How to enter the medical tourism market in France?
Any competent manager knows that if he wants to succeed in the market, he must know it, but market knowledge alone is not enough. It is necessary to know the culture of the country, and this very important element will determine the manner of your work in this or that market.
France is a big and rich country, it’s a very promising market, but it’s not so easy to enter it, especially if it’s about health and medicine. So what opportunities do you have in France?
Let’s try to understand the mentality, which is very different from the one to which we are accustomed. We will also talk about small tricks that will help you in your marketing and promotion.
Medical tourism market in France. Is there a market or not?
It is true that France has a social approach to all the main spheres of life. This includes education, social protection and, of course, health.
Education and treatment in France are PRACTICALLY free of charge. It is clear that when we say free, it means that every Frenchman, starting to work, gives a part of his salary to finance Sécurité Sociale.
Unfortunately, the national insurance does not pay all 100 percent, so French turn to private “Extra” insurance, which covers the difference. Does this mean that all treatment in France is completely free? Not at all!
There is a list of pathologies paid by the national insurance, but this list doesn’t include all pathologies. For example, plastic surgery, eye surgery, dentistry are the most obvious directions that practically do not exist for the national French insurance.
Moreover, there is a national insurance payment base, which is calculated from the cost of treatment established by the same national insurance, but in reality, the treatment can cost more. Every doctor works in his sector – this can be either sector 1 or sector 2.
Depending on the sector, the doctor may either overstate his fee or not have the right to do so. Private insurance companies that offer ADDITIONAL insurance, in order not to risk, link to the national insurance. This means that payments don’t cover all pathologies, only some of them.
So, what do we get? Initially, there is a market in France for some pathologies and for those areas that are poorly paid by national and additional insurance. Also, there are great opportunities in aesthetic tourism.
However, this will not be plastic surgery, but salon procedures, as in France they are very expensive, and any Frenchwoman and even a Frenchman will gladly combine pleasant rest and travel with procedures that improve the appearance (manicure, massages, SPA, such hardware cosmetology, as Starvac, LPG, CoolSculpting).
How to attract French patients?
Answer: As well as the patient of any other nationality. What does it mean? It means that the process of buying a medical service will be the same as with any other person. We recall that medicine is a product of trust, and trust products are best sellers for the purpose intended. That is, a trustee, such as a doctor or opinion leader, should prescribe this service to the patient.
It can also be a word-of-mouth radio, it is very effective, but often difficult in the implementation, and it will take a lot of time. After the service has been prescribed to the patient, the patient will try to find out everything about it, and in the world where information is freely available, it is very important to monitor your e-reputation. You must make sure that the patient can freely find a maximum of information about you from different sources and preferably in his own language.
Reviews, opinions of local magazines, sites, blogs. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct active marketing in the native language and in the country of the future client. Often neglect of the fundamentals of management and marketing leads to the fact that we allegedly feel cheated, and there is no market there. The market is everywhere, in many respects everything depends on you and your finances.
Of course, it’s very important to have a local representative or agent, but that’s not all. It is not profitable for an agent to advertise you and invest his money just for a commission; however, by offering a commission and PR in the country of the agent, you will convince the agent to work with you.
If you promote your company, and the agent will offer someone else, then by finding information on the Internet, the patient will probably choose you by himself.
Features of French market
In France, any advertising of medical services is forbidden, so you should be a little trickier with French market. First, clinics should not directly promote themselves on the territory of France. An excellent option is the use of third-party services, as direct advertising will not work.
It can be medical portals, bloggers. As for television, radio and the press, in France through them, it’s really costly and difficult in terms of legislation to promote your services. Moreover, aggressive marketing in the field of medicine will be perceived by French rather negatively. Do your best to involve the Internet resources, social networks, opinion leaders.
Do not forget that there are very few agents in France today, and if you find some of them, they have a long established work with Moroccan or Tunisian clinics and are unlikely to change their supplier. But again, a little internet marketing, and they will come to you and they will want to work with you, because there will be demand, and demand will be created by YOU!
Improve yourself and good luck to you! And remember, we are partners, not competitors!