Financial pressures caused by elective procedure cancellations, heightened costs and added expenses have created challenges for rural hospitals trying to recover from the pandemic. This underscores the need to develop a cohesive business plan and supporting marketing strategy to address these challenges and leverage opportunities.
In fact, a recent survey of strategic planners revealed that 90% of providers “expect their facility to use the recovery period as an opportunity to rationalize service offerings, inpatient capacity and ambulatory sites.” Financial and operational performance is also being reviewed through a post-pandemic/pre-vaccine lens.
Developing a marketing plan that aligns with a strong strategic plan can generate a cohesive, coordinated strategy that effectively reaches your organization’s short and long-term goals. Just as important, it can help your rural hospital generate much-needed revenue—now.
Before going any further, we'd like to invite you to our September 10 webinar, “Aligning Your Marketing Plan with Your Strategic Plan." Even though we're discussing this topic now with this blog post, during this webinar we'll explain the techniques you can use in more detail to immediately develop a successful, coordinated plan.
Now, as we pointed out, developing a marketing plan in alignment with a strong strategic plan is critical to help your organization reach it's short and long-term goals, plus, it can help generate the revenue you need immediately.
Strategic plan development begins with a comprehensive market assessment of information such as:
- Market position and competitive presence
- Service lines (and trends)
- Opportunities for growth
The process creates (or validates existing) organizational pillars. From there, goals, objectives, measurability, key initiatives, timelines, and accountability are clearly articulated.
We’ve found that inadvertently (or sometimes advertently) many rural hospitals omit one critical element from their strategic planning process: data. While this four-letter word can be overwhelming to even the most left-brained CEOs and board members, it’s imperative to know how to make data-driven decisions to drive revenue.
Prioritize your Marketing plan
Once you have a comprehensive strategic plan in hand, it’s time to support your goals with a cohesive marketing strategy. As you develop your marketing plan, rank your priorities. This will allow you to focus resources based on profitability, access, growth and how each priority aligns with your strategic plan.
For example, we guide our rural health partners through a proprietary four-stage planning process that includes:
- Internal reviews, market and competitive analyses, including:
- Community health needs assessment data
- Situation analysis (aka SWOT Analysis)
- Competitor analysis
- Primary research and service line prioritization. Service lines are categorized into three tiers:
- Tier 1: Specialty areas to market now
- Tier 2: Services that will make a significant impact on your organization’s bottom line
- Tier 3: Areas of opportunity in the future
- Marketing plan development:
- Identifying objectives
- Developing strategies and tactics that support the objectives
- Creative development, execution, evaluation and measuring ROI. For example, Legato works with our clients to measure volume increase or decrease of a service line or procedure over a specific time, overall facility revenue, revenue from the promoted service line or procedure over a specific time, and website and social media analytics to help determine the most effective strategies moving forward.
Techniques that work
Again, to learn about these techniques in more detail, make sure to register for our September 10 webinar, “Aligning Your Marketing Plan with Your Strategic Plan,” You’ll walk away with techniques that you can immediately apply to develop a successful, coordinated plan. Visit this Registration Link to attend!