Another method whereby dental practices can achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace is through product/service/treatment differentiation : having a sought after, valuable and unique offering for patients.
Cost competitive advantages can easily disappear with the introduction of a new competitor or advanced technology.
However, if a practice offers a unique product, treatment option or service, it is easier to maintain an edge in the market than if the advantage is based on price alone. To attain this privileged position, the practice must offer something significantly unique to the patient cohort, besides just low fees.
Differentiation involves making your treatments, products or services and their delivery, different from other practices.
This can typically involve features, functionality, durability, support, and also brand image that your patients may value. Aesthetically biased procedures are an obvious area to focus upon, but niche areas in reconstructive dentistry and oral medicine should not be discounted.
To make a success of a Differentiation strategy, practices need:
• Thorough research, development and innovation.
• The ability to deliver high-quality products, services and treatments
• Effective sales and marketing in all relevant channels, so that the patient cohort understands the benefits offered by the differentiated offerings.
Large organisations pursuing a differentiation strategy need to stay agile with their new product development processes. Otherwise, they risk attack on several fronts by competitors pursuing Focus Differentiation strategies in different market segments.
Differentiation strategies are amongst my favourite for dental practice growth and success, especially in small to medium size enterprises.
No doubt though is that the key differentiator often comes from the lead dentist or dentists with sound clinical skills, an empathic and gregarious nature and an efficient and engaging support team.
Add some innovation and an intuitive marketing team and watch the practice ignite!
Dr David Penn