Published in Medical Tourism Insights  -- June 25th, 2014. Don't miss a single issue. Subscribe for free


Good marketers don’t sell products, they create desire, and it is much easier to get someone to buy your health tourism product or service if they’re convinced they already want it!


How do you create a desire for medical tourism? 

In my last issue, I quoted the daily email spam I receive from medical tourism marketers, that reads:

"We have all the tie ups with the hospitals and we can sell it to you cheaper and arrange a sightseeing tour and share a cut with you"

In marketing, desire is defined as creating a gap between a person’s perceived state and their desired state. When we perceive a “gap” we will try to close it, some gaps are short (i.e. I am hungry) and some gaps are long (i.e. I am willing to travel to XYZ to obtain relief from my medical issue).

Whatever the case, a truly effective marketing campaign will not only fill this desire, but they will actually create the desire in the mind of the consumer.  While the desire may not be for the surgery itself, the desire is for the destination or the medical specialist who can close the gap. your desire doesn't need to be inspired by fear or trouble or pain or problems. You can create desire through positive motivators too. This can be expressed in terms of outcomes, savings or patient satisfaction - according to the persona that is your target audience. So before you can use this approach, you must know the persona of your target audience. Then, you show them the way to get their desires filled and that you are in a position to provide this service - through skilled providers, clean and safe facilities, state of the art technology, and proven outcomes.

When we help our medical tourism clients with market research for medical tourism, we try to put ourselves in the shoes of the consumer.  Whenever possible, we conduct interviews with some of their patients and try to identify exactly what went through their minds when they chose their provider. Often we discover fascinating insights that apply to a whole range of people that the healthcare provider didn't even realize.

What is very frustrating to me about medical tourism marketing is that so many healthcare providers copy poor examples they find on the internet and then wonder why the marketing efforts don't produce desired results.  To create desire for your product, you must first identify the ideal customer and what they are willing to pay for as a "Minimum Viable Product". The more you understanding of the problems of your ideal customers, so does your ability to provide a truly valuable service with an exceptional and unique product.

So how does a medical tourism specialist of orthopedic surgery create desire for his or her product?

Start with possible gaps:

  • Rapid access to care
  • Destination attractiveness and alignment with strategic value chain partners
  • Price arbitrage and value-based purchasing
  • New procedures and surgical approaches
  • Authority (published papers, research, clinical trials)
Ultimately if people feel like you can identify with them and fix their problems they will be much more likely to give you a call. Research and understanding will help you identify with people’s real problems and help you create a more compelling basis of desire to choose you.


An acronym used in marketing and advertising that describes a common list of events that may occur when a consumer engages with an advertisement.

A – attention (Awareness): attract the attention of the customer.
I – interest: raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits (instead of focusing on features, as in traditional advertising).
D – desire: convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs.
A – action: lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing.
S – satisfaction: – satisfy the customer so they become a repeat customer and give referrals to a product.


Another similar model developed to more specifically cater for the customer life cycle. REAN is a marketing acronym that stands for:
R – Reach: the set of activities needed to raise prospects' attention for your brand, product or service
E – Engage: the gradual, typically multi-channel, often recursive set of activities needed to engage the prospects you just won
A – Activate: the activities needed for your prospects to take, eventually, the actions you wanted them to take
N – Nurture: the activities needed to nurture the customer relationship you just managed to create[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

The Magic Formula

for Creating Market Desire for Your Medical Tourism Product or Destination

SO + (ST or SG) = RESULTS 

SO stands for specific outcome. And this has to be an outcome that your clients are going to get from your product that is third-party verifiable and it’s wanted by them. (That's not JCI Accreditation or some fundamental tic in the box that the patient doesn't list at the top of their mind.) It has to be an outcome that someone looking from the outside can verify has happened.

ST = Specific Time frame
SG = Specific Guarantee

If you cannot articulate the value of your product to the target consumer, such that you can create the desire to buy it - from you - there is a good chance that you will produce some amazing product that no one buys. And if you don’t master the art of creating desire for your amazing product, complemented by an amazing offer and an amazing website, you won't get results. You can do everything in the world, but if you don’t master this, you will have a really difficult time selling your medical tourism product that generates enough revenues to make your medical tourism business profitable. If you do master this, will gain a competitive edge and sell a product that people instantly like and want and that people literally can’t stop themselves from buying. They’re going to be so magnetically attracted to your product that they’re just going to book an appointment or reach out and ask you how they can get it.

But -- Medicine is not an exact science so how can you make specific guarantees?
If you cannot guarantee clinical outcomes, per se, then guarantee what you can:
  • Service
  • Quality and Safety
  • Price Match
  • Rapid Access to Care
  • Post-treatment access
  • Support if there's a treatment failure
  1. Get out a piece and write down the most desirable outcome that you can deliver to your customers.
  2. Write down the time frame that you can deliver it in – usually the shortest time frame possible where if someone does everything you tell them to do, they’ll get the results that you’re promising them.
  3. Write down your specific guarantee.
  4. Put it all together in one or two sentences.

Well that wraps up our tipsheet article for today. Browse our website for additional articles in this category.