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1 BSM Connection elearning Course Developing a Marketing Plan 2008, BSM Consulting All Rights Reserved.

2 Table of Contents OVERVIEW...1 DEVELOPING YOUR MARKETING PLAN...1 Step 1: Conduct Market Research...1 Step 2: Define Goals and Objectives...2 Step 3: Identify Strategies and Tactics...3 Step 4: Create an Implementation Plan...3 Step 5: Establish Measurement Criteria and Adjust Plan When Needed...4 THE MARKETING BUDGET...5 TRACKING AND MEASUREMENT...5 Telephone Lead Tracking...5 Cost Per Lead Analysis...6 Conversion of Leads to Procedures...7 Reporting...8 CONCLUSION...8 COURSE EXAMINATION , BSM Consulting

3 OVERVIEW Achieving success with your marketing strategies is the result of teamwork, skill, and most importantly, a well-defined plan of attack. Developing a marketing plan is an ongoing process. It involves more than just placing an ad in a newspaper, conducting a patient seminar, or direct mail to residents in the community. In fact, random efforts like these may only drain the practice budget and reduce profitability. A good marketing plan will outline realistic steps for both establishing and expanding your practice and can be used as a working tool to guide your efforts and monitor progress (not put away on the shelf to gather dust). In a previous module on marketing Introduction to Marketing, we provided an overview of marketing an ophthalmology practice, identified ways to ensure practice readiness, and addressed internal and external marketing strategies. This companion module, outlines a process for developing a marketing plan, illustrates tools for plan development, and provides tips for successful implementation. DEVELOPING YOUR MARKETING PLAN When developing your plan, keep it simple. Stay focused on establishing realistic goals, and identify action items and protocols for implementation of the plan with timelines for completion and measurement of results. We recommend the following five-step process. FIVE-STEP PROCESS FOR DEVELOPING YOUR PLAN Step 1: Step 2: Step 3: Step 4: Step 5: Conduct market research (external and internal). Define goals and objectives for the practice. Identify strategies and tactics. Create an implementation plan with timelines, responsible parties, and budget. Establish measurement criteria and adjust the plan as needed. STEP 1: Conduct Market Research Successful internal and external marketing is information dependent. To implement an effective plan, you must understand your market by conducting external and internal research. External Research The first element of external research is to assess the demographics of your market, as well as your target market, if applicable. 1. Identify the size of your market and study growth trends for your area. 2. Assess consumer demographics such as age, sex, race, income, lifestyle, etc. This information is available through the U.S. Census website, 3. Define your existing service area using cities, counties, or other boundaries. 4. Define your desired expanded service area. Next, it is essential to assess and understand your competition. Evaluate how they compare to your practice by looking at the number of providers, location(s), service offerings, strengths and weaknesses, community perception, their marketing strategies and tactics, pricing, and how they differentiate themselves in the market. The following grid illustrates a format which can be used to summarize your findings. To complete the analysis, ask for feedback from your physicians, staff, referring providers, family, friends, and professional colleagues. 2008, BSM Consulting 1

4 EXTERNAL RESEARCH SUMMARY FORM Practice Number of MDs Location Services Offered Strengths Community Perception Marketing Strategies Pricing Strategies Differentiation Your Practice Competitor #1 Competitor #2 Competitor #3 Internal Research Prepare an internal assessment or practice profile to define who you are, what services you provide, who your patients are and what services they need, and whether your practice and staff are prepared to implement new services and take on additional patient flow. Your internal assessment should include the following components: 1. The background and history of the practice, as well as the practice mission statement. 2. Practice strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis). 3. Patient demographics (age, sex, race, income, lifestyle, insurance coverage, chief problems, etc.). 4. Services you provide and which patients need them. 5. The practice image. Use patient satisfaction surveys to assess patients perceptions and referring provider surveys to identify community perception of your practice. 6. The needs of potential patients and what must be done to meet those needs. 7. Capacity issues, such as staffing, physical plant, next available appointment, etc. STEP 2: Define Goals and Objectives Whether you are focused on promoting and building your existing service offering or initiating new services, the goals and objectives of the practice must be aligned with the needs of current and potential patients. Use your market research to identify opportunities for growth. Patient demographic data, a profile of your existing patient base, and an assessment of unmet or underserved needs will help you prioritize new services. A review of your competitive assessment brings into focus offerings that will provide your practice with a clear, competitive edge. This information will guide you in development of your goals and objectives. Make sure you align your goals with the needs of both existing and potential new patients. Establish realistic short- and long-term goals. Short-term goals are things you want to accomplish within the next 12 months. Long-terms goals provide a future plan for the practice to be realized in the next one to five years. As you consider both short and long-term goals, make sure they are realistic and achievable. SAMPLE GOALS Goal #1: Become a market leader in the delivery of refractive surgery services. Short Term: Increase refractive surgery volume from an average of 50 procedures per month to 75 per month within the next 12 months. Long Term: Within three years, capture 35% of the available market share for refractive surgery procedures. 2008, BSM Consulting 2

5 STEP 3: Identify Strategies and Tactics Once you have completed your market research and identified goals and objectives, you can begin to develop strategies and tactics that meet the needs of your market and align with your practice goals. After a strategy has been developed, create tactics (activities) that will be implemented to execute your strategy. Strategies and tactics are defined as follows: Strategies: Tactics: Provide long-term direction for the practice. Support your mission statement. Link to practice goals. Capitalize on practice strengths. Take advantage of opportunities. Outline action items or specific steps needed to implement the strategy. Strategy: SAMPLE STRATEGIES AND TACTICS Develop and execute an extensive customer service initiative that further enhances the brand identity of our practice. Support this effort by implementing a company-wide, customer service training initiative and enhancing the look and feel of our internal marketing and patient education tools. Tactics: 1) Develop a customer service committee comprised of key staff members. 2) Give the committee the mandate to improve our customer service. 3) Implement a patient satisfaction survey for each of our offices and providers. 4) Implement ongoing customer service training for all staff members. 5) Implement a satisfaction survey of our referral sources. 6) Facilitate regular patient education seminars. STEP 4: Create an Implementation Plan The implementation plan becomes a roadmap for successful execution of the goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics you have identified. The plan should include the following: 1. Program to be Implemented and Action Item: This should include details regarding the specific marketing campaign, such as radio ad for new refractive procedures. In this example, the action item may be one-minute radio spots to air during peak morning and afternoon hours on two popular radio stations serving the greater metropolitan area for the next 30 days. 2. Roles and Responsibilities: Some staff members will be involved in the research and planning stages, while others will be instrumental in implementation. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities for each individual so everyone understands what is expected of them and how others will be involved. 3. Timelines for Completion: Establish timelines which are realistic and attainable, but do not slow down implementation unnecessarily. Remember, once you have created momentum, you do not want to delay the process. 2008, BSM Consulting 3

6 Your implementation plan cannot be executed without marketing funds. Establishing a marketing budget becomes a key component of your marketing plan. The steps in developing your marketing budget are outlined below: 1. Determine the total dollar amount, or percent of revenue, to be allocated to your marketing budget. 2. Identify costs for each marketing program (print media, advertising, special events, gifts, etc.). 3. Create a schedule that identifies which month each marketing activity will occur and the related costs. Additional information regarding the marketing budget is provided later in this module. The last step in developing your implementation plan is to ensure the practice is ready to proceed. This should be done by conducting staff meetings and providing training related to plan execution. Simultaneously, update the office appearance, change your message-on-hold, revise signage, and produce new print material (practice brochures and patient education materials) as necessary to complete your practice preparedness. SAMPLE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN Action Plan Responsible Party Timeline Status Develop marketing plan for 20XX with objectives for patient volume and profitability. N. Brown and Dr. Smith November 1 Work with ad agency to create quarterly advertising campaign. Schedule meetings with referral partners to enhance relations and educate them on our service offerings. Implement patient recall program for patients who have not been seen in the past 24 months. N. Brown November 1 J. Green October 1 Calls in progress. A. Jones December 1 STEP 5: Establish Measurement Criteria and Adjust Plan When Needed Is your plan successful? The only way you will be able to determine this is through tracking, measurement, and reporting. The final step in plan execution is to establish a process for monitoring results, reviewing data, and adjusting your plan as needed along the way to achieve the results you desire. Your process should include the following: 1. Track activity: Identify where patients are coming from. Track telephone leads and the source of the leads. 2. Measure progress: Use patient surveys to solicit feedback from customers. Monitor referral sources to determine if patients are coming into the practice through the channels you have targeted (radio, newspaper ads, etc.). Measure income generated and determine return on investment. Measure increased usage of services and impact on profitability. 2008, BSM Consulting 4

7 Measure your cost per lead. 3. Compare your marketing budget to actual dollars spent. 4. Determine where future marketing dollars should be spent. 5. Report and review results on a regular basis with providers and the marketing team. THE MARKETING BUDGET A critical component of your marketing plan is the marketing budget. Using the discipline of identifying marketing activities and forecasting related costs will help ensure focused implementation of the plan. The first step in the process is to determine an appropriate budget for marketing expenses for your practice. Once you identify your budget, compare this number to what is currently being spent by the practice for marketing. If the budget amount is significantly higher than your current expenditure, you need to determine the impact it will have on practice overhead, and more importantly, on your operating net income, and make any necessary adjustments. A benchmark to use for marketing expenses is three to five percent of practice revenues, which is common in the industry. The next step is to split your marketing budget into two components: 1. Internal Marketing: Resources used as education for your existing patient base, in-office collateral materials, patient recall system, telephone messages-on-hold, newsletters, staff training, etc. 2. External Marketing: Geared at educating the general public about what your practice has to offer and why your practice is different from others in the community. External marketing programs include patient seminars, newspaper ads, radio, TV, direct mail to targeted demographics, etc. Depending on your budget, you may decide to use the entire amount for internal marketing first, which is usually less costly than external marketing. Or you may decide to allocate a portion to both your internal and external marketing campaigns. Once the budget is established and implemented, track marketing expenses on a monthly basis to assess how actual costs compare to budget. The purpose of developing a budget is to provide a roadmap for the direction of your marketing campaign. To ensure you stay on course, results of your activity should be compared to plan, and adjusted from time to time, if required. TRACKING AND MEASUREMENT To determine if your marketing and advertising campaign is effective, you must establish a tracking system to help identify the response rate for each of your marketing activities. Tracking telephone leads and capturing specific information from people who call your office will help determine the source of the leads and allow you to build a database of potential new patients. Knowing where your new patients are coming from and the services or procedure they are most interested in, will help you assess where future marketing dollars should be spent. Not only should the source of the lead be captured, marketing expenses should also be tracked and used to determine the average cost per lead for each marketing initiative. This data becomes essential in assessing the return on your investment, as well as the viability of your marketing efforts. 2008, BSM Consulting 5

8 Telephone Lead Tracking Data capture can be as simple as using a paper form for staff to complete each time they respond to an inquiry for a promoted service or product, or utilizing a contact management program to track the source of each lead. Regardless of the format used, staff should capture the referral source for each potential patient as telephone calls are received. The following example illustrates the type of information which should be captured. Telephone Lead Tracking Form Date: Staff Member: Marketing Campaign: Name: Phone: Address: City, State, Zip: Address: Best Time of Day to Call: Preferred: Yes No Initial Referral Source Internal Marketing Direct Mail Newsletter Brochures/Video Promotional Item Patient Referral Other Patient Seminar Radio Station TV Newspaper Website Professional Relations Referral Public Relations Consult Scheduled Follow-Up Call/Date Information Mailed/Date Comments At the end of each week, tally the results and enter them into a telephone lead tracking report. Cost Per Lead Analysis Next, you should assess your cost per lead for each marketing activity. This requires access to the following information: 1. Number of leads received per month by referral source or marketing activity. 2. Monthly marketing expense by marketing activity. 3. Monthly marketing budget by marketing activity. 2008, BSM Consulting 6

9 The following example illustrates a cost per lead analysis report. COST PER LEAD ANALYSIS REPORT Activity Jan Feb Mar YTD Total YTD Budget Variance Patient Newsletter Advertising Cost $2,175 $0 $0 $2,175 $2,500 ($325) Leads Cost Per Lead $21.75 Radio Advertising Cost $1,900 $2,500 $2,250 $6,650 $6,200 $450 Leads Cost Per Lead $42.08 Total Cost $4,075 $2,500 $2,250 $8,825 $8,700 $125 Total Leads Cost Per Lead $34.21 Conversion of Leads to Procedures Knowing how many of your leads are converted to procedures allows you to identify how effective staff and physician(s) are in patient conversion. If conversion rates are lower than expected or desired, you will need to assess the reason for this result and implement additional training or new protocols to improve patient education and demonstration of the value and benefit of the procedure or product. SAMPLE LEAD CONVERSION TRACKING REPORT Activity Jan. Feb. Mar. YTD Total Customer Leads Patient Newsletter Radio Totals Consultations Patient Newsletter Radio Totals Leads to Consults 37% 40% 28% 35% Procedures Patient Newsletter Radio Totals Consults to Procedures 80% 84% 78% 81% 2008, BSM Consulting 7

10 Reporting Schedule regular meetings with your physician(s), marketing team, and other appropriate staff members to review your reports and determine if the results are meeting your desired goals and objectives. If not, discuss strategies and solutions, and develop a plan to implement change. Other staff members can also be helpful by relaying their observations, sharing challenges they encounter, and suggesting creative ideas and recommendations. Armed with the appropriate data, you will be able to refine your marketing plan to ensure you focus your efforts and marketing budget in those areas that produce the highest return on investment and the greatest level of patient satisfaction. CONCLUSION Developing and implementing a marketing plan requires due diligence and a sound understanding of both your practice and your marketplace. Taking the time and applying the necessary resources to develop a sound marketing plan will help your practice better define its overall strategy to meet future challenges. Generating a consequential marketing plan will take time, but it is not impossible. While it is not exactly a paint-by-numbers endeavor, market plan development does involve a number of proven steps and processes that ultimately can produce an accurate picture of what needs to be done to successfully market your practice to both internal and external customers. 2008, BSM Consulting 8

11 COURSE EXAMINATION 1. External market research includes which of the following activities: a. Assessment of consumer demographics. b. Assessment of opportunities for practice relocation or expansion. c. Growth trends in the practice market. d. All of the above. e. A and c. 2. Goals and objectives of the practice should align with the needs of both new and existing patients. a. True b. False 3. Which of the following are elements of a practice strategy: a. Provide long-term direction for the practice. b. Support the practice mission statement. c. Capitalize on practice strengths. d. Link to practice goals. e. A and d. f. All of the above. 4. Goals and objectives for the marketing plan should include both short-term and long-term practice goals. a. True b. False 5. Which of the following reports will help a practice determine the viability of specific marketing activities: a. Physician productivity reports. b. Conversion of leads to procedures report. c. Marketing expense report compared to marketing budget. d. None of the above. 6. When determining an appropriate marketing budget, which of the following factors should be used: a. Practice operating expense ratio. b. Marketing expenses for the prior year. c. Industry benchmarks for marketing expense ratios. d. B and c. e. All of the above. 7. When tracking the cost per lead, which of the following information must be available: a. The referral source for each lead. b. Monthly marketing expenses by marketing activity. c. The number of leads received per month. d. B and c. e. All of the above. 2008, BSM Consulting 9

12 8. Internal marketing activity should be viewed as a separate component of the marketing plan and is usually not included in the marketing budget. a. True b. False 9. The importance of tracking telephone leads is that it allows the practice to do which of the following: a. Build a database of potential new patients. b. Determine the source of patient referrals. c. Identify your cost per lead. d. All of the above. e. A and b. 10. What is a SWOT analysis: a. A look at how much staff members and physicians are paid. b. A tool to estimate how many physicians are working in the immediate vicinity of your practice. c. A study of a practice s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. d. A test used to determine per-procedure costs. 11. All long- and short-term goals adopted by a practice should be: a. Realistic and achievable. b. Determined by experts outside the practice. c. Lofty and unlikely. d. Similar to your existing goals. e. Set at pie in the sky levels. 12. The industry benchmark for marketing expenses is of practice revenue: a. 1 to 2 percent b. 10 percent c. 3 to 5 percent d. 15 to 20 percent e. No limit 2008, BSM Consulting 10

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