July 7, 2023

Big Box and Big Tech : Competition where we most & least expect it

It’s common knowledge that not every segment of our healthcare industry operates with lucrative margins. Strict regulatory guardrails, expensive R&D costs and complicated rules of play have kept even the largest of corporate giants out of the space – until now.

Today, nearly 20% of the U.S. GDP is healthcare-related. The sheer size of healthcare expenditures, coupled with patient demand for better outcomes and easier access, is drawing outside players. Spurred on by the attention started by COVID-19 and perpetuated by our 24-hour news cycle, more and more firms are looking for a piece of the action.

Retail leaders disrupting the healthcare landscape

To no surprise, the first to dive into the pool were firms with the existing infrastructure and a logical fit. Players like CVS and Walgreens are leveraging acquisitions and joint partnerships. They are currently doubling down on healthcare tech investments, with the opportunity to rapidly scale across their large brick and mortar footprints and expansive network of care providers.

Non-healthcare retail leaders like Target, Walmart and Amazon are also diving into this space. Walmart is currently dabbling in telemedicine, primary care clinics and health screenings by partnering with health insurance providers to offset care costs for their customers. Amazon is taking the inverse approach, capitalizing on its wide digital network to partner with companies like PillPack (medication dispensing) and Health Navigator (telehealth) to revolutionize patient access to care.

Tech giants harnessing the power of data in healthcare

Historic Silicon Valley tech leaders, including Google and Apple, continue to stake out their territory by leveraging both hardware and software to improve patient monitoring systems. These tech giants possess a wealth of customer data and insights, which they can harness to bridge the gap between providers and patients. Tech-driven solutions that reduce overall healthcare costs by improving patient outcomes and providing earlier detection will mean big money for firms who lead the way.

New competition on the block

Big health systems and investment firms also aren’t shying away from a decoupled market. Big health systems are entering even larger joint partnerships. One key area of interest: Digital technologies that expand their reach through virtual delivery of care. Meanwhile, investment, venture capital, and private equity firms are snapping up smaller healthcare startups, and hedging their bets with both new innovation and existing brand leaders.

Navigating transformation

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, existing organizations may find it difficult to keep up with new competition while adapting to changing consumer demands.

No player is off the table, and a consistent pulse on the industry for these established organizations is key. On the road ahead, we can expect a continued expansion of competition, which will require flexibility and openness to disruption in your organization’s current perceptions. Digitally-led, consumer convenient models are here to stay. How can the savvy marketer stay competitive during this evolution? Here’s a good starting point:

  • Clarify your brand message. Be sure the vision, mission and messaging you communicate are distinct, relevant, and strategically sound.
  • Know your core audiences. Not just in terms of demographics, psychographics and geography, but in terms of how their demands and expectations are changing.
  • Broaden your “competition radar.” While your traditional rivals will still be a factor, your real future competition may be coming from outside players and emerging disruptors.
  • Re-examine your alliances. Are your current partnerships the best strategic fit for tomorrow’s challenges? Are you overlooking any potential allies?
  • Keep innovating. The best response to competition from outside innovators is to outpace them — in your strategic direction, in your service offerings, and in your marketing. 

If you are looking for a partner who is nimble and positioned to evolve with you, consider Schaefer Advertising. Our team of experienced professionals brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and creativity to the table, helping you to effectively address your challenges head on. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.