Everyone does marketing plans, some are done annually and some are done quarterly. The plan is what will drive your marketing efforts that hopefully keep your beds full. The problem is the plan is no good unless you have strong programming to market. Strong programming is only as good as the clinicians performing it and only used if there is a need in the medical community for it. To equate this to sales, people buy for their reasons not yours. You can have the best clinicians delivering the best programs but if the referral sources don’t need it then it will not be successful. That is why doing your homework before doing your marketing plan is essential.
You must get out and talk to the folks that send you patients and ask them, are the programs you are presently providing still needed? How can we make them better? Are there any programs that are not currently being offered that need to be offered? If they give you a program idea you could consider asking them, what are their thoughts on how it should look. The more you can involve them, the closer they will feel to it and support it. You already know who your sources are, Case managers, Social workers, Nurses, Physicians and yes payers due to the proliferation of managed care. Get out there and engage them. If you do end up using one of their suggestions, that simply presents another opportunity for you to go back and share that with them. It says to them you are listening. Then you ask them to refer you some business. Sales analogy #2, ask for the order.
Another component of a good marketing plan is to know what your competition is doing. If you have built strong relationships within your referral network they will tell you who does what well and who does not. You simply have to ask. This is very helpful in devising your programming.
Having knowledge as to the type and number of discharges that the acute care hospitals in your area are putting out is another big component when gathering information for your plan. There are websites that can provide this type of information for you or again, if your relationships in the medical community are strong enough, you can get it directly from the hospitals themselves.
Knowledge is king and relationships are the key that opens the door to that knowledge. Without either of these, your marketing plan will just like my chemistry quizzes in college, an uneducated guess.