The St. Antony Medical Center aims to use its labor and delivery unit as a part of the marketing pull strategy. Therefore, while it may not contribute significantly to the overall profit of the organization in a direct manner, it has an impact on the number of patients that will use St. Antony’s services in the future. The analyses of competitors provided an understanding that additional services such as manicures and pedicures should be given to the clients.
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Additionally, to close the performance gaps, L&D should use social media and other online sources as well as provide free of charge maternity courses to its clients. This will help position the unit as a well-established healthcare provider with diverse services.
Appropriate marketing strategies can help health care establishments to attract new patients and offer better services to them, which benefits not only a particular unit but the entire organization as well. The primary issue that currently exists within the St. Anthony’s Medical Center labor and delivery (L&D) unit is the fact that the facility is unprofitable while its competitors already employee strategies that help them attract a diverse population of women. This conceptual marketing plan aims to analyze the gaps in St. Anthony’s current and desired performance, an overview of the service line of competitors, and offer insight into new facilities and positioning strategy.
Current Marketing Situation and Gap Analysis
Currently, there are several gaps between St. Anthony’s Medical Center’s labor and delivery unit present state and desired outcomes. The internal goals of the establishment include obtaining new patients who in the future would use other services of this hospital because they are familiar with the organization. Additionally, this will allow St. Anthony’s hospital to attract other family members, which corresponds with the market pull strategy.
Currently, the L&D unit does not bring sufficient profit to the hospital; therefore the primary desired outcome is to reach break-even. Moreover, the establishment has a goal of increasing its market share by 3% in the next three years and have a profit margin of 4% within the same period. The assumptions on which the following analysis is based are the directional strategy of St. Anthony’s Medical Center.
The primary competitors located in Minneapolis, Minnesota are the Mother Baby Center as part of the Alina Health and MNW Care. The first establishment offers baby photos service to its patients and a variety of online tools that help women plan their pregnancy, prepare for the delivery, and choose a name for a newborn (“Online tools,” n.d.). However, this organization does not offer community programs or manicures to their patients. The MNW center focuses on personalized care and has a SPA for its visitors (“Our services,” n.d.). This information provides an understanding that St Anthony should work on expanding its service line to ensure a competitive advantage over its competition.
Opportunity and Issue Analysis
Although it is evident that the competitors use additional services such as manicures and pedicures to attract new patients to their L&D units one should consider the fact that individuals who use Medicaid would not be interested in these facilities because they increase the cost of staying at the L&D. Alternatively, St. Anthony’s can focus on investing in community projects and educational groups for moms, offered free of charge.
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The primary objective of the plan is to establish new services and channels of communication with prospective customers that will help this L&D unit improve the profit margin, market share, and break-even. In this regards, the missing services are community programs and beauty services such as manicures and pedicures. Missing marketing channels are social media and online websites that patients use when deciding which hospital to choose. This strategy should help enhance the suboptimal profitability through attracting new clients to the St. Anthony’s Medical Center. Additional research into the investments that are required for these programs and a focus group are necessary to evaluate the observations and ideas.
Optimal Positioning Strategy
The L&D should be perceived as a trustworthy establishment that offers the highest quality of services to mothers. Therefore, product attributes strategy should be applied to this L&D unit to emphasize that St. Anthony received nursing performance awards and aims to maintain Joint Commission Accreditation. Internet and social media will be used by St. Antony’s L&D to communicate the new service line to its prospective patients. Specifically, the management of the establishment ensure that the hospital’s website is accessible and includes all the information regarding the program for mothers and additional services that will be offered at L&D.
Therefore, the conceptual marketing plan involves expanding the service line of the L&D and ensuring proper online presence to attract more clients. The assumption underlying this idea is that the current population of women preparing for their pregnancy conduct thorough research before choosing a medical establishment. Another hypothesis is that patients who use Medicaid will prefer educational services that the hospital can offer to them without additional payment.
Firstly, it is necessary to utilize social media and increase the overall online presence of the L&D unit. According to Fernández-Luque and Bau (2015) in the present day, social media can impact the health-related decisions of individuals because “patients are engaging with other patients in online communities using different types of social media” (p. 67). Therefore, St. Antony’s should ensure that the L&D unit is present on all major platforms, updates regularly, and that the establishment uses this channel to communicate with prospective clients.
Overall online presence of this L&D unit should be monitored and improved as well. According to Ranard et al. (2016), rating websites such as Yelp can provide a lot of insight into the operations of healthcare establishments because the content their presents information complementary to that of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. Therefore, this L&D unit should ensure that its online ratings are good through enhanced customer satisfaction, which will be discussed below.
Secondly, to increase the customer satisfaction rates, the establishment should apply a customer relationship management (CRM) system. According to Wang (2013), CRM systems in healthcare establishments help “improve service quality, and that perceived service quality positively influences resident satisfaction” (p. 388). This should enable more efficient interactions with patients at the L&D unit and assess more information about the quality of services to form the perspective of customers. Both the CRM system and online media assessment will help the L&D unit to understand the needs of their patients better.
Thirdly, St. Anthony’s should focus on developing community programs targeting future mothers that would be offered to them without additional payment. This approach will help attract Medicaid patients who prioritize cost over other services they can get. According to Maurer et al. (2016), the primary goal of Medicaid is to ensure that prospective mothers can receive high-quality services for affordable costs. Therefore, the hospital can offer additional education which would not require payments from patients. Finally, the L&D unit should provide supplementary services to its patients, such as manicures and pedicures because the competitors have this services as part of their offer to customers.
It is projected that the St. Anthony’s Medical Center will be able to achieve a break-even point within the next three years. The establishment will have to invest in a CRM system, a community program for mothers, and hire a social media marketing professional to execute this plan. Although the L&D unit is currently unprofitable, these changes can ensure that it receives the necessary funds to break-even.
Finally, it is crucial to identify strategies that would help the management of St. Antony Medical Center to evaluate the outcomes of this conceptual marketing plan. Firstly, the intermediate goal for customer satisfaction rates are as follows – improve the percentage from 82% to 85% in the first year, to 89% by the second year, and achieve 90% by the end of year three. Additionally, the profit margin should increase by 1% each year.
Overall, currently the L&D unit of St. Anthony’s medical center provides financial losses for the organization. This is the main gap between the desired and current outcomes of operations, while others are market share and customer satisfaction. St. Antony’s should focus on marketing its services online, through its website and social media. In addition, it should improve customer satisfaction which should be reflected in the hospital surveys and websites such as Yelp and can be achieved through a new CRM system. Finally, an educational program and additional services should be introduced to attract new patients.
Fernández-Luque. L., & Bau, T. (2015). Health and social media: Perfect storm of information. Healthcare Informatics Reaserch, 21(2), 67-73. Web.
Maurer, M., Firminger, K., Dardess, P., Ikeler, K., Sofaer, S., & Carman, K. L. (2016). Understanding consumer perceptions and awareness of hospital-based maternity care quality measures. Health Services Research, 51(2), 1188-211. Web.
Online tools. (n.d.). Web.
Our services. (n.d.). Web.
Ranard, B. L., Werner, R. M., Antanavicius, T., H. Schwartz, A., Smith, R. J., Meisel, Z F., … Merchant, M. R. (2016). Yelp reviews of hospital care can supplement and inform traditional surveys of the patient experience of care. Health Affairs, 35(4), 697-705. Web.
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Wang, M. (2013). Implementing CRM in nursing homes: The effects on resident satisfaction. Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, 23(5), 388-409. Web.