Marketing is one of the most important elements for the success of a firm. There are various strategies that enable a firm to conduct effective marketing. Some of these strategies relate to positioning and differentiation. In marketing effective positioning is one of the strategies that firms use to attain a competitive advantage. Positioning refers to the process through which a firm creates a superior image of its products and services to a particular market segment. The management of various firms develops their positioning strategies in a unique way from that of the competitors so as to develop a competitive edge. In addition, for a firm to effectively position itself, it must incorporate the concept of differentiation. Differentiation refers to the process through which a firm produces its products or services in a unique way.
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In the 21st century, various firms in different economic sector are increasingly incorporating marketing concepts in their operation. Examples of firms that are changing their marketing strategy include hospitals. More hospitals are formulating strategies geared towards developing a superior brand image for their services as a strategy to improve their visibility. Marketing of healthcare is different from marketing of products. This is due to the intangible characteristic of the healthcare services (‘Positioning and differentiation of services’, 2009, ¶ 3).
Examples of firms within the healthcare industry in the US include Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital and Loma Linda Medical Centre. Both firms operate under the US Department of Veteran Affairs. The discussion of this paper entails an analysis of the positioning and differentiation strategies incorporated by these firms in their operation.
Profile of Mike O’ Callaghan Federal Hospital
Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital (MOFH) is a firm in the medical field. The firm is located at Las Vegas, Nevada and was formed through a joint venture. In 1993, the firm was transformed into a Veteran Affair Medical Center (‘Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital’, 2009, ¶ 2).
Offering of secondary care
Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital has effectively positioned itself as a healthcare facility that deals with the provision of secondary care. Secondary care refers to the special healthcare that is given by specialist such as physicians to patients who have been recommended such kind of a care by providers of primary care. Primary care forms the initial point of contact between the patients and the healthcare consultant. The hospital has developed a superior image in the mind of its clients as a firm that delivers effective secondary care services. Through provision of secondary care, Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital has been able to effectively minimize veteran beneficiaries who are referred to other Veteran Affair Medical Centers (VAMCs) to obtain inpatient care services (‘Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital’, 2009, ¶ 2).
The firm has differentiated itself through delivery of services that are associated with psychiatric and intensive care, surgical and medical services.
The hospital is strategically located in a community that is fast growing in United State. In addition, the area has an approximate population of 200,000 veterans. This means that the hospital is able to effectively deliver healthcare services to a large number of clients. This has been achieved by investing in a number of inpatient and outpatient facilities.
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In delivering effective service to its clients, Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital has affiliated itself with a number of organizations. Some of these organizations include, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Graduate School of Social Work, College of Health Sciences, South California College of Optometry, Department of Heal Care Administration and University of Nevada School of Nursing (‘Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital’, 2009, ¶4).
Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital offers a number of special programs such as neurology, cardiology, radiology, urology, oncology and gynecology amongst others. The firm has also differentiated itself by offering TriCare Program. This is a healthcare program that under the Department of Defense that is specially designed for the retired and active-duty members of the various uniformed services, survivors and their families (Medical services, 2009, ¶ 7).
Loma Linda Medical Centre
The hospital has positioned itself by adopting a mission aimed at honoring all the American veterans through provision of exceptional and high quality healthcare so as to improve on the wellbeing and health of the veterans. This has resulted into the firm developing a positive image amongst the veterans.
Affiliation with Desert Pacific Healthcare Network
The management of VA Loma Linda has appreciated the importance of people in marketing its services. As a result, A Loma Linda Medical Centre has effectively differentiated itself by affiliating itself with well established medical schools that are located in Southern California through the Desert Pacific Healthcare Network (DPHN). This enables the firm to differentiate itself through delivery of quality services. DPHN consists of a network of five major healthcare systems through which the staff is trained. During the one year program, the employees are rotated within the five departments of DPHN. This enables them to acquire more knowledge on how to deliver services their clients. This is due to the fact that they are able to make use of the services of professional medical consultants (Billy, 2009, ¶ 4).
The hospital is also has an affiliation with Loma Linda University through which it conducts dental education and postgraduate medical programs. In addition, the hospital also has an affiliation with other 51 educational institutions. This enables the firm to effectively train its health specialists (VA Loma Linda Healthcare System, 2009, ¶ 4).
Diversity of services and total healthcare
In addition, Loma Linda Medical Centre has differentiated itself effectively by delivering diverse healthcare to the veterans through incorporation of the multidisciplinary concept. These healthcares are categorized into specialty care, mental healthcare, outpatient and inpatient health care, long term or home care and acute hospital care. The outpatient and prevention healthcare consists of sub-specialty and specialty healthcare services. This has enabled the hospital to position itself as a total healthcare system (VA Medical Center Loma Linda, 2009, ¶ 1).
Loma Linda Medical Centre has also differentiated itself by offering a number of primary care services. It has a skilled team which ensures that primary care is effectively delivered. The primary care is mainly focused at preventing illnesses. On the other hand, the specialized services such as surgery, medicine, neurology, and behavioral medicine are focused at preventing hospitalization
By adopting the total healthcare system in its operation, Loma Linda Medical Centre is able to deliver healthcare services according to the demands of the customers more effectively. This is because the firm can deliver both curative and preventive healthcare to its clients. This enables the firm to position itself more effectively in the market.
In addition, the firm has also differentiated itself by offering several special programs. Some of the special healthcare programs offered relate to individuals who have got co-occurring abuse and mental disorders. Other healthcare services offered include trauma recovery, mammography, oncology, sleep disorder, hemodialysis and vocational rehabilitation (Buddy, 2009, ¶ 3).
Loma Linda has also been effectively positioned through certification. Some of the firms that have accredited the hospital include the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation on Health Care Organization (JCAHCO). This has resulted into a positive public image
Both Loma Linda Medical Centre and Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital have targeted delivering their services to a common audience which includes the veterans and their beneficiaries. This has enabled the firm to effectively differentiate themselves from other firms in the healthcare industry.
Both firms offer a number of services which include ambulance, emergency, diagnostic, pharmacy and casualty services. This has enabled the firm to position themselves effectively in their target market.
In addition, these firms have incorporated the concept of affiliation with major medical schools to ensure effectives service delivery. Both firms have differentiated themselves by incorporating the current technology in delivering services to their clients.
Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital serves approximately 200,000 clients which is relatively higher compared to that of Loma Linda Medical Centre which serves approximately 59,000 clients and their beneficiaries. Unlike, Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital which specializes in secondary care, Loma Linda Medical Center has differentiated itself by providing primary care to the veterans.
Positioning and differentiation is an important element for a firm in the process of marketing its products or services. Positioning and differentiation of services is relatively different from that of products due to the intangible nature of the services. Currently, hospitals are incorporating the concept of positioning and differentiation in delivering healthcare services. Examples of firms which have incorporated the concept of positioning and differentiation are Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital and Loma Linda Medical Centre. Both firms are established within the Department of Veteran Affairs and target the veterans and their beneficiaries. Both Loma Linda Medical Center and Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital have effectively positioned themselves by offering primary and secondary care respectively. Secondary care enables Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital to conduct effective referral services. In addition, the firm has differentiated itself through strategic location in United States. The hospital is located in an area that has a large population of veterans. This has enabled the firm to effectively invest in both inpatient and outpatient facilities to ensure effective service delivery.
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Both firms have differentiated themselves by offering different special programs to the veterans and their beneficiaries. This has enabled them to develop a superior image amongst the veterans.
Loma Linda Medical Centre has incorporated the concept of multidisciplinary in delivering healthcare services to its clients. This has enabled the firm to delivery diverse healthcare services to its clients. In addition, the firm has also effectively differentiated itself in the market through certification by various organizations. This has resulted into creation of a positive public image for the firm’s healthcare services.
Both firms’ have incorporated the concept of strategic alliance in their differentiation strategy. This has been achieved through affiliation with various medical schools. Affiliating with these institutions enable the firms to be competitive by developing its human resource capital.To ensure that the quality of healthcare services delivered is superior, both firms have incorporated the current technology in their operation.
Bill, J.M.(2009). VA medical centre. Web.
Buddy, T. (2009). Jerry L Pettis Memorial VA Medical Centre of Loma Linda California. Web.
ICMR. (2009). Case studies and management resources: positioning and differentiation of services. Web.
Nellis Airforce Base. (2009). Medical services. Web.
United States Department of Veteran Affairs. (2009). Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital. Web.
United States Department of Veteran Affairs. (2009). VA Loma Linda Healthcare System. Web.