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Virtually every business in the world has a competitor of some kind. Coke versus Pepsi, iPhone versus Samsung, and the list goes on and on. Competition is good. It provides consumers with choices. When it comes to healthcare, choices can bring life-saving options to patients.

As healthcare is transformed to a commodity, competition grows fiercer. Organizations are realizing the importance of standing apart from their competitors to get a bigger slice of the pie. Understanding your competitors allows you to make more strategic decisions in order to expand, market and sell more effectively.

A competitive analysis is much more than simply knowing what your competitor’s website and social media pages look like. When a competitive analysis is correctly performed, important intelligence is gained. This intelligence can help determine weaknesses in the marketplace, identify trends and more effectively meet the needs of your target audiences.

How to Identify the Real Competition

There are two types of competitors, direct and indirect. Indirect competitors are those who offer different services but satisfy the same consumer need. Direct competitors offer the same or similar services. You should focus your research on direct competitors; however, indirect competitors can easily become direct competitors by shifting their service and product line. Keeping radar on indirect competitors allows you to be on guard for any shifts in the market.

What Kind of Competitive Intelligence Should You Gather?

Marketing 101 taught us about how to create a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). In order to develop a SWOT analysis for your competition, you need to clearly understand their business, their sales process and how they are marketing.

The result of a competitive analysis should answer the following questions:

  • Who are my top three competitors?
  • What services and products do they offer?
  • Do they have multiple locations? If so, where?
  • How big are they?
  • What is their market share?
  • What is their pricing structure?
  • What insurances are they participating providers for?
  • Who is their target patient?
  • What is the patient perception of the competitor?
  • What is the competitor doing well?
  • What is the competitor doing poorly?
  • Are they expanding?
  • Do they offer discounts for the services and products they offer?
  • How can you differentiate your practice from the competition?
  • What is their marketing strategy?
    • Are they on social media?
    • Are they blogging?
    • Are they using paid search?
    • How is their website?
    • Where do they rank compared to you on search engines?
    • What are they doing to attract the media?

By taking the time to carefully uncover your direct competitors and how their business compares to yours, you can make informed strategic decisions. A competitive analysis will help you not only market your medical practice better; it will allow you to run your business better.