Marketing techniques differ in the for-profit and non-profit sectors of the health care sector. Nowadays, competition is very strong in the health care industry, and hence the need for marketing strategies to help organizations gain a competitive advantage over competitors. For-profit marketing techniques focus on creating awareness to potential consumers in their target markets and encouraging them to buy. On the other hand, non-profit marketing techniques aimed at encouraging people to give. Therefore, the return on investment differs between for-profits and non-profits. The principles of marketing used by these two remain the same, but the marketing techniques vary. This paper compares and contrasts the marketing techniques between for-profits and non-profits health care organizations. It also describes how one can change a marketing strategy from for-profit marketing to non-profit marketing, for a start-up health care organization that changes its for-profit structure to non-profit status.
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Comparing of marketing techniques for-profit vs. non-profit organizations
According to John Kaegi (group vice president of marketing with BlueShield of Florida), the non-profit health care sectors build their brands quickly and effectively compared to for-profit health care organizations (McPherson, 2008). They do this through advertising campaigns, public education, and engagement of consumers by appealing to their health among other things. For-profit health care organizations utilize their marketing techniques to enhance operations. On the other hand, non-profit healthcare organizations utilize their marketing strategies to help consumers. They also appeal to many different aspects of the market place compared to for-profit health care organizations. In reference to Jeffrey Cowart, (the Chief Marketing Officer of Inova Health System) most of the non-profit health care organizations invest in advertising campaigns with the aims of heightening awareness of the availability of health and wellness classes, and HIV clinics among other subsidized community programs (McPherson, 2008).
Unlike for-profit health care organizations, non-profit organizations use surplus revenues to achieve their goals, instead of distributing them as profits. Most of the non-profit organizations are wealthy, and hence not profit-oriented like the for-profit organizations. For instance, the Melinda Gates Foundation and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) are the top two non-profit health care organizations in the US. These two employ non-profit marketing strategies in their operations. These approaches contribute a lot to their fame, globally. Melinda Gates Foundation, for example, is famous for its humanitarian efforts and scholarships to fund minority students (Wymer, Knowles & Gomes, 2006). HHMI is known for its efforts to fund research for scientists in the US. These are examples of the marketing strategies non-profit organizations use to gain a competitive edge.
The non-profit and for-profit marketing strategies have overlapping goals. However, their primary concerns vary. For instance, the marketing techniques for non-profit health care organizations are mission-oriented, whereas those of for-profit organizations are profit-oriented (Sciulli & Bebko, 2005). The non-profit health care organizations create value in their target audiences and hence enhance civilization. They not only provide services to them but also develop citizenship skills. They also produce strong networks (Eikenberry & Kluver 2004).
Both organizations employ the same media in their advertising campaigns. For instance, they use online, print media, radio, and TVs in their advertisements. They also employ the same methods to ensure that they meet the needs of the consumers. For instance, they employ marketing mix, branding, positioning, target market identification, PR, and advertising among others (Wymer, Knowles & Gomes, 2006). However, what they advertise differs from one another. The marketing strategies of non-profit and for-profit health care organizations also differ in terms of customer satisfaction. The marketing strategies of the latter assume that customers need to buy products or services to satisfy their needs. On the contrary, the marketing strategies of non-profit organizations recognize the need of consumers, and hence lay options to help them curb or meet their needs through the donation of time, cash, goods, and services (Hall, 2008).
Eikenberry, A. M., & Kluver, J. D. (2004). The Marketization of the Nonprofit Sector: Civil Society at Risk? Public Administration Review, 64(2), 132-140.
Hall, M. (2008). Non-profit Health Care Services Marketing: Persuasive Messages Based on Multidimensional Concept Mapping and Direct Magnitude Estimation. Health Marketing Quarterly, 26(3), 165-82.
McPherson, B. (2008). Dialogue: Advertising by Nonprofit Health Care Organizations. Inquiry-Excellus Health Plan, 45(3), 256-262.
Sciulli, L. M., & Bebko, C. (2005). Social cause versus profit-oriented advertisements: an analysis of information content and emotional appeals. Journal of Promotion Management, 11(2/3), 17-36.
Wymer, W., W., Gomes, R., & Knowles, P., A. (2006). Nonprofit marketing: Marketing management for charitable and nongovernmental organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publ.