Developing a Marketing Plan: Step One – Functional Analysis
Last month, we reviewed the importance of marketing your IDD Program Provider organization by communicating FOCUS – how your organizational culture stands out from the rest of the provider list. Let’s take that idea a few steps further and actually create a workable plan for marketing your difference!
Remember, you don’t have to be a marketing expert or develop a complicated, fantastic strategy to WOW the world. The goal is to ILLUSTRATE your passion and purpose in order to COMMUNICATE this effectively to potential clients and their families.
As with all good plans, we start with assessment. Pull together the people who matter – your family (whether or not they’re part of the business, they know your heart), key employees, board members, families, people served, and anyone else who shares your commitment. Does this sound like an Inter-Disciplinary Team (IDT)? There’s a reason why this approach is so effective. Engaging diverse groups with different perspectives will allow you to clearly analyze and effectively plan.
Facilitate a discussion around your internal strengths (what do you do really well?) and weaknesses (where could you stand to improve?) and make detailed lists. Remember to keep your FOCUS in mind: Strengths will include those services and activities that make you different and add value to the state-funded services offered by every provider. This is an opportunity to highlight the attributes of your program! Weaknesses, on the other hand, can be anything from rate inadequacies to workforce shortages (yes, it’s true – every provider is experiencing this!) to geographic location (each area, whether urban or rural, has its own challenges) or reputation negatives to overcome (not everyone’s history is as positive as they’d like their future to be). Be as specific as possible.
Next, discuss and list external opportunities and threats. Opportunities may be expansion to other program types or models, expansion to new locales, or exploring secondary funding streams to benefit your current operations. Threats can include provider saturation (if you’re in the Austin or Houston area, this one is certainly applicable), new program requirements for which you’re unprepared, or workforce competition (those businesses outside the IDD service industry that seem to be attracting all the prospective staff).
A Marketing Plan Clearly States What Differentiates Your Company From Other Providers i.e. Why Client and Their Families Should Choose You!
As you work through this process of analysis, be prepared to hear some things you don’t like. Don’t be discouraged! It’s important to dig deep to discover hard truths. Honesty and transparency (even when they uncover unpleasant realities) are key to creating a realistic plan. Make sure the environment of your discussions is open and comfortable and that everyone is offered opportunity to participate with an equal voice. Express your appreciation for participants. Before you conclude, ASK participants if they’d like to continue with you as you plan next steps: empower them to be part of your solutions! Next time, we’ll move on to Step 2 – Setting Goals and Refining Strategies.
If implementing Focused EHR is part of your business plan we’ve got all of the tools to make this as easy as 1, 2, 3 (just read last week’s blog to see just how easy this can be!). Let Focused EHR do the heavy lifting for you – that’s what it’s designed to do! Call FOCUSED SOFTWARE TODAY!