The primary problem of the present research is the relevance of occupational therapy for children in a healthcare specialty clinic, given the present market requirements. Thus, using a methodological approach to the research, this paper seeks to define what should be the marketing approaches to working with a service such as occupational therapy. The data for the examination will be taken from primary sources, including face-to-face interviews with the parents, and secondary sources, such as academic research and marketing reports.
Product and Price
Occupational therapy is currently very popular with patients seeking rehabilitation. It is “the therapeutic use of everyday life occupations with persons, groups, or populations (i.e., the client) for the purpose of enhancing or enabling participation” (American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA] 1). Proven to be efficient, occupational therapy is now provided to children with special needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“Cost of Occupational Therapy” para. 4), but the cost for private sessions varies between $100-$200. The primary barrier to the product’s entry into the market is, hence, public coverage of high production costs.
Placement and Promotion
The service will be physically placed in the health care specialty clinics, increasing the production costs of the service, including utilities, rent, and licensing. In the course of the research, it has been estimated that there are no targeted ads on search engines like Google and Yahoo!, meaning that therapists mostly use word-of-mouth marketing channels on the medical facility premises. The AOTA encourages professionals to use social media as a tool for promoting occupational therapy, so it should be considered during the marketing strategy (“Four Ways to Promote Occupational Therapy”). The channels of distribution can be health care facility’s social media, website, and websites for parents.
Competitors and Additional Information
According to Data Bridge Market Research, occupational therapy is likely to expand globally at a high rate over the next five years. Hence, the competition is likely to increase over the years. The issue especially concerns services provided in health care offices, as according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, out of 126,000 currently employed occupational therapists, 33,000 work in the private offices of other health practitioners (para. 6). The US market size of occupational therapists is currently $27 billion, presenting 1.5% growth per year since 2017 (IBISWorld). Hence, the growing success of the industry demonstrates the demand and potentially increasing competition.
Customer and Demographics
Although occupational therapy per se is designed for children, the target customers include parents of children with special needs who seek help and rehabilitation. After conducting several short interviews with the parents, it became evident that most of them were willing to spend money on occupational therapy if they knew it would yield results during the first six months of treatment. Thus, the target demographics for the service would include middle-class parents with annual incomes varying from $60,000 to $150,000.
- Occupational therapy is an emerging yet promising healthcare segment, as now there are no issues with the occupational licensing of professionals;
- An increase in the number of children with developmental challenges presents the demand for the service in the US market (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention);
- The preferred channels of communication include word-of-mouth recommendations from professionals and blog posts that present both educational content and implicit advertisement for the service.
“Cost of Occupational Therapy.” Special Learning, Inc., n.d., Web.
“Four Ways to Promote Occupational Therapy Through the Media.” YouTube, uploaded by the American Occupational Therapy Association, 2018. Web.
American Occupation Therapy Association. “Standards of Practice for Occupational Therapy.” The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol. 75, 2020.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Increase in Developmental Disabilities Among Children in the United States.” Web.
Data Bridge Market Research. “Global Occupational Therapy Market – Industry Trends and Forecast to 2027.” Web.
IBISWorld. “Occupational Therapists in the US – Market Size 2003–2027.” Web.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics: 29-1122 Occupational Therapists.” Web.