Sunday, July 8, 2012

What is your market position in healthcare?

With the reformation of healthcare in the U.S. moving forward full speed ahead, most healthcare providers will need to undertake a full detailed examination of their position in the market vies a vie their competitors.

A simple question that is not easily answered. That is, if you're being honest.

Positioning is not a tactic. It is a strategy.

If someone in your organization tells you it's a tactic then they are once again showing that they don't marketing, and don't know what they are talking about. And just because you think you are superior, and say so in your marketing, doesn't mean the market sees you as superior. Too much organizational group think at play perhaps?

There are really only three positions you can have in a market, superior, equivalent or inferior. And just saying you have the newest hi-tech equipment, offer world-class care, revolve around the customer, build a new building, or produce a white paper does not, let me repeat, does not mean you hold a superior market position, or even a thought-leadership position for that matter.

If your market share has not changed much over the last few years your are not in a superior position. If revenue has not grown but stayed steady, you are not in a superior position. If your products, solutions and services are haven't changed much, then you are not in a superior market position.

If customers keep asking you about what you are doing in an area, then you are in an inferior market position. If your market segments can't tell the difference between you and someone else, you are in an equivalent position.

And when all things are equal, people buy on price.

And with all the potential families and individuals with health insurance becoming available, if you haven't established a superior market position, then an equivalent or inferior position gets you into a price war. In value-based and P4P payment programs, superior brings more revenue. Equivalent market positions brings less; while inferior positions will penalize you.

So before you start marketing, you need to take a closer look at your market position, how you are positioning your healthcare organization and the market position you need to dominate and control.

That is marketing strategy first. Tactics to get you to that position, second.

No more do-over's. You either position yourself correctly first and control the market, or it controls you.

Your choice, superior, equivalent or inferior, choose or it will be chosen for you.

Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 4,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.

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