Public relations in healthcare segment

1. Public relations definition

Public relations - a marketing communication method (one component of marketing communication mix) that involves in the use of publicity and other unpaid promotional methods to deliver messages to target audiences.

Public relations is formally defined as " a management process that involves the assessment of customers wants and needs, and the performance of all activities associated with the development, pricing, provision, promotion of product solutions that satisfy those wants and needs.

The reliance of public relations on unpaid promotion methods positions it uniquely among components of marketing communication mix, as the others require direct expenditures to achieve audience engagement.

2. Public relations in healthcare segment

Public relations traditionally served as the primary method by which healthcare providers informed audiences of available medical services, new technologies offered and so on. It now, is complemented by full range of marketing communication mix, which includes personal selling, sale promotion, direct marketing and perhaps most notably, advertising. However, public relations remains a valuable tool for the promotion of healthcare services.

The typical manner in which healthcare institutions effect public relations is by preparing and forwarding press releases profiling noteworthy matters to news media outlets in hopes that they, in turn, will disseminate given stories to their audiences. The media firms carrying associated stories do not charge a fee for such, as the items are deemed to be of interest to their audiences.

While the cost-free aspect of public relations is highly attractive, the downside is that it places healthcare institutions in position of reliance on outside parties-news media organizations to accept and present forwarded stories. This, of course, offers no guarantees of circulation, as the stories can be rejected for any number of reasons, including perceived audience disinterest, limited allotments of space or time for presentation, breaking news stories which crowd out content deemed to be of less importance, and so on. Even if carried, intended stories may not be communicated as desired, as editorial control rests with conveying news media firms.

Regardless of such, especially when used in tandem with other components of the marketing communications mix which do offer guarantees of message dissemination, public relations can provide useful communications utility for healthcare organizations.

Several facets associated with public relations have motivated its continued use in efforts to engage current and prospective patient populations: cost efficiency, high credibility, narrative guidance. Despite compelling motivations for use, public relations as a communicative pathway must be treated carefully, as it possesses several key limitations: transmission uncertainty, content presentation uncertainty, return on investment uncertainty.

By: VSHR Digital Media

Source: NCBI, Sept 2020

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