Business Faculty Professors Push Hospice Care Industry to Market Itself Better

February 16, 2017

Quick Facts

bullet point Their paper, "An Exploratory Investigation of Hospice Marketing: How Are Palliative Care Providers Marketing Their Services?" appears in the latest edition of Health Marketing Quarterly.

/uploadedImages/news/Articles/MatthewsM.jpgMichael Matthews/uploadedImages/news/Articles/PetersC.jpgCara Peters/uploadedImages/news/Articles/LawsonS1.jpgStephanie Lawson

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - Winthrop University Associate Professor of Healthcare Management Michael Matthews says hospice and palliative care companies need to take more substantive efforts to market themselves as the industry continues to rapidly grow.

Matthews, along with Professor of Marketing Cara Peters and Assistant Professor of Marketing Stephanie Lawson, push this recommendation in their paper, "An Exploratory Investigation of Hospice Marketing: How Are Palliative Care Providers Marketing Their Services?" The paper appears in the latest issue of Health Marketing Quarterly.

Years ago, Matthews worked for an integrated long-term care company while on sabbatical. One of the company's services included hospice care, an industry Matthews notes is very fragmented-localized, with few big-name companies.

As a keynote speaker at conferences for hospice organizations, he couldn't help but notice a trend emerging: much of the industry's "marketing" staff were actually nurses or employees with clinical backgrounds.

"While extraordinarily compassionate, I noticed that many hospice organizations did not strategically think about their marketing plans/goals and objectives," he said.

The companies typically don't have dedicated marketing staffs or budgets, and the marketing efforts they do take are smaller, such as posting on social media and relying on word-of-mouth.

"My hope is that hospice organizations use better strategic marketing orientation when developing their marketing plans," Matthews said.

Their paper can be read online in the latest edition.

About the authors:
*Matthews holds a Ph.D. in health services administration from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He's published in healthcare-specialized publications across the globe and offers expert commentary to regional media on healthcare issues. In December he received Winthrop's highest teaching honor, the Kinard Award for Excellence in Teaching.
*Peters holds a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska. Her research has appeared in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and many more publications.
*Lawson holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University. She has professional experience in marketing management and research in the healthcare, transportation and retail industries.

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