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Know thy enemy. Competitor research can assist even the biggest healthcare business.

Business professional doing research on their competitors.

How crucial is understanding your competition?

You know your own product or service from top to bottom, but do you know it in context? Competitive research is just that, knowing about everything beyond your business. With contextual knowledge, you'll understand how your marketplace works. You’ll also get a perspective on how to position your brand within the wider world.

Right now, the healthcare market is becoming more and more competitive. Mergers are going on between large companies, and disruption is happening via startups at the fringes. Overall, the market is expanding, which also shows up in spending growth.

Approximately 8 out of 10 adults see at least one health professional annually. From 2011 to 2015, spending on prescription drug ads increased 60 percent, reaching $5.2 billion. In the coming years, healthcare spending is set to soar over $3.4 trillion.

There is no shortage of new opportunities. The best in their field will find ways to cut costs, improve quality, and increase innovation. Top performers are smart competitors. They know how to make breakthroughs in market dynamics. How can you make a breakthrough in the market?

Why should you do competitor research?

Many businesspeople, especially entrepreneurs, enjoy new ideas. They focus on improvements, features, or nice-to-haves. They are less concerned with where they fit into the landscape of supply, demand, and competition.

Many companies try to get beyond this stage by doing competitor research. Although they do the research, most don’t formalize the process. This strategy is fine if it works. However, it’s hard to justify your strategy to leadership and get buy-in for further action without documentation.

Just by beginning a documented competitor-research plan, you’ve already got the jump on some of your competition.

What does competitor research look like?

Competitor research is the process of tracking what other prominent businesses are doing. By looking at how other firms behave, you can gain a broader perspective on your operations.

Some research might include:

  • What competitors say about themselves
  • What their customers say about them
  • How to better target customers
  • What the broader economy is doing
  • What opportunities exist outside your current scope

Competitor research provides vital knowledge about your product, price, and campaigns. After synthesizing all the insights, you should be able to see where your branding needs improvements.

How is competitor research done in healthcare?

A laptop and cell phone alongside a stethoscope portraying the involvement of technology in the healthcare industry.

First, decide if you want to stay in-house or outsource the process. Evaluate how much time and money each scenario would cost. It might be cheaper and easier to do competitor research internally. However, professionals in this area have experience and can be more objective.

Next, go about the research in a systematic and organized way. Document the steps of your research. For example, keep a list of your sources and the data or statistics you will use from them. Staying organized will help you to justify any actions or decisions you make as a result.

What factors should you consider in competitor research? Some things to include are:

  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Mission statements
  • Unique selling points
  • Amount, value, location, and psychographics of customers
  • Leads
  • Prices
  • Total market value

Remember, this document doesn’t have to be a masterpiece of data analytics. It could be as simple as a spreadsheet and an executive summary. However, make sure it's updated regularly to keep up with marketplace changes.

If you get stuck, try to think like your customer. By doing so, your competitors’ information becomes more than mere theory. Go where customers go. Visit your competitors’ websites and place of business. Alternatively, try secret shopping — you can do it yourself or hire a service.

Don’t just visit physical stores. Visit their online locations, too. There are also plenty of free web tools out there for monitoring internet presence, including Google alerts, social mention, Twitter, and RSS feeds. Plus, many public records and listing agencies provide a good summary of most large businesses.

By defining and characterizing your competitors, you get a closer insight into what matters — your customers. Competitor research can help you clarify your target market. After pinpointing your audience, change your branding to highlight differences between you and your competitors.

Find the gaps in your brand using smart technology

“Know thyself, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” — Sun Tzu.

Some in business might consider competitors as "enemies." Others might see competition as a necessary evil in pursuit of creating a better product or service.

Whatever your feelings about competitors, you need to know what your neighbors are up to. Without sales and marketing insights on your competitors, you won’t see your operations in the proper perspective.

Triptych is an expert when it comes to aligning your sellers and marketers to target higher financial goals. Our solutions are already up and running in some of the largest healthcare companies, saving significant time and money. Find out how our sales enablement solution works.