Economic News – The Hype Versus the Reality

No wonder most people don’t understand the economy. Often what might seem good on one hand, has bad side effects on the other. For example, the stock market rises- one would think that was good! But that was mostly due to the rising price of oil- bad news. But, often the price of oil rises because the “experts” believe the economy is improving and thus more oil will be needed in production- good news! But that rise in oil prices causes the cost of living to increase- bad news. But that helps the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)- good news! But that then causes inflation- bad news. But that inflation means the economy is improving- good news! But then the Fed becomes concerned about inflation and raises interest rates- bad news! Which causes the value of the dollar to improve- good news! But that hurts exports because now American products cost more overseas- bad news! But that means foreign products cost less in the US- good news! But that hurts American companies competitiveness- bad news!If we think that political analysis and political chatter is often more hype than anything else, the same can certainly be said about analyzing economic news! You can readily see why economic news often seems co confusing. Economic news often seems confusing because it is – - what is good for one consumer, might be bad for another- what is good for one company, bad for another- what might be good for one sector of economy- bad for others.The stock market is often the most confusing. On days when there is “bad news,” the market often goes up, while on some “good news” days, the market sometimes goes down! While the Dow, or the S&P, etc., might go up, it does not mean that the stock(s) you own, will follow suit.Too often, for the sake of a sound-byte, the media tries to over-simplify economic news. Yet the economy is by definition quite complex. The one issue there should be some agreement on is that high unemployment is not good. Yet even in that case, the “experts” can’t agree upon, nor act upon a viable solution.The best way to think about the economy is this– the difference between a recession and a depression is that it’s a recession when it happens to someone else– it’s a depression when it happens to you!It is my belief that a healthy economy requires certain factors to be in place – - low joblessness; high consumer confidence; a strong manufacturing sector; and reduced government deficits. That is what we must demand!

Changing Trends in Healthcare Marketing

Healthcare Marketing is continuously evolving. A shift in healthcare marketing strategy is required for the sustained growth and evolution of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. The question however that one is confronted with is – what will be the role of healthcare marketing in the future?Reforms in the healthcare domain won’t be repealed. A lot of adjustments to the legality changes would continue for the many years to come, but an overall revamp of the healthcare reforms is yet to happen. This is the time when majority of the patient populace and families have some or the other form of health insurance. Marketing has a wide role to play in today’s environment than ever before.In the modern age of consumerism, patients have control over their health information i.e. the patient, not the doctor or the hospital; have control over individual patient health information data. This underlines the fact that marketing would play a significant role in the life of healthcare organization beyond the traditional means of communication activities.Marketing of healthcare organizations is not much different from what happens with other organizations. Marketing healthcare organization employs strategies which are in sync with standards practiced across all domains. Newer avenues such as social media, online medical and healthcare marketing will continue to earn revenue and will slowly emerge as dominant players in the healthcare segment. In fact, these alternative means of advertisement will be more integrated, value driven and further strengthen brand value.The New Role of Healthcare MarketingLeadership in MarketingMarketing deals with the essentials of strategy first followed by marketing tactics. Marketing is the means of putting forward the voice of the customers and should not be just a second thought. Every future campaign and program must be market driven and not just a gut feeling. In order to be a leading marketing organization one must possess the skills associated with building an effective customer- driven or market- driven organization.Management of Patient ExperienceHospitals mostly make the mistake of putting their operations in charge of patient experience. The discharge process itself takes 3 to 4 hours. It would be ridiculous to expect them to manage patient experience along with their previous task. Patient experience implies a thorough understanding of what a patient experiences throughout all touch points.Patient experience requires integration across an organization both internally and externally.The Dynamics of Demand ManagementMarketing needs to take into consideration the demand of healthcare services. The demand would need to be managed. This would make sure that the hospital or the healthcare system has the right resources, in the right place, at the right time to fulfill the demand.Having Revenue AccountabilityReturn on Investment (ROI) is extremely important for any marketing practice irrespective of the means i.e. traditionally, socially or online. Marketers need to generate revenue and not consume resources. Marketing should have both Profit and Loss (P&L) statistics as well as a track of Selling, General and Administrative Expenses (SG&A) for all the services being offered by a healthcare organization.Managing the changeOne of the most controversial approaches to managing the marketing role is to look inwards within an organization. Those individuals that look internally at their organizations may not have the necessary skills, training or abilities to bring about a change in the strategies of an organization. Managing the change would require people with skills and understanding keeping in mind the complete functioning of the organization.The future of healthcare management is filled with challenges and opportunities. It is time for a proactive change to take place rather than a reactive one. Time quickly passes by and you don’t want to be left behind.

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