Taking Care of the Future; Marketing and the Care Industry
Whatever the outcome of all the care sector changes there are some certainties; there will be a much stronger consumer voice in the care that is chosen and it will be increasingly funded by individuals and their families. Care provision, in whatever form it is delivered, is often a decision made at a crisis point in a person's life, however it is becoming more common for this decision to be planned ahead by the individual and their family. Therefore, there is a need to engage with people at all stages of their journey - from their initial considerations to their final decisions and this is where marketing will play an important part for companies.
Marketing is changing too. Customer engagement and relationship building are essential for long term business stability and growth, and this includes the care industry. Marketing communications - the way businesses communicate effectively with their future potential customers - has evolved considerably in the last couple of years and continues to do so. Having an Internet presence, usually with a website and often with aspects of social media to complement printed literature, are the basics for most businesses; but as a sector, the care industry lags behind in having these marketing essentials and the knowledge or plans in place to make marketing work for them.
Consideration needs to be given to the demographics of 'look who's looking' for care. The friends and relatives helping service users look for the right care, increasingly use the Internet to search for alternatives; the Internet is the default search medium for most people now (and the younger they are, the more this is the case); people tend to be time-poor and want to look at alternatives efficiently in order to make the next decision in their journey. Initial first impressions and judgements are made when people view your presence on the Internet (or indeed, if you are not there!) and this will impact on long-term business sustainability.
In summary, the changes in the care industry will result in a need for businesses to be more 'marketing aware'. Long term sustainability and profitability will rest with those care companies who can be found on the Internet, project the right image and develop the appropriate communications and relationships with their future customer base, friends and families. Care Home Marketing focuses on businesses in the care industry, using the latest marketing techniques to create a stable future for clients.