How to Defend Market Share Against Competing Service Lines

June 12, 2017

, VP, Strategy and Development

You’re a nonprofit hospital that’s leading the market, delivering 5,000 babies a year. Your competition sets up shop down the street to steal market share. What do you do? Concede? No, you circle the wagons and go on the offensive.

We recently encountered this very situation with one of our clients who has long been known for delivering the most babies in the metro area. Their birth center was so renowned and uncontested, little marketing was needed. But when a competing hospital began boasting of a brand new birth center, we had to deploy a strategy to defend our client’s market share. We believe the following tactics are crucial for any healthcare system that finds itself in a similar situation.

Messaging

The second you get wind of a competing hospital unveiling a new service line, beat them to the punch and run a campaign of your own—one that reinforces what made you great in the first place. Do you have a Level III NICU? Best docs and nurses? Sing it from the rafters.

Competition drives innovation. Don’t have the spa-like setting for L&D yet? If you don’t have these yet, communicate your path to achieving them.

Channel Strategy

How do we reach our audience? From our experience, digital media tactics can do a lot of heavy lifting. Online, we can reach the right audience without a lot of media waste. We have the opportunity through refined targeting and efficient media buys with a mix of paid search, display, mobile, and paid social. For maximum efficiency in targeting, we can leverage opportunities that access CDC data. It’s cookie-less and eliminates any privacy concerns.

Paid search is considered for top-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel users. Search can be used to reach a user who is simply looking for a nearby birth center or looking for general info on birthing center options. Additionally, search can be used to differentiate between you and your competition.

Website

Make sure the consumer’s entire online experience matches the campaign you run. Do you have an old and outdated website? If your competition is setting up a new service line, you better believe they have a shiny new website to promote it. Focus on the experience you can provide consumers and get some help from brand ambassadors—new mothers. Patient testimonials, video, and good, old-fashioned storytelling can provide the differentiation you need to maintain patient volumes when competition arises.

These simple, yet effective tactics can be deployed in virtually any situation in which your competitor opens a competing service line. The key is to act fast and get visibility on the right channels with the right message. Play to your hospital’s strengths. Expose what your competitor lacks that you can provide. Add to that a seamless user experience, and you have a solid defense strategy to protect your market share.

Filed under: Thought Leadership
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