The retailing revolution is creating newer market dynamics and facilitating better marketing communication activity. The platform of organized retailing presents a medium for social marketing. The objectives of social marketing is the application of marketing techniques, concepts and practices to achieve specific behavioural goals for a social good. The difference between commercial marketing and social marketing is that commercial marketing has more to do with financial goals.
Healthcare promotion based on social marketing
Healthcare promotional activities for social good include the anti-tobacco campaign that is currently locked in a battle of words between anti-tobacco campaigners and those lobbying the interests of beedi makers and tobacco cultivators, in India. Similarly, the pulse polio campaign and the hepatitis inoculation campaigns have been social marketing initiatives. Today, anti HIV campaigns and family planning campaigns are also in the ambit of social marketing.
Preventive healthcare is a challenging task compared to management of marketing of products and services for sickness management. In the case of sickness or disease management, there is a strong motivation for seeking healthcare intervention. For instance, a person afflicted with upper respiratory tract infection will not waste time in seeking medical help by way of antibiotic and pain killer prescriptions and thereby gain well-being. However, in the case of preventive healthcare, it is difficult to motivate a prospect to seek therapy of say an immune booster ayurvedic drug so as to offset the onset and limit the severity of a possible future upper respiratory infection during the cold season. So the challenge to the marketer of preventive healthcare products and services is to find that hot button need, want or desire that will motivate the prospect to seek and gain preventive healthcare products and services.
How to increase the adoption of preventive healthcare concepts, products and services?
The main approach to increase adoption of preventive healthcare concepts, products and services is by raising the consciousness of dangers of ill health, that is to say the importance of being careful and not being negligent or careless. First of all the consciousness that health is controllable and not something out-of-control needs to be established; there are even believers that disease comes due to curses of celestial forces rather than something due to the individual. This is to say marketing communication activity should establish that there is an internal locus of control for establishing health. Thus, it is important that an individual becomes aware, convinced, and believes that it is possible to be healthy and that it is important to take certain proven and sure shot preventive healthcare steps that will establish positive health in himself or herself.
So the emphasis on the cause and effect (causal relationship) between actions and disease is required in the marketing communication activity. This means preventive healthcare is about creating the right habits.
Preventive healthcare through pharmacies: opinion builder pharmacists
The pharmacies are important centers of healthcare. It is at these spots that the patient or prospect gets to browse through products and pick up those over-the-counter that appeal to him. At this point one can strengthen the decision making process of patients or prospects by providing information and empowering counsel either through touchscreen based information systems and also by way of well trained community or clinical pharmacists. If a patient has to pick up a preventive ayurvedic medicine or nutritional supplement, it will require confidence building information that only a hitech-hitouch experience can give. The hitech touch can come by way of touch screen based information systems and pharmacists can offer the hitouch feel.
This approach in fact has tremendous scope for social marketing of concepts like awareness of chronic diseases and their management (diabetes, cardiometabolic diseases, hypertension, asthma, arthritis etc), vaccination and dermatological concepts (like anti wrinkling, anti aging, anti acne, anti photoaging etc), anxiety disorders, forgetfulness (dementia in the young and aged)…
Like wise, products can piggyback on the social marketing concepts and increase consumption for social good. In fact, this is value added social marketing concept with a commercial bias. However, required social good is achieved through behavioral changes of the target audience.
Social marketing is very relevant today
Obesity and wrong healthcare choices play an important role in morbidity and mortality. One important approach is to increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables and CAM ie complementary and alternative products like nutritional supplements, herbals, ayurvedic medicines, (which have a major role to play in delaying the onset of disease, reducing the severity and symptoms of diseases, and hastening the recovery from illness). In fact, with the empowerment of society through the internet, there is a rapid growth of the market for CAM products worldwide. This CAM movement will only gain in size as sickness management gets costlier and the importance of preventive healthcare gain traction through the media.
This report gives you a peek a boo at the growing CAM product market
This link gives you an idea of the developing trends of the Indian pharma market:
Pharmacies may also start using cutting edge technology like the telepresence technology http://pharmaceuticalshealthcare.blogspot.com/2007/10/telepresence-in-pharma-marketing-and.html
SO ALL IN ALL, THERE IS A BOOM IN PREVENTIVE HEALTHCARE, AND SOCIAL MARKETING WILL HELP IN EXPANDING THE MARKET FOR PREVENTIVE HEALTHCARE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. THE PHARMACIES CAN SERVE AS NODES FOR PREVENTIVE HEALTHCARE SOCIAL MARKETING COMMUNICATION.