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Getting sick of the competitive noise

November 12, 2012

Dave Anderson

I was deathly sick last week. OK, it was just a simple cold but I thought every day was to be my last – and I let my wife know about it every chance I got. Of course, she and our two kids had the very same thing the week before but I didn’t hear a peep from them.  Why was I so vocal about my ailment? I’m sure it was my subconscious telling me that in this world, it’s those who communicate the loudest who receive the most attention in return. Or maybe I’m just a big baby.

Right or wrong, success – attention, in this case – is often achieved not by merit, but by those who do the most proactive outreach, and who are most vocal about their cause (i.e. the squeaky wheel). Here’s where my loving wife will chime in to say that too much self-promotion for an overstated cause can be annoying, and lead to your audience just tuning you out. She’s exactly right. The marketplace can become oversaturated with “noise” in no time, so you have to determine the appropriate level of communication for your particular audience and identify what is worthy of telling the world and what is best kept to yourself. In healthcare and healthcare IT, one of the best ways to do that is to understand the amount of communication your prospects are receiving from other parties.

In other words, before your organization gets too vocal, evaluate the quality and level of public and direct outreach that your competitors are putting forth:

  • How often are they sending out press releases, and does that include announcements for every new customer win?
  • How many times a day/week do they post to social media sites?
  • What are the regulatory and legislative issues that their spokespeople are addressing in the marketplace?
  • How often are your top tier publications featuring these perspectives in editorial content?
  • Is this level of focus on par with other issues and trends in healthcare or healthcare IT?
  • Are competitors actively engaged in the production of their own webinars and the securing of speaker engagements?
  • What’s their level of participation in major industry events like AHIMA, AHIP, HBMA, HFMA, HIMSS and MGMA?
  • Is there an indication that they are employing direct outreach to prospects in the form of corporate newsletters, direct mail and eblasts?
  • What publications, websites and events are they sponsoring through advertising promotion?

The tendency for some marketers is to push you to speak before you listen, but it is crucial to take the time to determine the appropriate level of communication and promotional outreach before engaging your audience. By conducting a communication evaluation of your competitors and developing that greater understanding of the noise level within your marketplace, organizations are better able to plan the level of outreach they’ll need to expend without being excessive. Believe me, it can mean the difference between your number one prospect offering to drive to the pharmacy for you, or deciding you deserve a roll of her eyes instead!

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