Role of communications in healthcare marketing

Avinandan Mukherjee (College of Business, Clayton State University, Morrow, Georgia, USA)

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing

ISSN: 1750-6123

Article publication date: 2 November 2015



Mukherjee, A. (2015), "Role of communications in healthcare marketing", International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, Vol. 9 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Role of communications in healthcare marketing

Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, Volume 9, Issue 4

Health communication has emerged as a critical strategic component of pharmaceutical and health-care marketing. It encompasses the study and use of integrated communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions concerning health. Health communication links the fields of marketing communication and health care and is increasingly recognized as a necessary element of marketing efforts to improve personal and public health.

The five articles in this journal issue present a wide variety of topics pertaining to health communication. For example, how can data mining techniques be used to model the marketing communication return on investment from various types of promotional spending to market a pharmaceutical drug? How do pharmaceutical company-sponsored disease information Web sites differ from typical direct-to-customer (DTC) drug brand Web sites in terms of consumer responses to marketing communications? Do patents perceive their physicians to be affected by pharmaceutical marketing communications, and if so, how do such perceptions influence their responses to their physicians’ professional advice? How do the communication factors in various social settings at the different relational levels, such as family involvement, influence from friends and peers and consumer-to-consumer interaction, affect a patient’s service value assessment? How do female patients evaluate health-care service quality (HSQ), and how various factors and sub-factors need to be communicated to the female consumer to influence higher perception of HSQ? Answers to questions such as these and more can be found in this issue.

This journal issue begins with a research paper authored by Dominique Haughton, Guangying Hua, Danny Jin, John Lin, Qizhi Wei and Changan Zhang, titled “Optimization of the promotion mix in the health care industry”. This article outlines data mining techniques to model the return on investment from various types of promotional spending to market a drug and then uses the model to draw conclusions on how the pharmaceutical industry might go about allocating marketing expenditures in a more efficient manner, potentially reducing costs to the consumer. The authors concentrate on the problem of optimizing the DTC promotional mix. Indeed, the authors outline the two main phases that are typically included in a media analysis, and after providing details about the synthetic data set used here, they describe and implement each step of the phases in a prototype promotional mix process. Then, the article estimates a structural equation model based on directional links indicated by the directed acyclic graph (DAG). The article makes two main contributions. First, it shows how to undertake a media mix optimization process in the pharmaceutical context and carry it through from the beginning to the end. Second, it suggests using DAGs to unravel the direct and indirect effects of various marketing media on sales volume. This paper has proposed a road map that should be helpful to researchers and practitioners involved in pharmaceutical promotion or generally media mix modeling.

The second article of this issue is a paper by Jisu Hah and Wonsun Shin entitled “Consumer responses to pharmaceutical-company-sponsored disease information websites and DTC branded websites”. This paper explores consumer’s perceptual and attitudinal responses to pharmaceutical company-sponsored disease information Web sites, in comparison to typical DTC drug brand Web sites with clear advertiser identification. The findings suggest that not all online health information sources are valued equally and the distinction between the advertising (conventional ads) versus non-advertising (advertorial) type is important for consumers’ evaluation. The research indicates that advertorials are more effective than conventional ads regardless of the product and media type. The authors use the “persuasion knowledge model (PKM)” to explain the structure and interaction of consumers’ and marketers’ knowledge about marketers’ persuasion tactics and effects of such knowledge on persuasion outcomes. Finally, the authors hypothesize and test three possibilities to examine the consumer’s perceptual and attitudinal responses to company-sponsored disease information Web sites versus DTC drug brand Web sites. The findings from this study provide preliminary insights into problems caused by potentially misleading online pharmaceutical Web sites.

The third selection for this issue is a research paper by Mei-Ling Wei and Marjorie Delbaere which discusses whether consumers perceive their doctors to be influenced by pharmaceutical marketing communications. Titled “Do consumers perceive their doctors as influenced by pharmaceutical marketing communications? A persuasion knowledge perspective”, this article explores how consumers might in turn deal with their doctors’ advice. To answer these questions, this paper applies the theory of persuasion knowledge from consumer research. Research reveals that consumers can become more resistant to perceived persuasion attempts when persuasion knowledge is activated. The authors conducted three studies. The purpose of Study 1 was to explore whether consumers perceive their health-care providers as subject to influence by marketing agents and whether this perception would have an impact on their brand evaluation. The goal of Study 2 was to investigate how consumers might deal with their doctor’s advice when persuasion attempts are perceived to be at work. Because the generalizability of the results from the first two studies is limited, Study 3 uses a North American online panel to recruit general consumers as research participants. This research sheds significant new light into the comprehensive interactive nature of pharmaceutical marketing communication.

The fourth paper entitled “The layers of relational communication in evaluating services” is authored by Doo Syen Kang and Sung Pom Choy. The study has two main objectives: first, to gain deeper insights into customers’ communicative behaviors in processing information and further shaping evaluation and second, to identify who plays an important role in customers’ judgment of value. The research outlines the significance of understanding how social relationships are effective in creating satisfied health-care customers who will be loyal, spread positive word of mouth (WOM) and recommend services to others. The information gained through communicative interaction with others will help patients form and enhance their behavioral responses. The authors hypothesize the mediating role of opinion leadership in the relationship between interaction with others and perceived value. The data for this article are collected through a self-administered survey at a cancer center in South Korea. The results of this research are conductive to planning and executing public relation strategies throughout the pre- and post-purchase process. A contribution of the study is the formation of a theory-based model that integrates the various communicative elements at the different relational levels, such as family involvement, influence from friends and peers and consumer-to-consumer interaction, in explaining what affects a patient’s perceived service value.

Last, but not the least, is the article titled “Healthcare service quality: what really matters to the female patients?” and authored by Ingy Shafei, Jan Walburg and Ahmed Taher. The purpose of this research is to develop a comprehensive model encompassing HSQ constructs and sub-constructs of value to female patients who have experienced a successful childbirth in Egypt. Based on a thorough literature review, the authors determine that HSQ is composed of two main parts: “quality as perceived by the consumer” and “quality in fact”. In this research, a new comprehensive model for HSQ is proposed and examined for health care using dimensions identified for the original SERVQUAL scale and other health-care dimensions identified by other researchers. The results of this survey-based research apply not only to the Egyptian context but also beyond, as all the dimensions and sub-dimensions of HSQ refer to the level of health-care service with all its aspects.

Overall, the articles in this journal issue report new research findings about a variety of contemporary topics on health communication, ranging from pharmaceutical promotions to HSQ communications. I hope you will find these articles intellectually stimulating and insightful, which will guide future research in this area.


We acknowledge, with special thanks, selected IJPHM reviewers who have reviewed manuscripts for the journal during 2007-2015:

Jayesh P. Aagja, Nirma University, India.

Ty Abernathy, Mississippi State University, USA.

Carolyn Adams-Price, Mississippi State University, USA.

Zafer Agdelen, Girne American University, Turkey.

Mona Al-Amin, Suffolk University, USA.

Bander A. Al-Aqeel, University of Scranton, USA.

Mohamad Aljofan, Monash University, Australia.

Fadi M. Alkhateeb, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, USA.

Helena Alves, University of Beira Interior, Portugal.

Syed Saad Andaleeb, Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Reinhard Angelmar, INSEAD University, France.

Sandhya Anvekar, M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Management, India.

Nicholas Ashill, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Amod Athavale, University of Mississippi, USA.

Muhammad Usman Awan, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.

Daniela Azêdo, University Hospitals of Coimbra, Portugal.

Madhupa bakshi, NSHM college of management and technology, India.

Jennifer Ball, University of Minnesota, USA.

Subir Bandyopadhyay, Indiana University Northwest, USA.

Adam Barak, United BioSource Corporation, UK.

Rian Beise-Zee, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand.

John Bentley, The University of Mississippi, USA.

J.P. Benya, Columbia University, USA.

Kai N. Bergner, GFK SE, Germany.

Nilesh Bhutada, California Northstate College of Pharmacy, USA.

Sonja Bidmon, Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt, Austria.

Davide Bolchini, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, USA.

Flávio Brambilla, The Federal University of Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil.

Anand Byram, Pondicherry University, India.

Roger Calantone, Michigan State University, USA.

Nuno Camacho, Erasmus School of Economics, The Netherlands.

Norman V. Carroll, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.

Janet Carruthers, Victoria University, New Zealand.

Franklin Carter, Penn State University, USA.

Ella Cartier, Howard University, USA.

Erin Cavusgil, University of Michigan, USA.

Ashish Chandra, University of Houston – Clear Lake, USA.

Hardeep Chahal, University of Jammu, India.

Enchi Chang, Perfect Translation & Compunet, UK.

Patrali Chatterjee, Montclair State University, USA.

Junsong Chen, China Europe International Business School, China.

Andrew Ching, University of Toronto, Canada.

Christina Chung, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA.

Christopher Clark, Macquarie University, Australia.

Gerry Cleaves, Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA.

Lanier D. Clinton, University of St. Thomas, USA.

Julie Coe, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.

Alberto Coustasse, Marshall University, USA.

Marlon Dalmoro, The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Madhurima deb, IIM kashipur, India.

Denise E. DeLorme, University of Central Florida, USA.

Asoke Dey, The University of Akron, USA.

Roger Durand, University of Houston – Clear Lake, USA.

Ike Ekeledo, Montclair State University, USA.

Christine Ennew, Nottingham University, UK.

Burcu Toker Ersöz, Girne American University, North Cyprus.

Beth Ann Fiedler, University of Central Florida, USA.

Zach Finney, University of South Alabama, USA.

Neil Foshay, St Francis Xavier University, Canada.

Marianna Fotaki, Manchester Business School, UK.

Scott Friend, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA.

Daniel Friesner, North Dakota State University, USA.

Liz Gill, University of Sydney, Australia.

Bhimrao Ghodeswar, National Institute of Industrial Engineering, India.

Mario Giraldo, Universidad del Norte, Colombia.

Ronald Goldsmith, Florida State University, USA.

Fusun Gonul, Slippery Rock University, USA.

Stephen J. Gould, Baruch College, CUNY, USA.

Margaret J. Greene, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA.

Deborah Gritzmacher, Clayton State University, USA.

Muhiuddin Haider, University of Maryland, USA.

John Hamilton, James Cook University, Australia.

Mahmud Hassan, Rutgers University, USA.

Angela Hausman, Xavier University, USA.

John Haza, Victoria University, UK.

Peter Hilsenrath, University of the Pacific, USA.

Anurag Hingorani, UTS, Sydney, Australia.

Gillian Hogg, Strathclyde Business School, UK.

David Holdford, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.

Karen Hood, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA.

Robbie ho, Hong Kong medical marketing, Hong Kong.

Bashir Huassain, North South University, Bangladesh.

Jisu Huh, University of Minnesota, USA.

Bruce A. Huhmann, New Mexico State University, USA.

Mehdi Hussain, University of New South Wales, Australia.

Kathleen Iacocca, University of Scranton, USA.

Sharan Jagpal, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey, USA.

Abhinandan Jain, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India.

Anand Jaiswal, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India.

Thani Jambulingam, St. Joseph’s University, USA.

C. Jayachandran, Montclair State University, USA.

Robert Jecklin, University of Wisconsin-la Crosse, USA.

Per Jenster, China Europe International Business School, China.

Jill Jesson, Aston Business School, UK.

Joby John, Bentley College, USA.

G.K. Kalyanaram, GK Associates, New York, USA.

Gregory Katz-Benichou, ESSEC, France.

Mark J. Kay, Montclair State University, USA.

Hyojin Kim, University of Florida, USA.

E.M. Mick Kolassa, Medical Marketing Economics (MME), LLC., USA.

Dennis Kopf, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, USA.

Archana Kumar, Montclair State University, USA.

Wagner Junior Ladeira, The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Clinton Lanier, University of St. Thomas, USA.

Chunsik Lee, University of Florida, USA.

Sooyeon Nikki Lee-Wingate, Fairfield University, USA.

Yun Jung Lee, Aldelphi University, USA.

Ana Lenggana, Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia.

Yam Limbu, Montclair State University, USA.

Joerg Lindenmeier, University of Freiburg, Germany.

Amanda Mabry, University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Wendy Macias, Texas Christian University, USA.

Michael Mackert, University of Texas, USA.

Alisson Eduardo Maehler, The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Mary K Madsen, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, USA.

Neeru Malhotra, Aston Business School, UK.

Kimball P. Marshall, Alcorn State University, USA.

Maysoun Dimachkie Masri, University of Central Florida, USA.

John McGinnis, Montclair State University, USA.

Yahia Zare Mehrjerdi, Yazd University, Iran.

Ram Misra, Montclair State University, USA.

Santanu Mitra, Montclair State University, USA.

Mariko Morimoto, Emerson College, USA.

Rahul Mukherjee, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India.

Srabanti Mukherjee, IIT Kharagpur, India.

Hiroshi Nakamura, Keio Business School, Japan.

Sushmita A. Narayana, Indian Institute of Management, India.

Vivek Natarajan, Lamar University, USA.

Prithwiraj Nath, University of East Anglia, UK.

Anthony Ndiege, Montclair State University, USA.

Jack Newhouse, Saint Joseph’s University, USA.

Prathap Oburai, IIM Ahmedabad, India.

Ahmet “Ozzie” Ozturk, Marshall University School of Medicine, USA.

David P. Paul III, Monmouth University, USA.

Vivek Pande, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, USA.

Jason Perepelkin, University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Kevin Plum, University of Alabama, USA.

Pia eva Polsa, Hanken School of Economics, Finland.

Mary Beth Pinto, Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Manuel Pontes, Rowan University, USA.

Luis san Vicente Portes, Montclair State University, USA.

Vandana Prajapati, Maharshi Dayanand University, India.

C.V. Priporas, University Macedonia, Greece.

Samuel Rabino, Northeastern University, USA.

P.S. Raju, University of Louisville, USA.

P.M. Rao, Long Island University, USA.

Bill Roach, Washburn University, USA.

Michel Rod, Carleton University, Canada.

R. Rohini, Institute of Clinical Research, India.

Brent Rollins, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, USA.

Warren Salmon, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.

Marydol Santarriaga, University of Colima, Mexico.

Maria Santos Corrada, Univeridad del Turabo, Puerto Rico.

Shamindra N. Sanyal, Institute of Engineering & Management, India.

Nilgun Sarp, Ankara University, Turkey.

Paul Scipione, State University of New York, Geneseo, USA.

Dennis J. Scotti, Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA.

Kabir C. Sen, Lamar University, USA.

G. Shainesh, IIM Bangalore, India.

Mansour Sharifzadeh, Cal Poly Pomona, USA.

Kim Bartel Sheehan, The University of Oregon, USA.

George P. Sillup, Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, USA.

Julie Z. Sneath, University of South Alabama, USA.

Daniel Simonet, American University of Sharjah, UAE.

Rakesh Singh, Institute of Management Technology, India.

Ramendra Singh, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, India.

Hermann Sintim, Montclair State University, USA.

Eugene Sivadas, University of Washington, Tacoma, USA.

Mickey Skiba, Monmouth University, USA.

Sinem Somunoglu, Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Turkey.

Surasak Soonthorn, Sirindhorn College of Public Health, Thailand.

Deborah Spake, University of South Alabama, USA.

Leigh Sparks, University of Stirling, UK.

Han Srinivasan, University of Connecticut, USA.

George Stone, North Carolina A&T State University, USA.

Michael Stros, Aston University, UK.

Bill Stroube, University of Evansville, USA.

Elnora Stuart, University of South Carolina Upstate, USA.

Ling Su, Ji’nan University, China.

Dilaver Tengilimoglu, Gazi University, Turkey.

Ralf Terlutter, Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt, Austria.

Norman Tessell, Norman Tessell and Associates, LLC, Pennsylvania, USA.

Omer Topaloglu, Texas Tech University, USA.

Bill Trombetta, Saint Joseph’s University, USA.

Demetrios Vakratsa, McGill University, Canada.

Isaac Wanasika, University of Northern Colorado, USA.

Alex Wang, University of Connecticut-Stamford, USA.

Yawei Wang, Montclair State University, USA.

Hong Wei He, University of East Anglia, UK.

Daniel West, University of Scranton, USA.

Sue Weston, Montclair State University, USA.

Anthony White, KSU, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Jennifer A. Whitty, Griffith University, Australia.

Ying Xie, Washington University in St Louis, USA.

Bing Xu, California State University Dominguez Hills, USA.

Yajiong Xue, East Carolina University, USA.

Venkata Yanamandram, University of Wollongong, Australia.

Frank Zach, Washburn University, USA.

Yanli Zhang, Montclair State University, USA.

Willi Zimmermann, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand.

Judy Zolkiewski, Manchester Business School, UK.

Nashat Zuraikat, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA.

Avinandan Mukherjee, Editor

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