Are You Ready for a Food Fight?

Marketing clinical services have gotten a whole lot more complicated. Though it was never easy, there were some dependable factors that at least played in our favor as marketers.

First, at some point in time, your competition was someone like you. They were health systems or medical groups. Second, they provided services similar to yours. Sure, maybe they were bigger or smaller. Or had different service line strengths and different footprints. But fundamentally, we knew the job to be done, and we were on a known — if not equal — playing field.

Then came along a proliferation of urgent care companies. And virtual care. And pharmacy clinics. We adjusted.

But what about today? Care delivery is as carved up as the food and restaurant industry. Everyone is fighting for the consumer meal in different ways — think grocery stores with takeout and curbside pickup, subscription services, restaurants via dine-in or new delivery companies like GrubHub or Postmates. Consumers have all kinds of choices to cater to their preferences, and the competitive lines are blurry at best.

Which brings us back to care delivery and marketing clinical services.

You’ve got digital therapeutics offered by independents like Livongo and health plans like United Health Group. In-home care is hot with payor-backed startups like Heal and Dispatch and the more established Landmark, which may confuse the marketplace for home health giant Amedisys. Primary care, you say? Maybe the most disrupted of all with companies ranging from OneMedical (younger, more affluent urbanites, but expanding) to Crossover Health (selling through self-insured employers) to Iora and Oak Street (65 and over). And, let us not forget virtual care. That’s virtual mental health, virtual primary care, virtual physical therapy, virtual you name it.

Who is delivering the care? How are they delivering it? What type of care are they delivering? And who are they delivering it to?

The answers to those questions today are much different from what they were not too long ago. And the deck of cards gets shuffled with each answer. The possibilities are staggering.

Whether you’re a large health system, a virtual care company, or a specialized care provider, it’s time to assess the situation. Here are three critical elements to consider:

1. Dissect the competition.

Be thorough and detailed. Examine what others are doing today and what they are likely to be doing tomorrow. Consider all the players who are trying to capture your patients’ attention around similar services, regardless of backing or size.

2. Build a new picture of your consumer.

The world has changed, there is No Normal, and most companies have a segmented view of their consumer based on demographics. (Folks, we can do better). But that’s not enough anymore. You’ve got to know how your targets differ from each other beyond their age, race, or gender so you can genuinely deliver on the promise of personalized marketing.

3. Rethink your product.

Are you meeting consumer expectations for convenience, experience, and quality when compared to the new competitive field? Are there ancillary services you need to add to your offering?

If we only learn one thing in 2020, it’s the importance of adjusting. And marketers who see the new picture of care delivery with eyes wide-open and a sense of optimism will see new possibilities to serve your organization and community.


September 1, 2020
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