Marketing Strategy Flaws: #1 PUSH vs. PULL Marketing

| August 28, 2010


Why are so many destinations adopting an insurance-centric market penetration strategy? It’s because they do not understand the dynamics of the U.S. healthcare landscape and the significant flaws in this approach:

  1. It requires a “PUSH” marketing strategy in a “PULL” market
  2. It omits significantly large consumer markets (up to 30% of the total U.S. healthcare demands)
  3. It forces destinations into a low-cost pricing model
  4. It requires significant upfront cost, including JCI certification
  5. At best, it is a “shotgun” marketing approach

Today’s post is the first of a five part series, focusing on the “Pull” nature of the U.S. healthcare industry.

Marketing 101

Push vs. Pull marketing.  In a simplified form, in a “PUSH” model, the seller (in this case the destination facility) communicates with the consumer indirectly, in hopes that the intermediary will communicate the message to the consumer and thus create or “Push” demand for the product down the supply chain.

Conversely, in a “PULL” model, the seller communicates directly with the consumer in an attempt to get them to request the product and “Pull” demand through the supply chain.

Insurance-Centric Strategies

In  an insurance-centric strategy, destinations are attempting to secure insurance contracts in hopes they will “Push” the product to the consumer, thus converting patients. However, the U.S. healthcare system doesn’t work this way.  Ultimately, it is the U.S. consumer who selects their healthcare provider and has all the power. It is a “Pull” market.

In other words, if the U.S. consumer is unaware of the brand strength of the product (in this case the healtchare provider), they will not select them, regardless of the insurance company’s offering. It is that simple. More than ever, consumers are demanding new tools to enable them to make important healthcare decisions. More than ever, the U.S. healtchare system is a “PULL” market.


Adopt a “PULL” strategy with direct-to-consumer marketing.  You need only to watch one hour of U.S. television to prove this point as the viewer is literally bombarded with pharmaceutical companies directly marketing their products. They get it; direct-to-consumer marketing works, and they are reaping the financial benefits. From Viagra, to Lipitor, to Tylenol, patients now go to the doctor not only with symptoms but also the drug cure. Likewise, we need to present our brand to the U.S. consumers so they will go to their doctors and insurance companies demanding our global healthcare services.

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Category: Marketing/Branding Strategy

About Marc LeShay: I am a strategic consultant helping people find clarity in chaos View author profile.

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