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National trends in hospital advertising

Batton, Gail Grimes
Scope and Method of Study: A national survey of hospitals is conducted in this study to determine the extent of the use of advertising by hospitals and the general attitude toward advertising by persons currently working within the industry. Using the premise that more advertising would be used in larger towns; that no marketing research would be conducted; that there would be no long- or short-range plans for advertising being used; and that those administrators with a more favorable attitude toward advertising would be working at advertising hospitals, a four-part questionnaire was designed.
Findings and Conclusions: Interestingly, more than half of the respondents indicated that they did use advertising. And even more surprising was the discovery that many of the sample respondents did conduct some marketing research and in fact, tried to measure the effectiveness of their advertising efforts. This could indicate that some advertisers do have long- or short-range plans for their advertising.
When comparing the Likert means of the advertisers versus the non advertisers, a statistically significant result indicates that there are differences in attitude between these two groups. The overall average Likert score of sample respondents is only slightly favorable and not much different from neutral.
Support for the assumption that more advertising is used by hospitals in more largely populated areas is soundly determined in a cross-tabulation and Chi-square analysis. Other relationships found to be significant in this analysis include: (1) whether marketing research is done and the population of the city, (2) whether marketing research is conducted and the population in the hospital's primary service area, and (3) whether a hospital attempts to measure the effectiveness of its advertising efforts and the nature of the hospital's primary service area--among others.
Overall, evaluation of the results seems to indicate that advertising is being utilized . It tends to be conservative in nature and more informative than competitive.