The Battle for Market Share in an Evolving Healthcare Climate

7/25/2023 Beth Jackson

The Battle for Market Share in an Evolving Healthcare Climate

In the healthcare industry, the pursuit of both financial success and exceptional patient care has created a battleground for market share. Amidst market evolution and uncertainty, Healthcare Finance reports that over half of hospitals operated at a deficit in 2022, with some vulnerable to closure.

Driven in part by trends emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare landscape has undergone a profound transformation. Systems now face increased competition as non-traditional healthcare providers enter the fray, disrupting the market in unprecedented ways. 

Facing rising labor and supply costs, high inflation, and labor shortages, providers are forced to either adapt or risk survival. Here are four tips to help you increase revenue, optimize costs, and bolster brand awareness in order to remain competitive.

1. Prepare to battle for patient market share 

There are more viable healthcare options than ever before. Since their inception in the early 00s, non-traditional providers — including virtual health providers, retail clinics, and even national drugstore chains — have flourished. The National Institute of Health reports that in 2021, these industry disruptors carved nearly $3.5 billion out of the national healthcare market and saw a 21.5% growth during 2020. 

Additionally, Definitive Healthcare reports that since 2018 — even before the pandemic — the use of retail clinics has increased by 200%. These figures are driven by added convenience, shorter wait times for appointments, and a downward trend in seeing a primary care provider as reported by Primary Care Collaborative.

To retain and grow market share amidst these trends, your marketing efforts need to evolve to compete against emerging disruptors. Consider partnering with skilled experts to assess your current marketing communications to:

  • Enhance patient experience
  • Leverage data-driven marketing
  • Remain agile and adaptable

2. Shift to a targeted marketing approach 

In the past, healthcare marketing traditionally followed a generic approach. Today's consumers, however, expect relevant, personalized experiences — and have a wealth of options and information at their fingertips. Data-driven marketing allows you to tailor messaging to resonate with your audience, addressing their specific needs and building longevity, trust, and ROI. Three effective ways to implement a targeted approach include:

  1. Optichannel marketing strategies, which combine both digital and physical channels to deliver personalized messaging where your customers are most likely to engage
  2. List optimization services, which narrow down specific demographic, geographic, and behavioral data to enable personalization and increase marketing ROI 
  3. Partnering with a SOC2+-certified and HIPAA-compliant partner, which can achieve a targeted approach while also protecting patients’ privacy and adhering to the recent Office of Civil Rights (OCR) bulletin

USE CASE: A leading regional medical center sought ways to gain market share in a highly competitive local landscape. Using the center’s collected data, RRD deployed digital channels, direct mail programming, and list services to transform their existing static PDF newsletter into an optichannel campaign. Distributing a dynamic digital newsletter and printed direct mail piece, the medical center expanded their reach amidst increased competition.

Dive deeper into the topic of patient safety in the blog on United Ad Label’s website:
Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns 2023

3. Optimize your cost out and revenue generation 

Consistently evaluating both cost-out and revenue generation are vital for the long-term success of any healthcare system. A comprehensive cost analysis of your supply chain can reveal potential savings and inefficiencies within the system. Collaborating with an external consultant can help identify and eliminate redundancies and implement cost-saving measures.

USE CASE: A healthcare brand faced significant scale, speed, and capacity challenges relying on an internal print shop for marketing collateral. Outsourcing these business functions to RRD enabled significant efficiency improvements. Subsequent creative redesigns saved the brand nearly $500K and doubled their output speed.

To generate revenue, agile marketers must continually refine messaging. Analyzing campaign response rates and gathering audience data via surveys, interviews, focus groups, customer journey mapping, and predictive models can help create precision messaging.

USE CASE: A regional hospital system acquired a medical facility struggling with a poor community reputation. RRD’s Data, Insights, and Customer Engagement (DICE) team helped the company develop a series of focus groups to determine the origin of the unfavorable opinion and create a path forward. The focus groups identified specific pain points and subsequent action items to improve the facility’s reputation within the community. This information also enabled the hospital system to create targeted marketing campaigns.

4. Define your facility and specialties 

Trying to be everything to everyone is an outdated business approach. Promoting your facility’s strongest specialization — such as your role as a leading cardiology, orthopedic, or pediatric center — differentiates you from the competition. Patients loyal to a healthcare facility simply because they were born there are steadily being replaced by patients who make informed decisions based on their own research.       

Remove any obstacles to consumers learning what your healthcare system has to offer. If your system is renowned for a particular field, or if you’re investing in service plans or specialty facilities, it’s critical to communicate that to current and prospective patients.

Preparing for longevity

The past several years have left those in the healthcare field with strained budgets and increased competition. Amidst fiscal uncertainty and market evolutions, proactively addressing the following questions can help cultivate a “disrupt the disruptor” approach: 

  • Have you thoroughly assessed your system’s supply chain, processes, and programs? 
  • Are you implementing targeted, data-driven communications strategies to address your target audience's specific needs?
  • Are you effectively educating your target audience about your unique specializations?
  • Are there new facilities or programs in your future that your community should know about? 

Whether it’s on your own or with an SOC2+-certified and HIPAA-compliant partner, it’s critical to answer these questions to ensure future survivability. 


Beth Jackson is RRD’s RVP of Sales and Growth with a specialized focus in the Provider and Population Health sector. Learn more about RRD's Provider Solutions.

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