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Economics & Investments

Marketing to the U.S. - Do You Really Know How?

Economics & Investments
The good old U.S.A. is the epitome of capitalism and that's good for the Medical Tourism Industry.  There are no artificial barriers to marketing your facility organization products and services to the U.S. market no government restrictions no monopolies and no trade barriers.  The only hurdles for providers in the industry are surmountable if you know how to get over them that is.  Let's look at a few of the hurdles.

First do you know the U.S. market?  It can be classified into two main sections business and consumer markets.  All other classifications can fit into one of these two markets.  Government for example fits into the business market.  Government entities behave like U.S. corporations and resemble them in many ways.  They have large numbers of employees a hierarchy of management and employ many of the same management techniques as U.S. corporations.  

The fact that most of them are not operated for profit is not important to the Medical Tourism Industry and in fact is an advantage in many respects.  But that's a whole other story&hellip.let's stay on track.Second do you know the target market in the U.S.?  In the business market its corporations and government entities with large numbers of employees to which they have a healthcare obligation.  

But it's also the insurance companies who partner with the corporations and government entities to design package deliver and administer the healthcare programs.  This relationship is important in more ways than one but again that's a whole other story.  In the consumer market the targets are more elusive.  They include but are in no way limited to residents with disposable income people without health insurance people with insufficient health insurance people who travel and people who want to live life to the fullest.  

When you think about it it's very very difficult to penetrate this market.  It's very complex and diversified in both geography and profile.Which leads us the third hurdle.  Do you know the profile of your target market the socio-economic factors that helps you to define who they are?  The common indicators of household income geographic location age gender and financial obligations (mortgage auto loans credit card obligations etc.) only begin to scope the consumer market.  

Likewise the common indicators of revenue headquarters location office locations number of employees healthcare insurance carrier healthcare benefits enrollment percentages executive management board of directors and profitability are only the tip of the iceberg when trying to profile your business market of corporations government entities and insurance companies.  

The key thing to remember here is that all your competitors have the information referenced above you need more in order to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.  How do you get that edge?  Again that's a whole other story.  Keep reading.Fourth do you know their buying habits?  What are the factors that shape their buying decision?  For the business market some obvious factors to note are how the entities carve out money from their operations to reinvest into the business commonly referred to as budgeting.  

Most businesses and government agencies budget annually but some assign budgets over longer periods and some over shorter periods due to the nature of their business.  Knowing the budgeting process and the gatekeepers of the budgets are one of the key pieces of knowledge to aid organizations in marketing to businesses in the U.S.  For the consumer market knowledge of whether their spending habits include non-essentials or luxuries and their appetite for debt are two key pieces of information that will help any marketing effort to this group.  

This article may be oversimplifying the effort needed to overcome this hurdle so I must point out again that these hurdles take considerable effort and some investment to overcome.  A sound disciplined well thought out strategy is essential in order to spend an organization's marketing dollars wisely.Fifth and for the purposes of this article the final hurdle is do you speak your customers' language?  I don't mean this in the literal sense.  What I mean is when you speak will they listen?  

Do you know what their hot buttons are?  Every customer both business and consumer has needs and wants.  They satisfy these needs and wants through a very complex process.  A fair judge of the complexity in my opinion is simple.  Look at how many companies fail.  Look at how few succeed.  Even better look at how few companies succeed over the long haul.  I recently did some work for a client and part of my assignment included reviewing Fortune 100 companies in the U.S. in both 1980 and 2007.  

I was shocked at how many of them failed during that period.  Some popular 1980 companies did not make it to the year 2007 for various reasons.So to wrap up here's my advice.  Make friends with the U.S. market.  Engage a company that has demonstrated success in attracting and retaining corporate and consumer customers for their clients.  Also make sure the company invests in research and development so that they can tell your customers about your product in new ways.

Make sure you look at print advertising Internet marketing customized mail event marketing and person-to-person communication to name a few.  Try to create a relationship with your customer.  Americans only buy from people they know.  Do the 50 million uninsured Americans the executives of the Fortune 100 U.S. Companies the human resource benefits managers at U.S. Companies the risk managers at government agencies and the millions of U.S. employees know who your organization is?  They should.

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