Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking with several hospitals regarding strategic planning for 2014. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, establishing a clear understanding of your goals and how you are going to accomplish them through marketing communications is important.
As a strategist, I cannot stress enough the importance of a strategic marketing plan. Goals, budgets, strategy, tactics, and measurements outline expectations and where you hope to be by this time next year.
Too often, hospitals operate without a strategy because they simply do not know how to create one. In lieu, they initiate programs and tactics on-the-fly with no real understanding of its implementation and possible ROI.
Even worse, some might even be suckered (yes, I just said that) into an expensive program from a vendor or media outlet with no basis of measuring its success. That’s never good…
There are six important components of a hospital’s marketing strategy. Each help build your tactical implementation so you know who you’re going to communicate with, what you’re going to say, and how it might impact your goals.
Setting goals for your facility is important. It allows you the opportunity to work toward something meaningful. Goals for your facility might vary, but think of this in terms of patient volume, utilization of services, customer service scores, and margins.
Products and Services
Are there products or services that provide great margins for your hospital? Of course there are! Think about what you have to offer, where you want to improve volume/sales, and how you might benefit from advertising these profit centers to your target audience.
You wouldn’t walk out to the street and start talking with strangers, hoping you’d find someone who might be interested in your services. Same applies for marketing. It’s important to plan who you want to communicate with to help narrow how you will reach your ideal client.
Tactics and Measurements
Outline the strategy and tactics in your plan. When are you going to execute them? How much will be spent? These are some of the questions that should be answered in this component of your plan.
Regardless if you have a marketing manager or not, make sure each tactic has a person responsible for it. When you assign responsibility, make sure they get done! From your marketing manager, up to the CEO/administrator, everyone needs to be responsible – as appropriate – for the success of your facility.
Reviewing and assessing your marketing program is important. An ongoing assessment will help you understand how well your tactics are working and what, if any, changes need to be made so that you can reach your goals come year’s end.
While strategy may not be your forte, it is certainly mine. If you know you need help with planning for 2014, or would like a free consultation on how SRJ might benefit your hospital, I invite you to give us a call today at 214-528-5775. Let us put our more than 24 years of rural and community healthcare marketing experience to work for you. You’ll be glad you did!