As the New Year nears, many rural and community hospitals are beginning to think about their 2013 marketing strategy. With the ever-changing healthcare landscape, how does one prepare to educate their community about new regulations, services, physicians, and the countless other things that are important?
As someone who really enjoys the strategic planning process, I find this to be the perfect time of year to reflect on marketing communications initiatives over the past year. The key to a successful plan next year is to integrate your reflections into the planning process for your next strategic marketing communications plan.
For many communities, local healthcare is the most logical choice. The problem is, residents often don’t understand the breadth of services available to them. If that’s the case in your community, then an integrated marketing communications strategy is important to change perceptions and educate your audience.
As we progress into the last three months of the year, I challenge you to begin thinking about the following items. They will help you get a grasp of the next steps for creating your 2013 strategic plan.
Take a look back
Sit for a moment and reflect on this year as a whole. What lessons did you learn when you tried out that new social media strategy? What were some of the challenges of promoting new physicians and services? What worked? What didn’t? What would you have done differently, given the chance?
Take a look forward
New Year’s resolutions tend to get broken by the end of January, so instead of making resolutions, set some tangible and measurable goals. How are your patient satisfaction scores in 2012 and how high would you like to reach in 2013? Did you meet your volume goals? If not, what can you do differently to meet them next year?
Think about benchmarks you can achieve before each month ends. Achieving goals incrementally will keep you and your team on the ball throughout the year. Only through distinct benchmarks and creative strategies can the savvy administrator know what steps to take to meet and exceed goals.
Plan for success
Creating a written strategic plan is critical to achieving your goals, but it must not stop there. You need to incorporate timelines and assign responsibility to yourself and your team. By doing this important step, you will know who will be responsible for implementing the tactics and by when they must be completed.
Monitor: Today, tomorrow, and thereafter
So you’ve set some great goals for your facility and have outlined how to get there and who will help you achieve success. The next important element to include in your strategic plan is how to monitor progress.
This is where most hospitals fall short. If you fail to include (and stick with) a system for monitoring your program, you could potentially end up at the end of the 2013 with no results. So, I remind you to include methods of ensuring success.
The time is now
I invite you to start now to hit the ground running as you head into the New Year. As the market continues to change, it’s never been more important than to plan and remain committed to it. Don’t let a single day of 2013 be a missed opportunity.
If strategic planning is not one of your gifts, why don’t you give me a call at 214-528-5775? I’ll be glad to assist you in the development of a strategic marketing plan that will help make 2013 a great year.