Putting Market Share in Perspective

A Point of View from Chris Bevolo
For many hospital marketers and their CEOs, market share is the ultimate measure of marketing success. In the “2010 State of the Art” survey highlighted in the last issue of Healthcare Strategy Alert, respondents listed the top area of marketing focus as “increase market share.” When asked to rate “measures of success” however, respondents listed market share third, behind awareness/preference and patient volume, a drop from its first place position in 2005. But this actually may not be a bad thing.

While market share is a critical metric, it’s what I call a relative metric, meaning its value is based on how it compares to other organizations. A competitive comparison is, of course, always treasured by leadership, but it should not be considered the ultimate measure of success. For example, increased market share in volumes for a specific service line doesn’t necessarily ensure increased revenue or margin. To measure these important financial data, using Return On Investment (ROI) would be a better choice.

There also are many variables that lie outside of marketing that can move your share up or down. The capacity of your physicians or facilities, and competitor moves are two of the biggest. The best approach is to identify as many variables as you can, work hard to control for their impact, and be transparent about how much marketing really drives any shift in market share.

Market share should be one of your top metrics, and will likely always be a hot point for leadership. But to demonstrate the true value of your marketing efforts, it’s best to employ a multifaceted approach to measuring success and keep market share in the proper perspective.

Chris Bevolo is a recognized thought-leader in healthcare marketing and branding. He is a fervent blogger and frequent keynoter on the topics of marketing, branding, innovation, the patient experience, and consumer trends. He is also is the author of two books, “A Marketer’s Guide to Measuring Results” and “A Marketer’s Guide to Brand Strategy.”  Chris is owner, founder and lead strategist of the Minneapolis-based healthcare marketing agency, Interval.

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