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What is Marketing?

Vivek Shukla

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In the recent months I had the opportunity to speak at some conferences. While it makes me proud to be the youngest speaker in almost all the conferences that I go to, it also poses an intriguing challenge. Many people get confronted by the youngster who profusely uses the words like marketing, customers, brand building, etc.

I don’t blame them. Marketing has been a forbidden word in healthcare. Customers are something that hospitals have never dealt with. They only have patients, who are an outer wrapping of a disease. The job of the hospital is to treat the disease, at that’s about it.

If people in our industry had a deeper insight into what is marketing, they would be more comfortable with marketing lingo. Let us, therefore examine what is NOT marketing, so that we can get an insight into what marketing ACTUALLY is.

Marketing is not manipulation- Marketing is not telling lies and conning people to buy your product. If that was marketing, then none of the successful brands would ever use marketing in any form. In fact marketing includes communicating your product uniqueness to the target population in an accurate and an interesting way.

Marketing is not just hoardings and banners- Hoardings and banners are only a small constituent of marketing. In fact, when a receptionist takes a phone call in your hospital, that is part of marketing too. When the management wants some new policies to be followed by the entire nursing staff, they also have to use marketing [internal marketing].

Marketing is not sales- This is something that many people require a clarification on. Sales is just a part of marketing, just as market research, advertising, internal marketing, etc. are a part of it.

Marketing is not about bringing the others down – That may be something else. Marketing talks about being different and unique. It is not about thinking of plans to bring others down. You can be unique without calling names to others.

Marketing is not about your product – If I was to say in one word, what marketing is all about? I would say- PERCEPTION. It is not about the 1.5 Tesla MRI or the latest Laser machine. It is about the perception of your brand [or lack of it] vis--vis the competitors, that seals your fate as a brand.

So let us educate ourselves on this beautiful subject. I have been in this for 9 years now, and every day I get to see some new dimensions of this exciting field called Marketing.

The Workshop on Helathcare Marketing is scheduled on June 30th in Bangalore. Please write to [email protected] for more querries.

P.S.- A National Seminar was held at Symbiosis Pune earlier in May 2007. It was one of the best organised and delivered seminars that I have ever been to. I am attaching a picture of my panel discussion with this mail.

A National Seminar was held at Symbiosis Pune


Vivek Shukla
Healthcare Marketing Consultant
Sai Mahima Hospital, Ram Nagar,
Dharamshala H.P. 176215
India
Phone +91-9816086868

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