Time for a Checkup?
2014 is bringing a lot of changes to the health care market. Not only are insurance providers competing at the consumer level now, but employers, state and federal agencies have to educate people on the options available to them. If that doesn't scream "marketing opportunity," we don't know what does.
Do these new opportunities have you interested in selling to the health care market for the first time? Check out what industry experts have to say about selling to hospitals, medical centers and other wellness companies below.
WHAT'S SO GOOD ABOUT IT?
Besides the obvious answer of "there's money there," it's always nice if a particular market has other positives to selling into it. Thankfully, the health care market happens to be one of those.
"My favorite thing [about the health and wellness market] is that often times you are creating a positive experience for a patient or building awareness for a great cause," said Bradley Ellis, marketing manager for Via! for Travel and More, Corona, Calif. "It's a good feeling to be to be a part of that. Our particular products create a positive patient experience while the patient is being treated at a hospital or medical center," he said. "Knowing that our patient bedside kits or small comfort items, such as our eye shade masks, are making their visit a little more comfortable is awesome.
Chris Flynn, national sales manager for Fields Manufacturing/Better Life Line, St. Cloud, Minn., expanded on Ellis' idea of helpful products. Besides some products having helpful attributes themselves (sun care items, etc.), the messaging on the items is also something that can have a positive impact on the world. "My favorite aspect of selling health and wellness products is knowing that some of the messaging is truly going to help people and make a positive impact," said Flynn. "These products are not just useful advertising pieces; they are useful tools promoting a healthier lifestyle or [bringing] awareness to a cause."
WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW GOING INTO IT?
Obviously, the biggest thing you should know going into the health and wellness market is that, because of the Affordable Care Act, the health care marketplace has seen a surge in competition. "Right now we are going through a lot of changes in the health care and wellness market," said Ellis. "The new changes are starting to create a much more competitive environment. Hospitals, insurance providers, wellness clinics, medical centers, etc. will be looking at new or unique ways to market their services or care within the community. Promotional products can certainly achieve that goal."
Aside from the growth in the marketplace, the biggest detail you should be aware of is how important it is that you know the products you're selling. "It is not about price, it should be about quality products that work and that are a reflection of your client's brand," said Rick A. Carlson, vice president of promotional products for Aloe Up Sun & Skin Care, Eden Prairie, Minn. "What you put in your mouth and on your skin is important to people."
Courtney Duncan, national sales and marketing coordinator for Leashables by OraLabs Inc., Parker, Colo., agreed. "It's important for both the supplier and the distributor to be very knowledgeable and careful about product safety and quality," she said. "Take an industry class, do some research, and ask around!"
WHAT'S SOMETHING TO WATCH OUT FOR?
No market is without its pitfalls, even the health and wellness market. Not famous for its efficiency, the health care market can sometimes become bogged down in bureaucracy. "One of the hardest things I hear from our distributor partners is finding the decision maker and the length of time it takes get the project in production," said Ellis. "Oftentimes, especially with hospitals, many decisions have to run through a lot of people before a PO can be generated. You have to be persistent. I have seen projects take up to a year until we received a PO. The time and energy can certainly pay off in the long run."