The 4 disciplines of a strategic marketing plan

One of the important actions taken by engaged administrators is the development of a strategic sales and marketing plan.

“A marketing plan outlines the specific actions you intend to carry out to interest potential customers and clients in your product and/or service and persuade them to buy the product and/or services you offer,” writes Susan Ward for Sales and marketing is simply a series of actions you and your team take to grow referrals/inquiries, admissions and revenue. Therefore, your strategic sales and marketing plan is just a list of actions you plan to take in the future.

I’ve simplified the planning process by helping define the types of actions we should take to grow our businesses. Your actions can be put into one of four categories: Product, Referral Sources, Consumer and Media.


These are actions you take to improve your product, program or services. Here are some examples:

  1. Developing a new program or service line
  2. Improving physical plant cleanliness and curb appeal
  3. Renovating
  4. Adding insurance contracts
  5. Improving admissions processes

Referral sources

Actions you take to create new relationships with referral sources or to improve existing ones. Here are some ways to engage your referral sources:

  1. Customer Service: During the referral process there are many opportunities to demonstrate your willingness to help professionals do their jobs.
  2. Education: Professionals who have patients or clients who would benefit from your programs and services benefit from knowing what you have to offer. Try one or all of these opportunities:
    1. In-services
    2. Vendor fairs
    3. Distribution of marketing materials
  3. Strategic Meeting: Meeting with a potential or existing referral source to learn about their needs and challenges, educate them about your solutions and identify opportunities to develop a deeper relationship.
  4. Customer Services Marketing Meeting: A meeting with an existing referral source during which you ask for feedback about the quality of your services and care and your customer service. I suggest having these meetings with your largest referral sources quarterly.
  5. Special Events: Social, professional networking and CEU events are opportunities to meet potential and provide value to existing referral sources.


Activities that enable you to have contact with potential residents and/or their caregivers should be an important part of your strategic sales and marketing plan. The opportunities are only limited by your creativity, but here are some ideas:

  1. Participation in community organizations (Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, etc.)
  2. Educational events that target consumers
  3. Social events
  4. Health fairs


Many different media forms and activities can help present your story (educate) and create a positive reputation for your organization in the market place including:

  1. Website and social media
  2. Traditional print, radio and TV advertising
  3. Direct mail
  4. Public relations (news about your program/facility) 

I encourage every client to have a strategic sales and marketing plan. Keep it simple and it will be easier to execute—sometimes the simplest plans are the best. Get buy-in from your key team members on the creation of the plan, have weekly meetings to discuss your progress towards executing the plan, celebrate your successes and retool the plan to take advantage of new opportunities.


Topics: Business Marketing Including Social Media and CRM , Executive Leadership