How To Create a Hospital Marketing Plan with Healthcare Success
Sweeping reforms of the nation’s health care system including the move from volume-based to value-added performance, the empowering of patients to make decisions about their care and quality incentives (bonus or penalty) mean that any marketing plan this year must be different from previous years. Start with a blank sheet and follow these tips to create a hospital marketing plan with healthcare success:
Clearly define the business aims and how to quantify and measure them. Match your marketing with the hospital’s top-level objectives. Add to these your most marketable and profitable hospital departments, ongoing programs and community endeavours. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Tangible.
In addition to finance, it’s important to provide the people, talent and time necessary to achieve goals. It is wiser to spend more on one highly successful campaign that makes a significant difference than spread money more widely on several efforts.
Check that strategic objectives are being met at least biannually. An honest, top-level evaluation of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to analyse and evaluate the marketing is an opportunity to find out the significant influences that are helping you succeed as well as those that are roadblocks to success.
Know your audience
A blanket approach is ineffective and wastes resources. The four primary considerations to define your target audiences precisely are:
- Geography: Where are they located?
- Demographics: What is there age, gender, etc.?
- Psychographics: What personality, lifestyle characteristics?
- Behaviour: What are their primary needs and wants?
Detailed research is required to reveal where patients are seeking care in the marketplace. Include retail medical clinics, pharmacy chains and independent medical groups in your research.
Strategies and tactics
To decide what elements are the most appropriate and effective in reaching goals, consider these six questions:
- How will this plan effectively communicate the unique value that distinguishes you from the competition and will be foremost in the mind of the public? (branding)
- What are the precision-targeted, cost-effective and compelling advertising efforts to reach, inform and attract people who can benefit from your services? (external marketing)
- What are the objectives, tools and tactics that communicate with your existing internal patient and referral base? (internal marketing)
- How engaging is your hospital’s online presence (optimized website, content-rich blog, pay-per-click advertising, social media)? (online marketing)
- What is the best system to assure the continuing and growing flow of referrals from healthcare professionals? (professional referrals)
- How will this plan extend community awareness and goodwill for free exposure opportunities in newspapers or broadcast media? (publicity and PR)
An effective hospital marketing plan produces measurable results. Success is knowing how the plan has achieved the intended goals and produced a quantified return on investment.