In this Assessment, you will analyze your company’s strategic plan or a healthcare organization with which you are familiar. Based on the strategic plan, you will develop a marketing plan for one product/service that is part of the company’s strategic plan.
Development of a Marketing Plan for a Healthcare Organization
In this Assessment, you will prepare a marketing plan for a product or service of the healthcare organization you selected. If possible, this should be a healthcare organization for which you work. If that is not viable, look online at other healthcare organizations for which information is available. This marketing plan must take into consideration and demonstrate alignment to that organization’s strategic plan. It should take into consideration the competitors and where the competitors are located. Keep in mind that product is one of the traditional “4 Ps” of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion—a mix that is the foundation of a customer-focused approach to marketing products and services.
Locate and analyze a healthcare organization’s strategic plan. Based on the strategic plan, select one product or service in which to focus your marketing plan.
Create a summary of your analysis as follows (4–5 pages):
- Provide an overarching description of the healthcare organization, including the organization’s strategic plan, which also includes the organization’s mission, vision, and goals.
- Briefly describe key products and services of this organization. Explain how these align to the organization’s mission and vision. Note: It is not necessary to include every product and service. Focus on key offerings.
- Based on the organization’s strategic plan, describe the marketing opportunities for the organization.
- Describe one product or service on which to focus your marketing plan. Provide an overview of the market for this product or service. Who are you marketing to? What are some special considerations you might take into account related to this market?
- Describe key competitors and where they are located.
- Explain how this product or service differs from competitors’ offerings.
- Describe how this product or service fits into the organization’s strategic plan.
Section 1: Place of Service and Channels of Distribution
After the analysis of the market has been completed, and with your product or service in mind, the marketing plan must address who the services are being sold to, what the potential reimbursement levels are, and what organization will contract with the healthcare facility for the services. For a product or service to reach its target market, it actually has to get to the market or the market has to get to it—to the place of service. “Place” is another of the 4 Ps.
Determining workable places of service and/or effective distribution channels is an ongoing challenge in the healthcare market. Current trends, changes in policy, and technological advances have all contributed to altering the landscape of distribution. For example, prescriptions that used to require face-to-face interaction can be ordered online and delivered by mail. How does that cost-saving fact impact the pharmacy services of a healthcare organization? What can the organization do to encourage its customers to take advantage of this alternative means of distribution? New and different channels of distribution are evident in all areas of healthcare.
In 3–4 pages of your marketing plan:
- Describe one way the product or service can be delivered or offered to its customers.
- Evaluate the benefits and constraints of this distribution.
- Describe trends that are impacting or might impact this distribution channel or place of service.
- Explain how technology is impacting delivery of this product or service. How might technology impact the concept of place?
- Describe how channels of distribution or place of service relate to the strategic plan.
Section 2: Pricing and/or Contracting Strategies
In today’s healthcare landscape, there are multiple payers with multiple price points of their own. Many managed care organizations, as well as CMS, are creating discounted bundle payment structures. In the marketing plan, the healthcare facilities must understand what their bottom price point is so the facility can decide in what contracting opportunities they want to participate.
How is the product or service priced? Pricing in healthcare is not a matter of “sales, discounts, and specials.” Many complex considerations come into play. Pricing in this industry involves various and sometime sophisticated contracting and managed care strategies. Increasingly, with high-deductible health plans, pricing is critical to the customer and becomes a strategic issue for the healthcare organization. Price is another of the 4 Ps.
In a 2–3-page section of your marketing Plan:
- Describe pricing and contracting strategies apparent in this healthcare organization.
- Explain how price might be a strategic issue for the organization. Provide rationale as to why price might align with strategic planning.
- Explain how current trends in healthcare are impacting pricing strategies for the product or service on which you are focused.
- Analyze how competition is impacting pricing of the product or service on which you are focused.
Section 3: Promotional Strategies and Techniques
Promotion is the fourth “P” addressed in this Assessment. Consider: Your healthcare organization has a product or service to offer. You are very familiar with the strategic plan of the organization. You know its mission, vision, and goals. Now, as a marketing advisor, how are you going to use promotional media to advance your cause? Promotional strategies have to be carefully and sensitively targeted in areas such as television and radio, print and web-based, and social media. They reflect the organization as well as the customer or, in most cases, many different customers.
In 3–4 pages of your marketing plan:
- Describe three promotional strategies you would use to promote the product or service in order to attract consumers. Keep in mind that the market you are in has everything to do with determining appropriate marketing techniques. For each marketing technique you suggest, include a rationale for why it is appropriate for the intended market.
- Explain the advantages of each strategy and possible disadvantages.
- Describe how social networking could be tapped to engage customers for this product or service.
Section 4: The Marketing Budget
Once promotional strategies have been determined, the costs of these initiatives must be moved into the budget. In some cases, a strategy will prove to be too costly and will need to be reconsidered.
In 2–3 pages of your marketing plan:
- Hypothesize categories of costs/expenses that would have to be reflected in the budget for each of the three promotional strategies you suggested in Section 3 (for example, printing, mailing, consulting and advertising costs, market research, publicity, sales efforts, etc.) Include both in-house and external expenses. Note: You are not expected to attach dollar amounts.
- Analyze the impact of current trends on marketing budgets of the business unit on which you are focused.
Section 5: Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Marketing Plan
Any marketing plan must include a plan for evaluating its effectiveness. In an authentic situation, the evaluation plan is developed up front, and the evaluation(s) take place at specified intervals once the plan is implemented. The evaluation is critical for ensuring that marketing dollars are well spent.
For example, if it is proven after an appropriate period of time, with decision-making parameters set, that monthly mailings are ineffective and do not warrant the cost, you will likely look at other promotional strategies and put the money to better marketing use. Every good marketing plan has to look at ROI, return on investment, to determine if dollars spent are benefiting the healthcare organization. How else would you know if a marketing plan is viable?
In 2–3 pages of your marketing plan, and with your product or service in mind:
- Describe variables that must be taken into account when creating an approach for evaluating the effectiveness of a healthcare marketing plan.
- Develop specific measurements that indicate marketing effe ctiveness for this product or service.
- Compare data sources that can inform outcomes of marketing activities regarding this product or service.