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Marketing Segmentation Of Healthcare

Marketing segmentation helps organisations to identify unique population subsets, which can thereafter be targeted for delivery of specialised services and marketing initiatives. [1] Marketing segmentation in healthcare is usually defined by demographic characteristics, disease categories and geographic location. [2] The marketing segment for the purpose of this exercise is women above 25.

This market segment is easily identified and defined and can help healthcare organisations targeting it to clearly formulate the various components of their marketing mix, comprising of product, price, placement and promotion.

This specific market segment can be accessed mainly through general advertising, as well as through specific retailers, especially in the clothing, pharmaceuticals and foods sectors that cater to its members.

Whilst this marketing segment is defined purely by demographic characteristics, it can be further segmented by way of age, income, marital status and maternal status. Such segmentation will help in determining whether the members of this segment will be inclined to buy general healthcare products, specific maternity products, or anti-pregnancy products, as the case may be.

The ability to buy will depend upon their income segmentation. Members of high income segments will be ready to look at expensive healthcare plans, whereas others may be willing to examine general plans or individual services.

The segment can again be broken up into different sub-segments, as described earlier to examine their potential to develop profits for healthcare products or services.

This broad segment or its various sub segments can also be graded in terms of desirability for marketing of specific products or services. It may for example not be very desirable to market anti-cancer checkups and profiling to the youngest segment, because of their pre occupation with other things and lack of interest in the issue.

The market segment of women above 25 may not prove to be very consistent for the marketing of all healthcare products because the needs and wants of different sub-segments may be dissimilar. Consistency in marketing approach would be possible only with sub-segments that are reasonably close to each other in terms of age, income and even cultural and social background.

Marketers will also need to consider the availability of this segment for marketing of their products. It is very possible that different sub-segments of this segment are already being serviced by different providers of healthcare services and products. It would thus be advisable for marketers to focus on the sub-segments that are not cluttered and available for their products or services.

Assignment 2: Segmentation of the UAE Markets

The UAE consists of a federation of 7 geographically proximal states. The region has a population of 4.6 million, which is growing at the rate of 3.8% every year. [3] The UAE has a per capita GDP of approximately USD 40,000 dollars, which is the second highest in the GCC countries. [4] 

The UAE can be socially and demographically segmented in different ways. The region’s inhabitants can in the first place be segmented by way of local and external origin. Expatriate workers make up approximately 78% of the population of the UAE. [5] With the overwhelming majority of expatriates being male, the gender distribution of the region is also skewed, with 67% of the population being males and 33% being females. The overwhelming majority of the local population is Muslim, even as the expatriates have different national, ethnic and religious backgrounds. [6] The geographic segmentation of the region is very clear, with the population being centred on the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. [7] 

The region is an attractive market for both non healthcare and healthcare products, primarily because of its high per capita income. Automobile companies cater to various segments of the population and are in recent years introducing cars with special features that appeal to women. The region is also a big market for consumer goods, cosmetics and make up. [8] 

The healthcare industry is very active in the region. Enormous expansion is occurring in the number of hospital beds and the supply of specialised medical services. [9] The healthcare market can also be usefully segmented by way of age, sex, income and geography for formulation of marketing plans. [10] 

Assignment 3: Cohort Marketing

Cohort marketing involves marketing to a group of individuals who experience the same important events over the course of the same time period, undergo a succession of roles from childhood to death, and display common characteristics because of accrued knowledge and shared experiences. [11] 

The UAE has some unique demographic characteristics with regard to its composition of local and expatriate inhabitants. Approximately 78 % of its inhabitants come from different parts of the world. These expatriates are likely to be dissimilar in education, nationality, cultural and social background and education. It is thus unlikely for them to have experienced similar events over a long period of time. Marketers must thus realise that the expatriates in the UAE, who do constitute the majority of the population and also represent a significant market for healthcare providers, are unlikely to display cohort characteristics.

Cohorts can thus be identified only for the local UAE population. The UAE was formed in 1971 and is thus approximately four decades old. [12] A cohort can be identified for people who were born after this year. The region has in this period witnessed its development from an impoverished Islamic desert state to a modern society with a high standard of living. [13] The characteristics and consumer behaviour of members of this population can be expected to be similar to some extent. Much of the population is centred on Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which have over the last two decades developed into ultra modern places for purposes of residence, work and entertainment.

The local population of Dubai, whilst modern, will however show very different features from US customers, and will be in accordance with regional national characteristics. Their expected reactions to different types of stimuli, drawn from an analysis of Hofstede’s description of people from the region, are detailed below (Hofstede, 2001, UAE).

Service/

Promptness

MD Personality

Staff

Office

Environment

Quality Care

Means

Reaction

to Prognosis

Approach to Promote

Expect swift service

Important to have well known and supportive MD

Should be Respectful

Luxurious

Good equipment

Acceptance/Second opinion

Communication

Assignment 4: Branding Strategies

The development of strong brands is very important in modern day marketing. Brands enable organisations to identify and differentiate their goods or services with the help of unique names, terms, signs, symbols or designs or combinations of such things. [14] Commercial organisations can use branding to deliver clear messages, confirm organisational credibility, emotionally connect target prospects, motivate buyer, and concretising user loyalty. [15] 

Branding can be done through the adoption of different strategies, including multi-product, multi-brand, reseller and mixed strategies. Multi-product branding occurs when organisations use only one brand name for different types of products and services. [16] Hospitals make frequent use of multiproduct branding, where outpatient treatment, pharmacies and even in-house cafeterias provide their services under the same brand name. Medcare hospital in Dubai provides a range of services under its own brand name. [17] Such branding can on occasion prove to be dangerous if some of the services offered under the same brand name suffer from inadequacies and are perceived to be inferior. [18] 

Multi-branding comes about when organisations provide different names to different products and services. AMN Healthcare, one of the largest US healthcare institutions operates a range of brands and companies, all under the umbrella of the main company. [19] In the UAE, the SEHA hospitals group operates different hospitals with different brand names like the Al Mafraq Hospital, the Tawam Hospital, the Corniche Hospital, and others. [20] 

Reseller strategies in branding occur when organisations sell their products under the names of other companies. Such situations arise when organisations with strong brands need to provide products or services that are beyond their own capabilities. The Dubai Healthcare City provides an umbrella of services, some of which are provided by other organisations in the name of the city itself. [21] Some spas ask external experts to provide services for yoga or physical fitness on behalf of their institution.

Mixed strategies take place when individuals or organisations market their products under their own brand names as well as those of their resellers. Yoga experts, chiropractors and even dentists and physicians can provide services on behalf of institutions as well as in their own names and thus engage in mixed branding strategies.

Word Count: 1350

Word Count is exceeded because Assignment 1 specifically requires references to 8 different types of market segments and cannot be accommodated in 250 words. All other sections are within limits.

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