Health marketing in an emerging market: The critical role of signaling theory in breast cancer awareness
In India, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer among women in cities and urban areas, yet women seek medical care extremely late due to lack of awareness about self-examination. This study explores the health marketing literature via signaling theory, to uncover the unique social, economic, cultural and institutional challenges and opportunities faced by health marketers and consumers in breast cancer awareness (BCA) in an emerging economy - India. An interpretive-inductive method, alongside a grounded theory approach via focus groups with medical professionals and interviews with women is employed. Findings reveal complex challenges at national, state and community levels which impact negatively on the reputation of India's health sector. Social marketing strategies could be leveraged to raise BCA via community health activists. Propositions are suggested and a conceptual framework is developed to assist health marketers to manage BCA in an emerging economy.