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Taking the pulse of medical services marketing

Published on Thursday, 26 Jul 2012
Keyne Cheung
Photo: Dickson Lee

Medical services in Hong Kong, especially in the private sector, have become more sophisticated than ever as the city tries to establish itself as a top destination for medical tourism.

Marketers in medical services must think outside the box and follow market trends closely in order to secure their share of the market.

Keyne Cheung, an assistant marketing manager from Raffles Medical Group, spends every morning surfing the internet and reading various publications to see the new packages and services offered by competitors. She also regularly visits clients to look for feedback and suggestions.

“Keeping yourself informed is a key part of a marketing staff member’s job,” Cheung says. “I analyse and evaluate current market information, see the company’s market position and segments, and identify its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats [SWOT] before setting up marketing plans and activities, in order to build up the company’s brand and reputation.

“Allocating the marketing budget appropriately to maximise its effect and exploring potential new markets are also parts of my duty.”

Cheung also pays close attention to regulations issued by the Medical Council of Hong Kong, to ensure the company follows the rules when rolling out marketing plans.

Since medical services is a highly specialised industry, marketers have to acquire some industry knowledge to be effective on the job. “When I first started, I was given an orientation at clinic operations to learn the working procedures of medical staff, and at the billings and claims clinical operations to see how the front desk works. I also had to learn basic medical terminology. It is important to understand the basic flow of the above to have a better idea of your colleagues’ job natures. This avoids miscommunication and over or underselling of services,” says Cheung.

Like all marketing jobs, medical marketers must be outgoing and creative. “You need excellent networking skills to expand your client base and establish a good and personal relationship with clients. The relationship we have with clients is long term, as the demand for medical services will be there year after year. You need to think ahead and establish long-lasting relations with clients. You also have to come up with gimmicks for the promotion of services,” says Cheung.

The workload can be heavy and staff must be independent and self-motivated. “Basically we work five days a week but we have to be prepared to answer enquires from clients at all times. We also need to attend networking events at night or during weekends to enhance our client base,” she says.

Newcomers can expect around HK$10,000 to HK$12,000 per month. A degree or diploma in sales-and-marketing-related disciplines, plus working experience in the medical industry, is a distinct advantage.

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