Healthcare and life, in general, are the same if you “plan nothing then you will achieve nothing.” In order to implement a healthcare program, a person will need to have a clear vision of what they wish to accomplish coupled with a strategy and enough resources to reach his or her goal. In the video, “Why Healthcare Practice needs a Marketing Plan?” it outlined the core reason why a healthcare plan is needed, three necessary considerations, and three distinguished strategies needed to executed a healthcare plan properly and efficiently.
When it comes to healthcare marketing, it is vitally important to have the required financial investment to complete such an undertaking. However, if you are a healthcare manager with the responsibility to develop and maintain a particular goal of an established healthcare organization, then you will have a budget that you will have to follow. It is important that goal with clearly defined steps in order to reach that goal in order to avoid wasting precious money and time.
There are also other risks that are involved when it comes to healthcare marketing. One obvious risk related to financial costs and obligations. It is common knowledge that many unknowns exist within healthcare organizations. Healthcare organizations are constantly adapting and changing with unforeseen storms ever present on the horizon. Having enough financial monies on hand to weather an potential storms could prove beneficial. There is also the risk of the endeavor not working at all hence, healthcare is a very competitive field. Another important risk of high value, is your reputation. No one wants to be noted in the community as not being able to start what he or she has finished. Doing so may classify yourself as foolish in the eyes of others. And if you are working for another company, you risk not only your reputation but your career may also be compromised.
There are three distinct marketing strategies also referred to as “marketing layers.” The first marketing strategy or layer is known as internal marketing. Internal marketing involves marketing to patients are existing clientele. For example, I work for a long term care facility owned by Signature Healthcare. The corporate executives want to utilize space in one of their large facilities for an adult day care center. The nursing home is located in a rural community with a limited population. Signature Healthcare already serves 150 patients and families in the area not including the 120+ employees working at the center. The first layer of marketing would include the resident’s families and fellow stakeholders. An information session would be held at the nursing home providing information and generating excitement for this wonderful community resource.
The next marketing strategy involves external marketing. External marketing involves consumer directed marketing. A market analysis of the community would include taking a close look at the number of elderly, handicapped, and those with special needs that are being cared for by family members that work outside the home. Marketing directed at that particular population would be the second marketing strategy.
The third and final marketing strategy involves professional referral marketing which includes physicians, nurse practitioners, and other peers. The long term care facility that is seeking to expand into the adult daycare arena already has a medical director who is a physician. There are also a significant number of other medical doctors that treat patients who reside at the long term care facility. Those physicians are currently treating many elderly people within the community that live at home and could benefit from use of an adult day program. This third marketing strategy could also be expanded to include the local hospital and other healthcare professionals in the area that treat not only local elderly, handicapped or special needs population but those who practice in nearby communities. The use of social media would also fit into this aspect of marketing. The use of Facebook has exploded in recent years and is a very useful resource in business marketing.
In conclusion, it is important to have carefully constructed business plan utilizing these three aspects of marketing. Healthcare is a business and it is required that a goal and strategies are carefully constructed with clearly defined steps outlined to achieve the desired results. Marketing is not a onetime endeavor and then you are done. It is ongoing with constant planning and adjustments required along the way. A healthcare entrepreneur must stay abreast of all technological advancements needed for his business and ongoing educational programs for the fellow stakeholders. One must always stay on top of the competition and aware of all changes in Medicaid, Medicare, and other insurance programs. It also beneficial to utilize proven business methods such as Lean Six Sigma and how it applies to healthcare, and teaching such methods to those you lead will prove invaluable.