Competing Against the Virtual Unknown

 In Competing in a Crowded Market

From matchmakers like to clearinghouses like A Place for Mom to support service providers like Papa, the virtual landscape of senior care is expanding rapidly. The same data we all see on the growth of the senior care market is inspiring innovations big and small. Providers can’t help but look at this changing landscape and wonder, is this a good thing? Should I be building connections with these platforms or working around them? Are these services going to grow my business or make us obsolete?

The temptation with anything new is to feed it or kill it. But, for better or worse, this genie is not going back into the bottle. Just look at the taxi industry’s unsuccessful battles against Uber and Lyft.

Resist the urge to fight the new and instead, improve the ability of your organization to weather new threats by doing this:


Become truly great at something.

Pick an area of specific greatness that truly and deeply reflects your agency’s strengths, values and vision for the future. We’re not talking about the blocking-and-tackling basics of care here; we’re talking about the experience of your care or expertise.

For example, one provider we guided through this process selected empowering patient choice as their area of greatness. Their intake processes already focused on deeply understanding patient goals of care through an approach rooted in emotional intelligence.

Another provider chose patient guidance as their focus because they were willing to talk with anyone about any kind of senior care need, even if it meant helping that patient go on a competitor’s service because it was a better fit.



Instill your chosen area of greatness into everything you do.

The provider who chose empowering patient choice started taking that lens to every process and discipline in the organization. Intake processes became stronger, response times quicker, and families and referral sources were more satisfied. Culturally, the organization became stronger too as new light was shed on legacy behaviors and systemic issues that were inhibiting patient choice.

Building your area of greatness into a new positioning theme and messaging framework is just the tip of the iceberg.


Embrace technology to enhance your greatness.

Care doesn’t have to be in person to be personal and personalized. In fact, because telemonitoring technologies provide 24/7 support, providers have more information to use to personalize care. Integrate video chat, as one of our clients does, and you quickly support patients and families with empathetic communication and care. By embracing technology, providers can offer the convenience and responsiveness of virtual providers, augmented by their personalized care that comes from your deep relationships with patients and family.



Build on your greatness.

Regularly look at new offerings and partnerships that elevate your chosen area of greatness and mesh with your vision, mission and values. This is the space where so many organizations struggle. They define an area of greatness, they pay attention to it for a year or two, and then other operational needs take precedence. Build dedicated space into your senior team conversations for cultivating your area of greatness. Done well, adopting this kind of continuous improvement mindset will keep you thinking ahead, reducing the likelihood of getting beat by a competitor and more importantly, better serving the needs of your target audience.

Have you selected an area of greatness for your team? I’d love to hear what’s working well for you or what challenges you’re facing, contact Stephanie Johnston at Your feedback may be incorporated into an upcoming research project. If that happens, we’ll be glad to give you a complimentary copy of our findings.

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