There were several actions that needed to take place both for general marketing for the practice as well as specific marketing initiatives for different customer groups.
Putting the strategic marketing plan in writing
Now that the practice had defined where they wanted to go, it was time to put it in writing. The mission statement, goals, objectives, and actions plans were documented. Specific employees were held accountable for each action point within the Strategic Marketing Plan. This gave the entire practice, from the physician to the staff, a complete understanding of not only what their goals are, but the importance of successfully completing each assignment within the given timeframe.
The Strategic Marketing Plan was developed in approximately 90-days. The Plan included a mission statement, specific goals, objectives, actions plans, and a budget.
The Strategic Marketing Plan addressed how the practice would market directly to workers' compensation referral sources in both states. The Plan included goals to educate, establish relationships, and develop a positive reputation for the services the practice offers.
Defining the general marketing plan
The marketing efforts first addressed General Marketing. General Marketing included designing a logo used to create a branded image, preparing and distributing an image brochure about the practice, setting up phone book advertising, and ordering specialty items imprinted with the practice's logo. The specialty items would be used at workers' compensation events, health fairs, and when sponsoring general community activities.
A database containing information about referring physicians, workers' compensation representatives, and media contacts was created and maintained. Quarterly newsletters were designed as educational tools to feature the practice and its cutting-edge treatments. These were distributed to different referral sources within the defined geographic draw. The targeted market included referring physicians from multiple specialties, insurance companies, third-party administrators, self-insured employers, and nurse case managers.
Defining the marketing plan to payors
Some marketing efforts to workers' compensation payors - insurance providers, third-party administrators, employers, self-insurers, and others - were already in place. The practice continued to support their local workers' compensation organizations and their annual conferences. Satisfaction surveys were created and distributed to all workers' compensation representatives, third-party administrators, employers, and self-insurers.
The physician provided presentations to local employers and self-insurers. Further, the physician visited local employers to tour their facilities to gain a better understanding of their employees' work environments and participated in numerous health fairs to promote employee safety. Holiday gifts were distributed to all local workers' compensation representatives in appreciation of their support throughout the year.
Defining the marketing plan to referring physicians
The physician provided presentations to local hospitals for educational purposes. A referring physician's satisfaction survey was created and distributed to monitor the level of service provided by the practice. The practice worked with local hospital media relations departments for interviews to be presented in their hospital newsletters. Holiday gifts were distributed to local physicians in appreciation of their support throughout the year, as well as holiday cards sent in donation of the referring physician's name to a local non-profit organization.
Defining the marketing plan to the general public
The practice participated in local health fairs and fitness expos to promote injury awareness and show its support to the community. A patient satisfaction survey was created and implemented enabling the practice to identify what was working and where they could improve.
A public relations campaign was launched to promote specific cutting-edge procedures unique to the area. Relationships with key media contacts were established and provided invaluable recurring publicity.
The physician wrote an article for a local healthcare publication, participated in television and newspaper interviews on new procedures, and community injury education. As a result, the physician's reputation and recognition levels increased dramatically.
Developing an internet presence: practice website
The practice developed a website that included an in-depth look at pain management. The website presented information about diagnosis, treatment options, and cutting-edge minimally invasive procedures that were not available from other local physicians. To increase traffic, the website was designed to participate in a network of pain management websites.
Tracking and planning marketing plan results
The results of the workers' compensation, referring physician, and patient satisfaction surveys were compiled and distributed to the physician and his staff. Monthly reports were developed to monitor the number of referrals (e.g. increase/decrease), the referral source (e.g. referring physicians, workers' compensation representatives), and revenue.
The Strategic Marketing Plan provided the practice a Planning Calendar used to closely monitor activities related to meeting goals and objectives. Ideas for future marketing efforts were listed and maintained for consideration in next year's plan.
The main goal of the practice for the first year was to increase revenue 20% by year-end. At year-end the practice had achieved a 26% increase in revenue from the prior year. This increase was far more than what the practice was anticipating. The total amount budgeted for the marketing effort was less than 0.07% of the total gross revenue for the year. In addition, the practice saw a 58% increase in new patients over the previous year. An orthopedist was added to handle the increase in new patients.
After the first year, the physician and his staff were sold on the idea of marketing. They realized that the medical industry was changing and marketing their practice was a positive step forward. The practice was tactful in their marketing approach and it is evident they were doing things right. In fact, the public image and awareness of the practice is five times what it had been in the past. It is amazing to see how far the practice has come over the past year and the places that they are daring to go in the future.