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Health Care's Marketing Crisis!

Posted Sep 16 2009 2:26pm

Whichever side you may be on concerning this issue, the one thing everyone seems to agree on is that 1) there is a system in place that could be better and 2) that "better" system is probably going to cost money. Now how much money and from where it comes from is where the crux of the debate seems to reside. So how could marketing have saved the initial presentation? 

1) Should health care reform have been sold as a solution or a step? What if the reform is not correctly designed? What if the statistics of the future prove the investment of the past to not only be monumental and with long-term consequences but economically ill suited for the task at hand. In other words, in ten years of reform and change, will we be faced with the possibility that we a) spent a trillion dollars on a system that doesn't work. Buyers want to understand the dynamics of the product they are buying. They will take risks, but not if they don't understand the consequences. 

2) What if we do NOTHING? 30 million people are without health care. Of that 30 million , a very high percentage of people are receiving actual health care but for free at hospitals who are required to do so. The hospital cannot eat the expenses of that free service so they must insure against losses (expensive) and push the costs to those WITH health insurance (VERY expensive). So when the pitch to buyers is that "we should all sacrifice a little bit to ensure that everyone receives health care", the assumption is that we don't, but we do and the buyers know that. The real debate should be about the pricing of these free services and how we are collectively paying too much under the current system. Give the buyers the numbers as it relates to their checking accounts! Educated customers are loyal customers. 

3) Would the debate be a bit more clear with improved marketing? Let's face facts, if we were grading the Executive and Legislative branch on communication on this topic we would be grading at least as low as a "D". The sales presentation in January was that politics as usual would be over. It would clearly be unfair judge too harshly the presidents ambition versus the reality of the environment. Most presidents come to office saying the same exact thing. Once in Washington "all bets are off" as they say. It's the Washington way or the highway. To hear Senators and Congressmen claim to be "proactive" and "forward thinking" on any subject after three or four decade in office is questionable at the very least. The administration made the "if you build it, they will come" mistake and is paying for it. Rule Number One- Achieve BUY IN with your prospects! The presentation to the buyer was ignored altogether. The proposed bill, at 1000 plus pages should have been released as a two-page outline with presentation charts showing "with reform, without reform" financial explanations. 

4) To win, you must win the majority. Why was the majority ignored when the presentation of the proposed reform took place. In selling any product, marketers know that it's important to connect the product to the prospect. There are 270 million prospects that need to be sold on the product. Yet, the presentation on a one trillion dollar sale was pretty simply "We have to do it or we will be screwed later!" Now that may be true but most people are going to need a bit more shmoozing than that on a trillion dollar buy. The presentation went from "WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING" directly to "THIS IS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO" in roughly two weeks. Then the message was "Get on board now because we have to pass it by August!" As consumers, the country had not even had a chance to fully understand the product before it was told it was buying it at a trillion dollar price tag. Billy Mays, Rest In Peace.


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