Many people assume that marketing is just about advertising or selling, but this is not entirely true. Marketing is a management discipline and is based on thinking about the business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the professional body for marketers in the UK defines marketing as:
“The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”
The CIM definition looks at not only identifying customer needs (through research, customer and market insights), but also anticipating them in the future (long-term retention) and satisfying them profitably to ensure the business is financially sound whether your business is for or not-for profit.
The definition recognises the importance of establishing a process for marketing, with marketing having clear objectives and outcomes.
Marketing therefore is essential to business performance, because it helps you to understand the competitive marketplace and identify opportunities to tap into, understand key trends to help you reach your customers with the right product or service at the right price, place and time.
Marketing social care
When it comes to marketing social care, there are often mixed views. Some believe that social care should not be marketed, whilst others believe it requires the same degree of attention of the marketing principles.
As a chartered marketer, my personal and professional view is that social care businesses must embrace marketing as an integral part of their business management process.
The current social care crisis is impacting many operators within the sector. Only a few weeks ago we read once again of the record numbers of residential care businesses entering insolvency.
Funding constraints and increased costs mean social care providers are under increased pressure to secure their income streams. Those who had previously depended on local authority funding or block contracts now realise that it is no longer a viable option, but that they must have more than one income stream in order to remain financially viable.
The personalisation agenda has also brought about a major shift in the way some social care providers approach business development and service delivery, significantly changing market trends of some services.
People are living longer and what they want and expect from social care provision is very different to how things were done years ago. The growth of the private social care market means that providers need to be more astute in how they market themselves.
Social care providers may have ‘unconsciously’ marketed their services previously however, businesses must start thinking more strategically to have any chance of withstanding the competition and the challenges ahead.
Edna Petzen is director and marketing consultant at Lynden Consulting, a specialist marketing and communications company to the adult social care sector. We work with private, public and not-for-profit operators of retirement communities, extra care housing, residential and nursing care, home care, day care and providers of specialist provision for adults and older people. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.