Chennaiite tells about proper marketing in health sector

Chennai: “In the field of health, marketing and advertising are seen as ‘bad words’. But if we understand the real ethical value of branding and marketing that can help promote good health as such, then in all the ways it can be used widely for the betterment of the sector,” says the managing director Mohammed Ilias of BCC Healthcare.

When it comes to marketing strategies, health sector is one of the sensible professions where it has to be handled with care and following ethics in branding is one major thing that every marketing agencies has to adopt.

In an interview to News Today, Ilias talks about how ethically the health campaigns can be promoted and how effective they are.



Ilias says,”We cannot neglect health advertising getting used in wrong way. But if this is taken in the right direction through awareness campaigns, we can achieve great success in enlightening people. The biggest expense that takes the government to spread health awareness is ‘to communicate’ and spread the message. With proper marketing strategy this can be achieved successfully within a short budget.”

He recalls,”One best example is famous, Pulli Raja-ku AIDS Varuma – the campaign that created awareness among the people throughout the country about the killer disease, AIDS.”


He points,”Cause-based marketing approach is always advisable. For example, if there is a heart care campaign, the cause should be associated with heart ailments that people are not aware about. Despite the Angioplasty, we have a number of effective treatments in low cost even in government hospitals. This can be taken to people only through cause-based strategy. If there is any fever outbreaks, immediately, marketing should take over health sector to save people.”


“Basically, fear is the one strategy that the advertising companies use to grab people’s attention. Because, when it comes to health, fear is obvious and they cannot go too much away. The pain factor must be shown. But in what way they promote is important. A change in the perception of advertisers is important. Instead of sickness campaign, they can do wellness campaign. They can show how to approach the ill conditions in a positive way,” Ilias explains.

BCC did a nutritional health programme along with Apollo Hospitals. In this, more than concentrating on showing some sad faces of children who do intake proper food, we opted to promote best nutritious food. To make it more lively, we conducted innovative events in malls and other public places – Ilias stated this as one of the wellness campaign examples.


He further says,”Out of ignorance, some doctors involve in getting into advertisements. But it should not be done. Though a very small fraction of doctors are doing this, it should be prohibited. The doctors otherwise can involve themselves in health talks and campaigns.”


“Many hospitals after Apollo are coming up with health campaigns. The recent A-Z campaign by Miot hospital on bone problems, is also a successful one. The campaign can be successful only if it is not organisation-centric. They should adopt the approach that it is ‘for the people’. A good background research about a particular issue is very important,” he mentions.


Ilias informs,”Though we still need a lot of doctors and over a lakh of beds, there is huge scope in India. We are treating a lot of international patients. The medical value travellers have increased than before. Patients from Bangladesh, Africa, Sri Lanka and many more countries are coming in. Particularly, south is one preferrable area for them where the medical value travellers are booming highly.”


“The lifestyle that we are living currently is the major area that must be created awareness. Also, heart issues should be addressed highly, as it has several branches that people yet to know. The awareness about bone problems is also the need of the hour, as many of our work styles are confined to sit in one place and and work. Fertility issue, eye related issues, addressing any ill conditions in the early stage are some other things where awareness has to be created. Other than this, situation based marketing is also important where there are high chances of health outbreaks,” he urges.


Ilias concludes by saying,”For any health advertising content should be written very carefully and only the writers who have strong foundation in health sector should be involved. This is what we do in BCC and we also encourage the doctors of the particular hospital to engage themselves in the campaigns.”

P T Usha