As with many industries that are closely associated with an aging population, the audiology industry in the United States is currently experiencing a surge in demand. The mighty baby boom generation is reaching the life stage where hearing loss becomes more common, which leads to some staggering growth projections.
- The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that a third of U.S. adults between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and almost half of those older than 75 experience hearing difficulties.
- The U.S. Census Bureau has projected that the U.S. population age 65-84 will reach more than 73 million people by the year 2030, up from approximately 46 million in the year 2016. In 2030, this age cohort will represent an estimated 20 percent of the U.S. population.
- The need for audiology services is growing globally. The World Health Organization projects that more than 900 million people worldwide will have disabling hearing loss by 2050.
Clearly, the increased demand means there are growth opportunities for audiology service providers. But what’s the right strategy for growth?
At Buxton, we’ve spent decades helping retailers, healthcare organizations, and other consumer service providers map their growth strategies. Time and again we’ve seen that simply opening locations in “good” shopping centers or medical centers isn’t enough to guarantee success. It’s critical to bring science to the process of growth. Here’s how.
1. Know Your Consumer Profile
Start by defining the profile of the consumers you are trying to reach. While age is an important component, it doesn’t tell the full story. Which consumers are more likely to be willing to seek treatment? Of those, which are more likely to choose your organization for that treatment? Consider the role that behaviors and lifestyles play in influencing purchasing decisions.
2. Develop a Site Score Model
Develop a site score model that accounts for the factors that influence the performance of each location. These factors may include your consumer profile, demand metrics, existing audiology service provider supply metrics (competition), and more. If desired, you can use a pre-built audiology site score model developed by an analytics partner to speed up the implementation process and reduce costs.
3. Identify Opportunity Markets
Using your site score model, your analytics partner can help you conduct an analysis to identify markets that present your best growth opportunities. You can even zero in on the specific trade areas within those markets where you should concentrate your growth efforts.
4. Market Your Facilities Effectively
Picking the right markets and real estate is only half the battle. Don’t stop there! Marketing is an important component in a successful growth strategy. Use your consumer profile or a marketing model to identify the households that are most likely to be interested in your services. You can then conduct marketing campaigns targeting those households to raise awareness of your services and grow your patient base.
The Bottom Line
The audiology industry is poised for tremendous growth in the coming years. Provider organizations that use science to plan their growth strategy will ultimately be better positioned to capture market share and meet the growing consumer need.
Need help mapping the growth strategy for your audiology services? Buxton can help. Explore our suite of healthcare analytics solutions.