Shooting the Messenger: Sure-Fire Help for Your Competition

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

"Don't shoot the messenger" sticky note on cork boardEconomists and other experts will champion the positive implications of competition in business.

Be it hard products or intangible services, competition in the marketplace tends to benefit both the consumer and the enterprise with purchase options, innovation, price/cost influences and other considerations.

As we all know, competition in healthcare was one of the driving factors in the Affordable Care Act. And, as we also know, the unintended (and often negative) consequences of competition in health care marketing have been a major upheaval among physician practices, medical groups and hospitals.

It’s a whole new ballgame for most provider businesses, and the startling wakeup call is that many practices aren’t reacting well to the unexpected and steady erosion of market share. And what’s even more troubling is—despite the seismic shift in the landscape—some organizations would prefer to believe that continuing to do what they’ve done in the past is going to produce different and better results.

You can’t play a new game by old rules…

With frightening regularity, we will encounter a shrinking healthcare business that intellectually sees the competition, but emotionally rejects the need to market aggressively and defensively. For those situations—where they would prefer to shoot the messenger—here is a reality check:

We can assure you that your biggest competitors

do not share your misgivings about marketing.

 Not only are they going to continue to invest in winning new business from you, they are actually thrilled that you aren’t spending anything to slow their success or enhance your prospects of your own survival.

Your competition is perfectly willing to let you to do little or nothing (as you have done in the past.) It’s a big part of the reason that the competition is winning.

What to do instead…

One course is to do nothing and let the competitive tide continue to erode your business. It’s not pleasant news to absorb, but as a responsible marketing advisor, I can only offer the advice and direction that I believe they need. But at the end of the day, if “the patient” would rather shoot the messenger the outcome will continue to be disappointing.

The better alternative is to decide to chart a new course in this new environment. And while the road ahead may still be bumpy, consider the advice of Peter Drucker: “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

For more on this topic, read: Competition is Increasing Rapidly and Dramatically, and Underestimate the Competition: Critical Medical Advertising Mistake #9.

Give us a call if we can help. But please don’t shoot the messenger.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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