Measuring the Impact of Competition on Healthcare Marketing Efforts

by | Oct 6, 2020 | Healthcare Industry Insights | 0 comments

We envision our future roles as healthcare marketers as more about driving population health initiatives forward. In reality, we’re all chasing high-value patient volumes.

Com­pe­ti­tion is fierce due to both tra­di­tion­al and non-tra­di­tion­al play­ers, show­ing the impact of com­pe­ti­tion on health­care mar­ket­ing efforts in real-time. As a result, it’s becom­ing increas­ing­ly both chal­leng­ing and crit­i­cal to stand out as a health­care brand.

Here are insights and best prac­tices on dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing your orga­ni­za­tion based on our work with hos­pi­tals and health sys­tems nationwide.

What does it mean to say the market is competitive?

In our view, high­ly com­pet­i­tive mar­kets have a few key char­ac­ter­is­tics. Typ­i­cal­ly, there are at least 2–3 health sys­tem providers. These include local or region­al brands with at least one flag­ship hos­pi­tal and, often, a num­ber of addi­tion­al spe­cial­ty and out­pa­tient facil­i­ties. Today, there’s increased com­pet­i­tive pres­sure from retail health brands, free­stand­ing urgent care providers and emer­gency cen­ters, tele­health options through employ­er-spon­sored insur­ance plans, and more. For health­care mar­keters, we’re often think­ing about how to cap­ture as much of the com­mer­cial vol­ume as we can in our local mar­kets. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true for high-val­ue ser­vices like joint replace­ment, bariatric surgery, mater­ni­ty, car­dio­vas­cu­lar, oncol­o­gy and more.

Standing out in competitive markets

To over­come increased and evolv­ing com­pe­ti­tion, cre­ate hor­i­zon­tal­ly inte­grat­ed cam­paigns that con­nect con­sumers with the right mes­sages. These cam­paigns must go through the right chan­nels, at the right time and with the right call to action (CTA) to guide your ide­al con­sumer to the next step on the health­care journey.

For health sys­tems with lit­tle or no com­pe­ti­tion, engag­ing con­sumers in your mar­ket area via dig­i­tal-only chan­nels, your com­mu­ni­ty mag­a­zine or dis­crete brand mes­sag­ing might be effec­tive. That’s cer­tain­ly not the case in high­ly com­pet­i­tive mar­kets. A mul­ti­chan­nel approach is crit­i­cal to ensure that you’re not only match­ing the com­pe­ti­tion but cre­at­ing dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion and preference.

There are a few must-have tactics to master in this scenario:

  • Effec­tive paid search that tar­gets high-val­ue key­words and com­pet­i­tive brand terms. In crowd­ed mar­kets, your cost-per-click is typ­i­cal­ly going to increase sig­nif­i­cant­ly. This makes it crit­i­cal to hone in on your tar­get key­words and terms, as well as con­stant­ly opti­miz­ing both your bid and mes­sag­ing strategy.
  • Paid social media strate­gies that lever­age unique and high-qual­i­ty con­tent. Social media con­tin­ues to become nois­i­er and more crowd­ed, and it takes more cre­ativ­i­ty to stand out. Lever­age great con­tent, includ­ing blogs, video and info­graph­ics to help your con­tent get noticed and gen­er­ate more engage­ment. Fur­ther, make sure you’re using the right social chan­nels. A few years ago, Face­book was a no brain­er for any health­care ser­vice line cam­paign. While that con­tin­ues, diver­si­ty is crit­i­cal and we rec­om­mend Insta­gram ad place­ment (specif­i­cal­ly through Face­book Busi­ness Man­ag­er) for ser­vices like OBGYN, pri­ma­ry care, urgent care and pediatrics.
  • Direct mail cam­paigns that focus on pri­ma­ry ser­vice lines. Done right, direct mail con­tin­ues to be an effec­tive way to dri­ve vol­umes for ser­vices like colono­scopies, dis­count­ed heart screen­ing pro­grams, mam­mo­grams, pri­ma­ry care and more. We also rec­om­mend min­i­mal­ly imple­ment­ing a new mover pro­gram to engage new res­i­dents look­ing for a health­care home.
  • Con­tent hubs and blogs that pro­mote a vari­ety of con­tent. As a rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing activ­i­ty, blog­ging is grow­ing in both pop­u­lar­i­ty and val­ue in health­care mar­ket­ing. When planned, cre­at­ed, deployed and pro­mot­ed effec­tive­ly, con­tent mar­ket­ing sup­ports both your brand and your ser­vice line growth pri­or­i­ties, becom­ing a no-brain­er for sys­tems in crowd­ed markets.

Beyond these must-haves, we always rec­om­mend allo­cat­ing some of your media bud­gets to exper­i­men­tal and tra­di­tion­al mar­ket­ing efforts. A few addi­tion­al chan­nels we like include Pan­do­ra, Hulu, YouTube and native advertising.

The importance of messaging and experience

In any mar­ket­ing plan you put in place in a crowd­ed mar­ket, it’s crit­i­cal to remem­ber the impact of com­pe­ti­tion on your health­care mar­ket­ing efforts. Your mon­ey will only be as well spent as the con­tent you cre­ate to sup­port the strategy.

We believe that paid adver­tis­ing is sim­ply plac­ing con­tent on var­i­ous plat­forms to con­nect with tar­get audi­ences. Ads are con­tent, and many agen­cies and dig­i­tal mar­keters lose sight of this, focus­ing instead on the tar­get­ing and tools. How­ev­er, great ad copy and effec­tive land­ing pages can max­i­mize invest­ments sig­nif­i­cant­ly by dri­ving both more clicks and bet­ter con­ver­sion rates.

To cre­ate great cam­paign con­tent and assets, think about who you’re reach­ing, what mat­ters to them about their health­care expe­ri­ence and how to best guide them to the next best action. It’s crit­i­cal that the entire con­sumer jour­ney be pos­i­tive, start­ing with the first dig­i­tal or print encounter a con­sumer has with your brand. Reduc­ing fric­tion from Google Search or ad engage­ment through to con­ver­sion is a must in the mod­ern era, and will dri­ve bet­ter lead vol­umes for your organization.

In clos­ing, holis­ti­cal­ly con­sid­er your brand and ser­vice line growth strate­gies when you’re play­ing in a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket. And with time and bud­get con­traints: Con­sid­er work­ing with key agency part­ners to make sure that you’re every­where your com­peti­tors are, and then some.

We Can Help Your Healthcare Brand Stand Out

Our team of health­care mar­ket­ing experts under­stand how to compete—and win—in an increas­ing­ly crowd­ed health­care market.

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