A blog is not enough space to do justice to the creation of a strategic marketing plan. However, I’m confident that I can give you a good overview of the process to get you started.
A good strategic marketing plan has four elements that make it successful. These include:
1. Goal(s). You should have one or two goals which enable your facility to reach its revenue and profitability objectives. Typically, my clients use budgeted overall census and/or skilled census as their goal. A number like budgeted census meets the criteria for goal; meeting budgeted census should, theoretically, enable the facility achieve its revenue and profitability objectives. It’s also a number that is measurable and specific.
2. Objectives. These are measurable and specific milestones that, when reached, mean you should have achieved your goal. The most common objectives I see used in marketing plans are admissions, discharges, conversion rates and referrals. There is a simple test to determine if an objective is a good one: If the facility reaches its goal but doesn’t reach its objectives, then the objectives are not the right ones. If the facility reaches its objectives, but doesn’t reach its goal, then the objectives are bad.
3. Strategies. Here are your general descriptions of how the facility will reach its objectives. Each facility should have different strategies based on their unique situations. The most common strategies employed include: increasing referrals from existing referral sources, developing new referral sources, maximizing conversion ratios through improving the admissions process, and increasing referrals through community-based marketing tactics.
4. Tactics. Or “action steps,” which are the specific individual activities your staff will engage to realize your strategies. What makes the marketing plan work is that your tactics are structured with three elements: the task, the individual on the team who’s responsible for completing the task and the timeframe for getting the task completed. Structured in this way, you can hold your team accountable to the action items and executing the marketing plan.
Below is a simple example of how strategies and tactics are structured.
Strategy: Increase referrals from existing referral sources.
Tactic: Conduct in-service with case management department responsible person: Director of Admissions. Date of Completion: March 31, 2011.
If you haven’t already written a marketing plan, you may want to consider doing so. Having a marketing plan keeps you and your team focused on what needs to be done to meet budgeted census—and it increases the chances that you will!