Marketing plan development is the most important step in executing a solid hospital marketing initiative. After receiving business objectives, the marketing team should create a plan to address the objectives. If the business objective is to increase market share by 2%, the marketing plan would include budget, initial measurement, research, campaign strategy, measureable campaign performance indicators, media schedule, creative strategy and projected outcomes.
Here are the elements of the plan in further detail:
[quote]In a landscape with limited resources, it is important to properly estimate the amount of funds to be designated to each project.[/quote] Underestimating the financial and resource cost may create problems or, in some cases, may jeopardize the initiative. When allocating resources, planners must remember to take into account aspects such as personnel, project costs, technological considerations (web hosting platforms, project management systems) and design and printing fees.
Choosing the correct performance indicators is contingent upon knowing what is important to the hospital or service line. If the goal is to increase awareness of a new medical unit, increasing the hospital’s email list is not necessarily the best performance indicator; better metrics may include the number of new customers acquired, or data measured by patient questionnaires. Delineating these as part of the marketing plan will help hospitals keep relevant data sets, which can be useful in evaluating campaign success in future marketing efforts or in budgeting.
A media schedule will help a company keep track of assets, project launch dates, costs and hours worked. The media schedule should be careful to take into consideration both digital and print media schedules, as well as social media pages and the resources required to keep them up-to-date.
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The creative strategy needn’t encompass every piece of creative work expected throughout the course of the year; rather, it should focus on only the baseline message, assets and resources. The creative strategy should help copywriters and art directors see the bigger picture of the marketing plan and can help the creative team adhere to these guidelines throughout the year.
Predictions help solidify goals. If, for example, performance indicators show that the campaign is coming up short of desired outcomes, this offers leeway for the team to amend the project, conduct a post-mortem and to determine the cause of the shortcomings. Over time, a collection of data can help the team to stay on course to help ensure growth and stability within the hospital.
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