Marketing Options of the National Blood Service

Term Paper, 2010

11 Pages, Grade: 80














NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority, dedicated to saving and improving lives through the wide range of services we provide to the NHS.

We are responsible for ensuring the safe and secure supply of blood, stem cells, tissues, solid organs and plasma products to the NHS; and for promoting and raising awareness of donation.

Unlike the private sector, marketing within non-profit making organisations such as the National Blood Service show a need to divide their marketing activities to a wide range of publics as their revenue streams are not always derived from conventional sales income. (Brassington and Pettitt, 2006. P.1096)

It is with this in mind that this report will examine how marketing can assist the National Blood Service in achieving its goals and also the way in which expectations of shareholders are met.

The methodology used in this report will compare the formalised strategic aims as outlined by the National Blood Service themselves with the marketing activities they employ. As well as looking at the current stakeholders of the National Blood Service and what their expectations might be and discussing if their needs are currently being met by the organisation.

This report will explain that the National Blood Service uses marketing to good effect to achieve or move to achieving its strategic goals. This report will also show that the National Blood Service balances well the needs of its two main stakeholders, donors and primary care trusts (hospitals), when their demands are relatively unconnected.

The limitations of this report are reflected in a lack of primary research regarding the two main stakeholders and the measurement of their expectations as well as the lack of a primary longitudinal study into the successes of individual marketing campaigns and public relations initiatives.

TERMINOLOGY/ POINTS OF REFERENCE "Achievements" The completion of particular aims and objectives as set out by the organisation's strategic plan

"Evaluate the extent" To measure

"Expectations" The pre-conceived and anticipated outcome that will be delivered by the use or interaction with the organisation.

"National Blood Service" For the purposes of this report the National Blood Service will also include information pertaining to the National Health Service Blood and Transplant umbrella organisation due to the synonymy and complex hierarchical structures that are present in the organisation(s).

"Stakeholders" A person or organisation with a legitimate interest in a given situation, action or enterprise.


The alignment of non-profit making organisations' strategic aims and ways in which marketing can perform a subsequent role to achieve those aims has developed over the last thirty years with some organisations seeking to develop a quasi-commercial approach to operational activities which exposes the organisation to commercial market forces whilst increasing both their public affairs autonomy and accountability to stakeholders (Brassington & Pettitt, 2006. P.1095).

For example in the National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) annual report, they reference their need to "respond to changing economic conditions and strive to deliver an ever more efficient and effective front line service" NHSBT (2010)

Furthermore, the National Blood Service does not directly solicit donations from the general public, instead raising its operating budget through charging partner organisations such as hospitals, primary care trusts and research and development companies for its administrative expenses; transportation costs, storage costs, collection costs and research costs to identify a few as they do not charge for the blood components themselves.

Notwithstanding emergency situations and large scale disasters the demand side aspect for blood related products is usually quite constant for ongoing diseases and illnesses and can therefore by anticipated with reasonable accuracy (Grant, 2010).

This report investigates the marketing successes of the National Blood Service in specific reference to its aims and also describe the successes it has had fulfilling the expectations of its shareholders.


The market for blood related products has been extensively researched with Titmuss (1970) who asserted through his research that blood donors cannot be described "in terms of complete, disinterested, spontaneous altruism" instead showing a motivation through certain obligatory tendancies and social responses such as approval and a sense of inclusion. It is this research into donor motivation that forms the basis of most subsequent literature that provides marketing and supply chain recommendations to the industry. Titmuss (1970) also alludes to a situation where commercialisation and incentivisation through monetary reward actually stymies the expression of altruism and reduces donation rates.

Marketing the National Blood Service to potential donors should focus on four factors that add value to the experience; quality and safety, research and development, timeliness and availability. Notice how these issues can be divided into two points that directly relate to blood related products compared to the latter two which focus on supply-chain and logistical delivery of the services it offers. (Grant et al, 2006)

As part of a study into donation behavior it showed up that attracting new donors is not the only problem that the National Blood Service have to contend with in their marketing strategies Leigh et al (2007) states that "the majority of donors (86 percent) have given blood no more than five times" meaning that the relationship between the National Blood Service and a potential long-term donor needs to be addressed to increase the potential lifetime value of the donor. Lifetime value, in this case, of the donor should be considered of paramount importance (Ambler and Styles, 2000, p. 503).

One study from 2007 shows that 62% of people said that the most likely way to encourage them to donate would be if the potential donor were to receive information when their blood (Leigh et al, 2007). This approach brings ethical, legal and logistical questions into the equation such as the existence of data protection laws, emotional manipulation and whether there could be a financially viable way of transmitting the information back down the supply chain.


Excerpt out of 11 pages


Marketing Options of the National Blood Service
University of Hertfordshire  (Business School)
MA Marketing
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
403 KB
An investigation to establish the strategic aims of the National Blood Service and explore ways in which marketing can assist the achievements of those aims and also to evaluate the extent to which the expectations of stakeholders are being met by the organisation.
National Blood Service, NBS, Marketing, PR
Quote paper
Christopher Ulph (Author), 2010, Marketing Options of the National Blood Service, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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