The pandemic days have reinforced the importance of healthcare in all of our minds. In this fight against COVID, the healthcare sector is helping us conquer the victory. Now, making the vaccine is one thing. After making the vaccine, people need to be informed. This is where the job of the healthcare marketer comes into play. Today, devices and gadgets have become a part of our lives, and the medical sector is no different. Hence, the gamut of medical device marketing takes precedence over anything else.
What is the job of a healthcare marketer?
Before delving into the bookish response, below are a few instances where the sector cannot do without a marketer. Say a dentist has launched a new clinic and is looking to grow the client base. Concurrently, a health insurance company has rolled out new features and wants to keep its beneficiaries informed. There is also a hospital that has started a public health program for the risk-prone demographic of the population. These initiatives will deem useless if not communicated to the outside world – hence the need for a healthcare marketer.
Healthcare marketing executives are responsible for planning, directing, coordinating and evaluating marketing strategies. The senior-most managers overlook the internal marketing staff and ensure that advertising initiatives align with the desired objectives. Though it is the medical sector, the marketing team will need a campaign of some sort. Yet another role of these marketing executives is planning promotional campaigns and negotiating contracts with media outlets.
As an ancillary, there is also the market research aspect. Promotional campaigns and strategies require an understanding of the target audience. That is the job of research, wherein executives identify appropriate markets and curate effective plans for attaining them. Healthcare marketers are responsible for forging relationships and connections with physicians. Doing so helps improve the referrals and contracts. Also, some healthcare executives develop price tactics to help maximize the bottom line – profits. These price points shall also help ensure that the patients are duly reimbursed and satisfied.
What are the requisite skills that healthcare marketers need?
Note that the aspect of marketing deals with people. At the outset, one needs to have people skills to be a marketer. And the same goes for healthcare. Healthcare marketing executives need exceptional leadership skills for supervising the areas of marketing, advertising and public relations. Marketing executives need to be profound communicators and have stellar interpersonal abilities. Only then will they be able to hold discussions about the promotional process. Decision-making abilities are also vital for marketing executives. These help with the selection of the appropriate campaign design.
Another thing is creative problem-solving skills. These shall come in handy in generating innovative and out-of-the-box marketing ideas when the sales numbers stumble down a slope. Marketing and promotion require money, and executives should make it a point to stick to the budget. Given the times, healthcare marketers must have proficient computer skills as well.
What are the academic qualifications required for becoming a healthcare marketer?
Reaching the position or rung of a marketing executive takes considerable work. For one, you should have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited business school. Most aspirants of marketing executives hold a major in marketing, advertising, public relations, management or business. While there is no specific institute for healthcare marketers, there are certification courses that one can take up. These help employers in cutting to their clutter of candidacy. Experts recommend that you enrol in the electives of market research, consumer behaviour, sales and communications. These directly impact your work in devising promotional campaigns. As ancillary electives, you can take up business law and technology. This ensemble shall give you a holistic perspective and make you a well-rounded candidate for the marketing executive post.
Employers today prefer hiring executives with a Masters or a Postgraduate degree. One can opt for an MBA in Healthcare or a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA). A Master of Science in Marketing shall also lead you in that direction.
One more thing is professional certification. Although not a mandate, having one provides that competitive edge. It elevates your profile by verifying your expertise and commitment to professional development and skills building. Below are courses for aspirants to consider.
The American Marketing Association
Abbreviated as AMA, the institute provides certifications such as the Professional Certified Marketer (PCM). There are no designated eligibility requirements, but most of the PCM candidates either pursue a bachelor’s degree, along with four years of marketing experience, or a masters’ degree with two years of marketing experience. The great news is that this is an online certification, and given the times, one can pursue it from their homely confines. Note that the course comes with recertification.
The Institute of International Marketing Professionals
The Institute of International Marketing Professionals or IIMP offers the Certified Marketing Management Professional course. The course can take place at four tiers or levels – associate, manager, executive and chartered. The Manager CMMP title then sets the floor for healthcare marketing managers.
The Coronavirus pandemic has reduced the world to shambles. It is the healthcare professionals that are striving towards the rescue. With that said, it is the marketers who are getting the word out on the street. Whether it be vaccination drives or symptom education, they are vital contributors in helping to drive out the pandemic. Hence, there lies a ton of potential in the field that is unexplored yet.