Identify Your Key Advantage in Medical Tourism
One of the best ways to compete in the medical tourism industry is to identify and analyze your competition. If you do not know who your competitors are, it is likely that you are unable to customize your products and services to meet and beat your competition. Whether this competition is local, regional, or global, you must stay current on what your competition is doing and providing in the marketplace and at what price point.
In order to analyze your competition in the medical tourism industry, the medical centers should try to answer following questions:
Can you make a list of your top five or ten direct competitors in your medical field? Can you identify any indirect competitors for the medical treatments you offer? Do you know what your competitors are doing, i. e. what are the benefits of their treatments and how are they marketed? What are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in their medical practice? What do patients think about your competitors’ medical treatments and results? How are you going to position yourself in comparison to your competitors medical practice? Would it be meeting the competition? Beating the competition? Countering the competition? Are you competing on price, product, quality or another point of difference? There are 5 Ways to Perform Analysis in the Medical Tourism Industry
5 ways to perform competitor analysis in in the Medical Tourism industry:
1. Treatment Excellence
What are the key procedures you perform with high success rate? Remember that you will be in competition with doctors offering similar procedures locally, regionally and globally. The clearer you are in your offerings, the better prepared you will be.
For example, if you are a cosmetic surgeon and you have great results in performing the tummy tuck procedure, then you may search for other tummy tuck surgeons. Then, now and understand their prices, before and after results, location convenience, and patient reviews. This can prepare you to form a strategy how you will need to compete in this market segmentation offering unique value proposition not currently covered in the industry.
2. Customer Point of View
How do patients see you? Pretend you are a patient and search for similar medical procedures that you offer via print media, internet, phone books, and other avenues accessible to a patient. You will able to see where you stand on what a patient sees. This will also identify who you are competing with in the marketplace. Today, Internet and social media can help you identify emerging competitors in the marketplace. It is important to analyze your competition locally, as well as regionally to understand competition at various levels.
For example, if you are a dentist and you provide dental implants with high success rates, then you may search your local publications, billboards, phone listings, internet, and social media on how people perceive a demand for dental implants. If there are many dentists offering the same, it is critical to understand patient’s key decision making factors such as cost, type of implant, reviews, of your competition in order to develop your market strategy to compete successfully.
3. Market Point of View
Identify who are your direct competition in your industry, your market segment and your strategic group. Understanding competitor offerings such as promotional offers, bundling of services, extra patient care, aftercare services, etc. could be beneficial to design your program to gain competitive advantage.
For example, if you are an orthopedic surgeon, you can better understand your average cost of knee surgery in the local and regional level if you can review pre and post-care, bundling of services such as “all-inclusive” programs and complete price transparencies.
Understanding market trends and performing marketing research will help in understanding our customers better.
4. Identifying your Target Customers
Key to a successful practice is to clearly identify who your target audience is. Identifying and presenting your solution to targeted customers is more important than doing a shotgun approach were we are not targeting anyone but thinking that we can treat anyone and everyone.
For example, when a center in South Korea starts focusing only on American patients and any of the local, regional patients who were in their target market, the program will become unsuccessful as well as expensive. Marketing funds were trying to attract a patient base which was not there versus using same resources to attract Russian, Chinese, and Indonesians who were in the target markets.
5. Your Competitive Advantage
Listing your strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats objectively could be a very useful exercise to understand your actual positioning in the marketplace. Identifying your position using pre-defined industry established criteria such as price, inclusions, exclusions, customer service, pre and post care, etc.
Understanding political, economic, socio-cultural and technological environment in the medical tourism industry is essential to develop a strategy to gain competitive advantage. Medical centers not understanding these basic principles and focusing on random patient acquisition strategy rather than focused efforts are leaving the industry in a hurry – blaming the industry does not work. What medical centers in this industry do not understand have complete understanding of the market as well as competition to create a product that is conducive to the industry as well as competitive in the local and regional markets.
Understanding the competition is a process of planning, collecting and analyzing information that is available around us and decisions that we have to make. The competitive analysis is vital process which provides medical centers with the specific information about the market, allows you to develop specific market targets and helps in positioning your medical practice relative to your competitors.
Good competitive research can assist you greatly to position yourself in the medical tourism market, while poor or inaccurate research can lead you to make bad and expensive market decisions.