Medical Practice Marketing: External Analysis

Part 4: The purpose of “How to Market Your Practice” is to give physicians a realist view of what “Marketing Your Practice” is really all about. It will not only explain how important it is to market to payors, referring physicians and the general public but most importantly WHY. It will establish the need for goals and objectives and ways you can reach them. If you are seriously considering marketing your practice, the following information will clarify and answer questions you may have and show you how to get started.
IV. External Analysis
After you have looked at your practice internally, it is time to look externally. Learning and understanding your market is vital to the success of your practice. An external analysis will allow you gain insight into the communities your service. In evaluating your demographic area, you will see where and how your practice fits within your community. You will learn there are several external factors that are crucial to identify and understand for the success of your practice.

  1. Demographic analysis of the areas your serve
    It is very important to know the demographic area that your practice services. You need to know what your community has to offer and where it is going within the next five to 10 years. This will allow you to gain insight to every aspect of your community. The only way to truly know your community is to gather, review and analyze the collected data. You may be surprised as to what you find out. Here are a few examples of what you will need to evaluate.

    A. General overview of the area
    B. Population / Age Median
    C. Cost of Living / Income Data
    D. Employment / Unemployment

  2. Specialty Analysis
    Within the specialty analysis, you will begin to understand your “market”. It is important to realize how your specialty of care fits into the communities you service. By defining and understanding your specialty of care “market”, you will begin to know which direction to put forth your efforts. You must identify who else is practicing within your market and what their services and plan of action are for the present and future. If you don’t, others will capitalize on “your patients” and you will see a decrease in your volume and not understand why or know what to do about it.

    A. Understanding of your specialty of care -

    • What is your specialty?
    • Who else is treating those specialty patients (chiropractors, orthopaedics, internal medicine, etc.)?
    • What are the national statistics of the injuries/disorders/diseases that your specialty treats?
    • What is your state laws regarding workers’ compensation?

    B. Where is your specialty of care being provided? -

    • Office
    • Hospital
    • Etc.

    C. Payment of your specialty of care

    • Who is paying for the product (i.e. Managed Care, Self-pay, workers’ compensation, etc.)?

      D. Promotional medians

    • What promotion vehicles are available in your market?
    • Print (newspapers, magazines, hospital publications, etc.)
    • TV
    • Radio
    • Billboard
    • Education (i.e. employer safety meetings, workers’ compensation meetings, study groups, health fairs, etc.)
    • Public speaking (i.e. community awareness, health fairs, etc.)

  3. Competitive Analysis
    It is vital that you know your competition. Remember that competition is good and people today want choices when deciding on a physician. The key to success is finding ways to set your practice above and apart from the competition. You will have to use your own strengths and opportunities and capitalize on your competition’s weaknesses and threats. It is important that you do not get caught up in doing everything that your competition does. Carefully evaluate the marketing strategies of your competition but stick to your own strategic marketing plan. Be proactive, not reactive. Remember that your competition has vulnerabilities too! Find them and use them to your advantage.

    A. Who are they?
    B. Where they?
    C. How many physicians do they have?
    D. What are their strengths?
    E. What are their weaknesses?

Updated on: 12/09/09
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Practice Marketing: Mission, Goals and General Marketing

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