The traditional wisdoms about the benefits of investing in marketing during tough times are proving true once again. Talking to people across the healthcare IT spectrum it’s clear that those who have maintained a high profile with potential customers are doing the best. They are also well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities being brought about by the enormous changes sweeping through the sector. The NHS, and independent providers, have an urgent need for efficient and cost-effective IT. In these circumstances suppliers cannot afford to see good marketing and communications as an option, it’s an essential.
The shift to GP commissioning is a prime example. New organisations are being set up with new IT needs – so which suppliers will they choose? Former PCT staff joining consortia will recommend the names they already know and trust. That could make a huge difference to purchasing decisions for years to come.
However, changing markets also bring new people. Many of those involved in GP consortia may have little knowledge of the kind of IT they need to make wise decisions on the best and most cost-effective patient services to purchase. They need to be informed and educated about the options right now – suppliers who can help should be ensuring that every GP around knows their name and what they do.
Those who don’t invest in intelligent, focused marketing and communications risk a bleak future. NHS budgets are tight and there will be intense competition for every penny. Some suppliers could end up like players who don’t buy properties early in a Monopoly game – finding that with every move they make, someone else has got there first.