What is Shouldice marketing and how is it staying focused?
Unlike physical products, a service cannot be seen, tasted or felt before it is bought. There is always an element of uncertainty and the service seeker looks for evidence of quality. People will draw conclusions from the place, the people, key influencers, communication material and most importantly from people who have already gone through the experience. Therefore the service provider's task is to supply this evidence, to "tangibilize the intangible" [Kotler] Shouldice marketing strategy is one of a kind, in the sense that it is different, which is the secret behind every successful strategy. It's thinking out of the box'. It's sensing a need and fulfilling it in a remarkable manner. Everything we have studied in the past classes seems to be embodied in the strategy of Shouldice hospital from experiential marketing, brand loyalty, providing a memorable experience, the importance of good word of mouth advertising, to focus and using one's competitive advantage to such an extent that although people might try to copy it, there are slim chances of them getting it right. Shouldice hospital is marketing a well-developed, focused service delivery system, it is providing an experience.
Dr. Earle Shouldice who founded the hospital started this operation from an idea and then developed the idea further by dedication and passion, he operated on men who wanted to be soldiers but were denied because they needed hernia treatment, during the war in 1940, hospital space and doctors were scarce, especially for this non-emergency surgery that normally took three weeks of hospitalization. Dr. Shouldice stepped in and operated without taking any fee, he performed an innovative method of surgery on seventy of these men, hastening their induction into the army, and thus the idea developed into a surgical technique which survived him and is still thriving. As Bruce Lee once said I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." The focus on doing what you are best in, and developing it to such an extent that people are trying to copy it, it makes sense to just stick to that and that's what Shouldice did.
A Strategic Service Concept
- Focused Service Factory
Shouldice defined the one thing they do to perfection and built a whole integrated system around it. Removal of external hernia were their forte and they stuck to it. The patients at the Shouldice center take some of care of themselves. Before the operation a questionnaire is sent to them which is simple to understand and the purpose is to determine the type of hernia and other risks associated with surgery. In Shouldice, all the patients were encouraged to walk up and down the halls and to get in dialog with the other patients and the surgeons. In thought of encouraging the patients, the steps between the floors are constructed with a smooth inclination, there are not TV's at the bedrooms and the rooms were designed as if it were a home instead of a hospital. Every square foot of facility is carpeted to reduce the hospital feeling and the possibility of a fall.
Shouldice hospital is staying focused because it has not changed its target market and the methods that made it a success; the target market for Shouldice Hospital remains the people who were detected with a primary inguinal, which was the most common kind of hernia. They treated only external hernias. More complicated cases, especially those involving patients with other health problems, were not undertaken. The primary advantage of admitting only healthy people was that the duration of the patient in the hospital was drastically cut down. Thus new patients could be admitted with a higher frequency.
Great Word of mouth advertising
"Part of the success of the Hospital from a psychological point of view is the opportunity for the patients to meet...
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