How to Create the Medical Tourism Buyer Personae

The power of personae (done properly) is to build a predictive model to focus on the buyer and their needs.

When medical tourism providers empathize with the varying buying modalities that exist in their diverse customer segments, consumers take interest. Several healthcare providers launching a medical tourism program use personae,  but few do it very well.  When executed properly it enables healthcare and tourism marketers to present options and solutions to these personae in a way that is culturally and linguistically sensitive to the way they prefer to be approached.

In medical tourism market research, I’ve noticed that market leaders use personalities to connect with buyers.  A given personality may show up in both a referring physician and a consumer looking for a checkup or other services. What you sell them might be different (different education levels, income levels, vocations, …) but the way you sell them will be the same (same motivations, same characteristics, same decision methods and drivers). In addition, recognizing group characteristics allows sellers of medical tourism products and destinations to isolate and target specific behaviors and motivational drivers in their marketing materials.

A single medical provider website and marketing material could address both groups quite well by designing for the personae overlap. This means the home page and related content hosted on the site could

  • Attract both groups equally well
  • Guide each group to a specific, unique and highly attractive products that offer them solutions.

The medical tourism home page should be focused on problem solving and a brighter future. Incorporating strong social components of active lifestyle, freedom from pain, wellness, hopes and dreams and a medical tourism destination experience are all preferable to showing a patient undergoing a PET CT scan or some bloody surgery and a hole in surgical drapes. A forum with frequently asked questions and answers is preferable to tic lists of services, procedures and prices. People want to believe they buy from a position of informed consent, not on the basis of price.  Information aligned with process orientation of “what to expect” is far more preferable than “fill in a form in order to buy a surgery procedure”.

Moving beyond your home page requires engagement.

To present a destination experience for medical tourism, show more than pictures of the hospital or clinical setting. Focus on the experience, not the treatment.  Most medical marketing department workers have no clue how to do this. They should study luxury hotel and spa destination marketing collateral to pick up on clues, phrases, and inspiration.

Demonstrate through images and text that medical tourism buyers will find pleasure in the destination experience, quality, safety, service and reasonable price, if you must mention price at all.  Let them deduce that they will come away from the experience feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, repaired, and rehabilitated, taking away more than they came in with in experiences, wellness, active lifestyle, longevity, and health.

Testimonials are important. Find noted buyers and publish authorized testimonials that show that people they trust and recognize went before them and came out satisfied. If necessary, invite personalities to come to sample the services in exchange for an endorsement. This can be other physicians, noted key opinion leaders, the media, television personalities, professional athletes, and others recognized in the popular press and media.

Use photography of actual settings they will encounter, not stock photography. Hire a professional photographer with digital editing prowess. Hire people photographers to shoot images of people in action and landscape and commercial photographers to shoot buildings and landscapes. Photography is not a one size fits all profession. Lighting, angles, and lenses make a big difference in your professional marketing materials.  Use photos to create a storyboard that whisks the buyer through the process of care and recovery to reduce words, spelling errors, idiomatic grammer errors, and cultural messaging mishaps.

The use of personae, although much talked about, is still in its just being applied in medical tourism in many ways. The examples aboive make use of the persona concept to design marketing materials which perform three necessary functions:

  1. Attract a large international audience.
  2. Segment it.
  3. Direct each segment to more specific information designed to close or convert the greatest number of individuals in that segment.

Call on me if you need help to design your strategy and tactics for this. I can help you get started and aim you on the right track.

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