospitals are going in that direction and so should the companies that offer them products and services. Don’t believe me, check what Cleveland Clinic has on YouTube, a whole channel dedicated to how they can better threat you as a patient. One of the latest videos they uploaded is called: Empathy: the human connection to the patient care.
One of the greatest examples i have ever seen from a capital company was the effort that GE Healthcare did for communicating to PATIENTS and not HOSPITALS what they do and how they can feel safe if there is GE technology in a hospital. It was a brilliant way of getting patients to ask for GE when they go to a hospital next time. Take a look yourself:
Healthcare companies out there. Be prepared for adapting, changing and modifying your marketing campaigns and strategies for the following years. The world is changing but the way technology has driven us is much faster.
Be social, be connected, have your websites revamped, and do not forget to engage because your Account Managers, Reps, Dealers and whatever is in your Sales Force will need your backup and tools to engage customers and you as a marketer should do the same to engage not only your customers but engage your customers’ customer… their patients.