Public Service Marketing and the terrible cost of not doing it!

Marketing is not popular in the corridors of Whitehall, it is seen as a waste of money, often confused with advertising and thought of as only relevant to commercial organisations. As a result the management processes of marketing are avoided and never discussed. Programmes and outcomes are defined in technical and economic terms. As a result the citizen is rarely thought of or given a voice.

Commissioners of public sector health and social care services put in place the standards and values of the outcomes they want to achieve. It’s important to understand that the frameworks leaders use to define programmes effect those outcomes directly. Set things up as Information Communication and Technology programmes and you get ICT led outcomes, set things up like Comms and PR and you get those. By being internally focussed and organisationally constrained a commissioner can miss the point.

Public Service Marketing is the management process to avoid such pratfalls , leaders need to listen to the requirements of the citizens, patients and professionals. Then, they should build and test cost effective offers to map to those requirements. In that way the offer/response is understood by the target population. In this way the chances of a successful outcome are great enhanced.

Recent marketing failures in health and social care services mean that we now need a tough conversation about the reintroduction of a set of tools that are designed to create cost effective outcomes. Rather than costing too much money the lack of public service marketing has cost the public, patients and professionals far more.

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