Market to Market: Taking The Pulse Of Health Care


Health care just became the largest employer in the U.S., according to a January article in The Atlantic. Attributed in part to the aging population and the rising growth in medical spending, the industry’s employment boom finally outgrew manufacturing and retail—the 20th century’s employment stalwarts.

With the increase in employment and service opportunities comes a greater opportunity for promotional consultants and suppliers to target the needs of the industry, and to partner with clients to achieve and exceed marketing goals such as community outreach, patient education or employee recognition and training.

Mary Dobsch, president of Washington, Missouri-based supplier The Chest (PPAI 111653), notes that much of healthcare marketing has become more focused in recent years on patient education. “The goal is, with the proper education, there is an opportunity to prevent future healthcare issues,” she says. “Education at an early age can instill [behaviors such as] better eating habits into adulthood, which then will provide a better quality of life.”

Dobsch cites her company’s educational materials as an example of targeted healthcare marketing. Coloring puzzles that feature healthful foods, plates that indicate ideal portions and even placemats can help healthcare providers make the message last longer.

Amber Burden, owner and marketing solutions advisor of distributor The Promo Element (PPAI 730221) in Irving, Texas, sees opportunities for healthcare promotions year-round. “Marketing that is focused on the healthcare arena often seems as though it has already been set up for us,” says Burden. “Every month of the year is dedicated to the awareness, research and visibility of those with specific health problems: February is American Heart Month, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and so on. 

“Each month has at least one health-related focus, which can—and should—be utilized in marketing,” she adds. “As advertising specialists, we should also make sure we are thinking outside the box. Health care is more than just doctors and nurses. Companies involved in research and development market to both patients and physicians. Pharmacies attend
trade shows and participate in job fairs. Sometimes the key to success is simply using what we have already been given.”

Cindy Baker, PR and promotions manager for supplier Heritage Sportswear (PPAI 177353) in Hebron, Ohio, adds that such special events in the healthcare industry are also opportunities to gift employees with memorable and functional products such as custom t-shirts.


Market Snapshot

U.S. Health Care By The Numbers

Number of U.S. Hospitals Registered with the American Hospital Association (AHA) — 5,534 Community Hospitals (defined as non-federal, short-term general and specialty) – 4,840

  • Non-government-owned, non-profit – 2,849
  • Investor-owned, for-profit – 1,035
  • State and local government – 956
  • Federal government – 209
  • Non-federal psychiatric – 397

Other Hospitals (nonfederal, long-term care facilities and units within an institution) – 88

Source: American Hospital Association

The National Association of Community Health Centers reports more than 1,400 health center organizations in the U.S. operate more than 10,400 clinics and mobile medical vans in urban, suburban and rural communities, serving nearly 26 million patients across all 50 states. Community health centers are also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and offer primary, preventive, dental and mental health services on a sliding-scale basis.


2018 Healthcare Awareness Months


  • Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month


  • Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
  • Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
  • World Alzheimer’s Month


  • National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Physical Therapy Month
  • National Down Syndrome Awareness Month
  • Eye Injury Prevention Month


  • American Diabetes Month
  • Lung Cancer Awareness Month


Getting In On  The Ground Floor

Healthcare organizations and professionals are pushing for greater patient awareness and engagement. Patient portals are in the spotlight for upgrades to make them more user-friendly. Providers can benefit from incentives that encourage patients to participate in the improvement process.

Preventive medicine and wellness remain top-of-mind issues among users, particularly Millennials. The 2016 Goldman Sachs study “Millennials: Coming of Age” notes that wellness is a daily, active pursuit for this generation.

Healthcare providers continue to use social media to drive engagement, boosting awareness and generating new business leads. Incorporating promotions into social media campaigns can create lasting impressions and help drive referrals.


Real-World Solutions

Calling Conference Attendees With Cookies
A Texas Children’s Medical Center branch was sponsoring an event at a national conference. To draw attention to the event and boost attendance, chocolate-covered Oreos were used as a “pillow-top” room gift for each attendee staying in the hotel for the conference.

A Cup Of Cheer For Clients
A pharmaceutical company was looking for a new way to leave a lasting impression when its reps met with potential customers regarding a new product launch. Chocolate almonds were a sweet icebreaker, and the pencil cup kept the company’s logo and contact info front and center on administrators’ and doctors’ desks.

Sweet Staff Appreciation
A large Minnesota hospital system chose a designer tin as a way to show appreciation to their staff. The impressive designer tin with a full color imprint and gourmet truffles was sent directly to each nurse on its staff, across multiple locations, along with a “Thank You for All You Do” gift card.

Source: Maple Ridge Farms 


Jen Alexander is associate editor of PPB.



Read time:
Comments (0)
Leave a reply