Case Study Mid Term: International Marketing Research at the Mayo Clinic Minashki Sinanan Summary The Mayo Clinic is a well-known health care provider that treats international and domestic, upper class society. An example of their consumer base is the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who was seen at the Rochester clinic in New York. Founded almost a Century ago by the “Mayo” family, these world renowned physicians travelled the world comparing notes and surgical approaches as well as adopting international patients, creating an international legacy.
For years this clinic has used word-of-mouth as their main marketing tool to maintain its global standing. Only within the last 20 years has a formal marketing department been established, showing that marketing was never their most critical factor for delivering patients. Mayo Clinic is known for having most accredited standards and has a reputation for groundbreaking and successful treatments for diseases that have gone undiagnosed and untreated and in recent years achieving at a lower cost (Mayo Clinic Website).
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With the entry of their fairly new marketing department, Mayo clinic has implemented internal and external research to gain an international understanding of the global market for healthcare providers and also where they themselves stand. The internal data, that are used to oversee hospitalization rates among patients of different countries, and also, the amount of new patients from various regions, are evaluated quarterly along with research based on customer satisfactions among international patients.
Additional to international patients, the clinic has also assessed Mayo Clinic policyholders through qualitative and quantative primary data. Other primary data was collected through the use of focus groups, including patients and non-patients, of up to six different cities globally, which was used to study their path to a healthcare decision. This research found that these conclusions were correlated by their insurance policies. Many examples were given showing that their marketing department concentrated immensely on Latin America, and more recently, the Middle East.
The performed surveys through different questioners, including mail surveys, along with face-to-face interviews and numerous phone interviews, exclusively to Mayo Clinic policyholders. The face-to-face interviews focused on demographics, preferences, healthcare behavior, the Mayo brand awareness and the significance of Mayo Clinic coverage as a benefit. The phone surveys however focused mainly on brand awareness and the questions were completely differently structured.
The questions were either if they have ever heard of Mayo Clinic, or different interviewees were asked to name the top medical centers in the United States. With these different questions came different answers. Question/ Answer Memo From: Minashki Sinanan (Vice President Marketing) For the Past 20 years many new developments have been made with your marketing department, which has proven to be successful. However, with our new intentions of expanding international for the next five years, we must change our direction and add on further research plans.
In previous data, I have noted that many of the primary data collected were within a limited market sample. The samples that I have seen included Latin America and the Middle East and included majority policyholders that purchases insurance offering Mayo Clinic. Also survey questions were assuming pre awareness of the brand, which results in less accurate data because of the unawareness of the majority surveyed. It is clear that there is a lack of brand awareness associated with healthcare on the whole, and particularly important to us, Mayo Clinic.
As a team we have to now structure ourselves to increase the Mayo Clinic brand recognition. By the obvious answer of market research and data collection we can achieve this goal. We need to focus on our target market’s wants, needs, preferences and behavioral patterns, which in turn helps us increase our market. We will go about this in a variety of steps. The first step is to analyze the secondary data we already have available, as information is the key to successful development for international marketing.
This information required statistical data to help comprehend the targeted market’s inclinations in the healthcare industry and also market information about the media and other ways of getting information delivered to the market for promotional decisions. However we must determine where and who our target market should be. With our level and cost of the clinic it would be safe to conclude a high-income upper social class target population and of course concentrating on the health conscious population, even if this can surpass the income level.
Gathering information from every main country in the world would be amazing, however this is clearly unreal. Research and marketing is highly expensive, thus we must determine countries that we need to concentrate and examine the most, even though we still cater to patients from any part of the world. Our department must research and find the countries with the highest percentage of people willing, and of course, capable of travelling for international medical care. Concentration should stay mainly on Latin America, Canada, Middle East, Europe and Asia, which includes mainly China and Japan.
There will be detailed secondary data needed. Economic and demographics is a good starter. This would include data on the growth and statistics in the healthcare industry, concentration on the stability of the economies and how the economy influences health decision on our targeted market. Demographics include population trends, for example aging and travelling in and out of their host country. Market conditions such as technology availability, including Internet for the targeted market, health awareness, proficiency and expertise of host’s healthcare clinics and travel preference should be detailed collected.
Also a main component of this market research should be trends in insurance coverage. Cultural and Sociological data is also very important research that needs to be conducted. Climate, environmentalism, safety of communities, history of diseases in a local area, eating habits and leisure time all affect insurance coverage which in turn affect Mayo Clinic availability to them. These data are readily available for us by several agencies such as the United Nations and is very easily accessible. Once these trends and demographics are recognized, we will have more understanding of what primary research we would now need.
We cannot aim for every country at once to research; we are still a fairly new department and must focus on one country at a time. It would be wise to also use local researchers that speak the language of the country and knows the culture. This is necessary because of the differences in cultures that can lead to reluctance and or inability to participate or interpret responses if domestic American marketers conduct all surveys. The main overall goal is to get as much information based on culture and history of the country.
We must go about this by random sampling, yet in an unambiguous sample setting. Through this the population would be evenly and equally sampled. We must make sure it is a true random sample and must avoid as much bias as we can. Local health care providers and their accessibility to resources for treating both common and rare diseases in a country vary, thus we must conduct research to find out this information. Qualitative data must be found and used to find out the criteria the population uses to look for in their local healthcare providers and their satisfaction level of these providers.
This primary data will be gathered by mails and email surveys, focus groups, both phone and face-to-face interviews and also first hand observation in clinics and insurance offices. Cultures from the Middle East differ substantially from that of Latin America or Europe, thus these methods of observation will vary depending of customs and norms among countries. When we process this information we can then position our clinics in the best available region. A common example of this is in Asia, particularly Japan. We all know that Sushi, raw fish, is a common cuisine in that area.
Because of this consumption, there is an increase population with stomach cancer and because of this the Japanese specialize mainly in stomach cancer. Therefore a Mayo Clinic in Japan must not follow the trend and focus on treatment and information of the next most popular disease their, once that does not have as much available to their population. Once we have concluded our collected and processed research we can then decide on a best strategy to build awareness and hand in hand increase international sales.