You want to jump right in to promoting your clinic, startup or other health organization. We get it. You're ready to go! Unless you're not.
Have you examined your market? Do you know who you're up against, who you want to be, and what they're doing right? One competition analysis, done well, can lay the foundation for years of successful campaigns. Here's what a little research can do for you.
Set you apart
Health care choices are less transparent and more complex than other purchasing decisions. In this market, insight and assumptions won’t get you very far. High-quality analysis empowers you to find a meaningful, objective distinction between you and the competition.
Perhaps it’s a cutting-edge piece of equipment, a unique combination of services, your quality scores, or even your location. Any of these factors may be the primary decision-making factor for your ideal patient. But it won’t be clear until you perform the analysis.
Find Your Gatekeepers
The patient isn’t always your marketing audience, because the patient isn’t always making the decision. Pediatricians need to reach parents, for example, while Medicare Advantage plans need to reach (grown) children.
If your company is in the early stages of developing a new diagnostic tool, it’s probably not the patients (or even the doctors or health system purchasers) you should target—instead, you may want to focus your marketing on the commercialization department at a multinational like Medtronic. A competition analysis shows you who makes the decisions and who opens the doors…
Meet Your Gatekeepers
…by showing you what channels your competitors are using to reach these VIPs. Should you create a profile on a vertical professional social network like Doximity to reach referring physicians? Should your staff be contributing to a trade publication that you haven’t even heard of yet, or manning a booth at a local event? Maybe your professional association has a calendar, and just maybe nobody from your region is posting there yet. These are all opportunities to deliver valuable content directly to your target audience.
Improve Your Packaging
A competition analysis can reveal how others are bundling services to appeal to a segment of the market. Are other insurance plans in a certain county finding success with an optional premium level of benefits? Are other therapists bundling multiple services as an integrated package for certain health conditions? Perhaps you could offer concierge medicine to patients paying out-of-pocket—or partner with a food bank to provide a one-stop shop for healthcare and other services? There’s more than one way to provide care, and sometimes the package can transform the contents.
Reveal digital best practices
Digital marketing changes constantly, and the best way to learn the evolving “rules” is to put your market under a microscope. Which social channel should be a priority for your advertising budget? Should you be creating interactive content, thought leadership videos or webinars? If a competitor has stuck with a strategy for a year or more, they may be seeing a high return on the investment.
And if no one in your market is using a certain channel, that’s worth investigating as well. It could indicate a waste of time, a regulatory red flag—or an underutilized promotional channel! A marketing megaphone that you don’t have to share.
The competition analysis is just the start of your medical marketing strategy development, but it's a critical step. It points you in the right direction, leading to a more effective marketing plan.
A boutique communications firm focused on science, healthcare, tech and policy. Guest contributors as noted.
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