Let me introduce you to a very interesting marketing tool. It is called converting your disadvantage into an advantage. Most of us loose sleep over what we think is a weakness of our organization. Well, it is possible to convert the weakness into strength.
A client of mine was worried that his hospital is viewed as the most expensive hospital in the target market. He said, "We are sure to miss out on many cases because we are expensive.’ Indeed, when we compared the prices, the services were expensive. The surgery charges, ICU, investigations did cost more to the patients. He had more number of doctors and expensive high quality machines, so his costs were also high. The hospital infrastructure was maintained diligently, and that added to the costs as well. He had more number of nurses and cleaners per patient. All in all he had ensured a good quality service, but at a cost.
The dilemma was that he could either compromise on the service quality and reduce the prices; or he could reduce the prices and earn less profits but maintain the quality. Well, he did neither of those. I told them to not dodge the fact that their place is expensive. In fact, I encouraged them to make a statement and propagate that they are expensive.
We created a campaign for them with a headline- ‘We are the most expensive hospital in the city.’ The tag line was, ‘But who says quality is cheap?’ In the middle of both these lines was a picture of a happy smiling family in a plush private room of the hospital. There were other messages too. Through many mediums we told the people that they deserve what they pay for. A premium brand associated with top quality service was developed. This message was spread through various means all over the area. Within an year, the disadvantage was converted into an advantage. The hospital today is viewed as a premium place with high quality service. When a person gets his family member treated there, he is making a statement that he will buy the best for his loved one. Needless to say that the sales have increased and so have the profits in one year’s time.
The lesson from this story is – If you are candid about your ‘so called disadvantage’ you can actually convert it into an advantage.
Healthcare Marketing Consultant
Sai Mahima Hospital, Ram Nagar,
Dharamshala H.P. 176215