Could “Politics” be a 5th P in Women’s Healthcare Marketing?

For healthcare marketers promoting the use of contraception like birth control pills, implants, and patches, some of the “4 P’s of marketing” are already decided. For example, for women with insurance, the “Price” P is set: under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) birth control is free (no copay) for nearly everyone. Additionally, many programs, through organizations like Planned Parenthood or specific health departments, like the programs run through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, help uninsured women receive free birth control.

Additionally, the “Place” P is generally set as well. Birth control is available only by prescription, and needs to be acquired from a pharmacy or family planning center.

Product and Promotion are more varied. Regarding product, there are multiple types of birth control that can be promoted, and different non-tangible angles to take, from selling better health to an easier life.  The ways these different products can be promoted vary widely too, from catchy campaigns to direct work with communities.

It can’t be ignored, however, that birth control is increasingly politicized. Many aspects are threatened, from the organizations that provide it (like Planned Parenthood) to the ACA laws that make it free to the simple ability to access it with relative ease. Thus, marketers focused on this particular issue must often contend with what might be thought of as a 5th P, “Politics.” How will changing leaders, political climates and laws effect how birth control can and will be marketed? How should healthcare communicators deal with such changes?

On a national level, there haven’t been any large changes that have significantly limited access to birth control for the majority of women, however, there have certainly been actions that have been limiting to some. Healthcare marketers dealing with these issues should continue to educate women about their options through these changes. Additionally, for public health professionals frustrated by these changes, advocacy becomes increasingly important, to try prevent such changes from happening.

While its impossible to know what the future holds in women’s health, or any area of public health, marketings will likely have to consider the changing environments their campaigns take place in, and message accordingly.

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