The four P’s of marketing includes product, place, price and promotion. These mechanisms are usually referred to as the marketing mix (McCarthy and Perrault 1999). The four P’s serves as elements that ought to target segments, to be able to maximize the client’s satisfaction. The four P’s were broad and encompassing elements that were combined to create effective and satisfactory results. The applicability of the four P’s of marketing in the realm of healthcare would be the focus of this essay. The essay would start with a clarification and definition of the four P’s.
The four P’s will also be explained in terms of its relation to healthcare system. The essay would argue that the four P’s of marketing is not a suitable marketing mix or strategy for healthcare system due to its limitation and due to other factors that is present in healthcare. In detail, product includes objects or services offered by a specific firm. In the context of health care, these encompass the medications, treatments and administration of products and services offered and provided by the hospital or healthcare clinic. Products and services are usually compared by customers depending to their needs and preferences.
The same mechanism is involved in the patient’s choice of product and services such as hospitals, doctors and medications (Stahl, 2003). In terms of place, it corresponds to the ‘distribution and availability’ of a particular product to the customer. In relation to healthcare, this refers to the location of the hospital or clinic or the availability of services such as ambulances and laboratories. For ambulance to be of better service, they are commonly placed near the highways, to make them accessible in case of accidents (Stahl, 2003).
Promotion deals with endorsing, supporting and advertising the product or service that a firm provides r specializes. In general, promotion is the method of providing information to customers or possible customers to increase their interest regarding the products and services (Stahl, 2003). The most frequent form of promotion is through the use of mass media. It helps inform a larger number of people regarding specific brands of products. This is useful in healthcare since more people are encouraged to ask their doctors about specific brands (Stahl, 2003).
The last component of the four P’s mix is the price. This is simply the amount of money that has to be paid in return for the products or services acquired. In healthcare scenarios price includes the payment for doctors and medications provided by a certain health facility. Price is complexly determined by four variables which include the ability of a patient to pay, the actual cost of products and services, the competition involved, and finally ethics (Stahl, 2003). Nevertheless, prices are basically calculated in terms of supply and demand relations.
The social and economics factor that affects the four p’s are not similar with the factors that affects the establishment of price, products, place and promotion in the healthcare system. The healthcare products range from several products and services including, but not limited to, elective and medical emergencies, medical supplies, medicines and nutritional supplements. The services are offered by different types of professionals ranging from general physicians, dentists, gynecologists, psychologists, radiologists, etc.
Each of these services and products has separate billings and/or fees (Cooper, 1994). The patient’s reaction to a specific product or service also varies depending on the person’s prior health status and medications. This complicates the nature of the products and services since it cannot be objectified to include all patients in general. The choice of services and products, in healthcare systems, is not solely based to the patient’s preference, especially in case where health insurance companies and institutions are involved (Rabin and Steinhauer, 1988).
The place is not simply seen as availability of the actual product or service but it is seen as the accessibility for such products (Cooper, 1994). Promotion is also limited in terms of marketing since healthcare promotion can include health educations and public relations that deals with the delivery of healthcare products and services (Rabin and Steinhauer, 1988) The discussion above explained the four P’s of marketing in light of healthcare system. As mentioned above, the four P’s can be use as an approach or as a marketing mix strategy however it might fail to take into consideration the complex nature of the healthcare system. Thus, the four P’s of marketing is not suitable for healthcare systems.
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- Stahl, M. J. (2003). Encyclopedia of Health Care Management. California. SAGE.
- Rabin, J. and Steinhauer, M. B. (1988). Handbook on Human Services Administration. New York. Marcel Decker, Inc.