Stay Focused, Grasshopper

Marketing Strategy: Stay Focused, Grasshopper

Developing a successful marketing strategy

Let’s face it. Healthcare marketing has become complicated. Very complicated. With so many competing pressures, it’s easy to get off track. Consider this conversation — or some version of it — that you’ve probably had with an internal stakeholder:

Dr. Trickle, Chief of Urology: We need a big campaign for our new laser lithotripsy procedure. Can we put it on social media?

You: Well, I’m not sure Facebook is the place for that …

Dr. Trickle: Yeah, but it needs to go out now. I just remembered that next week is Kidney Awareness Week. How about we try some pay-per-click advertising?

You: Well, the marketing plan calls for our focus to be on our nerve-sparing prostate surgery this quarter. Remember our new branding message? “One of the world’s most proven prostate cancer treatment programs is right in your backyard.”

Dr. Trickle: What’s the use of a marketing plan if you can’t change it around a little? Oh, and while you’re at it, make sure we see some ROI on this.

(Of course, the budget is incredibly tight, the timeline ridiculous and your staff is on vacation.)

Focus, Focus, Focus

Ultimately, our role as marketing professionals is to stay focused! We’re the gatekeepers of all those competing voices and pressures. The old master on TV’s Kung Fu said it best when he told young Caine to “stay focused, Grasshopper.”

Unfortunately, there is a growing trend toward “reactionary marketing” — placing tactics ahead of strategy. Harried healthcare marketers may feel pressured to forego strategy and just get a campaign off and running, fast. Worse, they may shoot from the hip and sign on for the marketing trend-of-the-day. Or, they may seek instant gratification through digital media platforms — and abandon strategy altogether.

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

The term “kung fu” comes from a Chinese phrase meaning “work plus time.” If you do the work and spend the time creating a focused marketing plan, success will be yours,.

The steps below can help you create a strong strategic platform — and avoid having to react to non-strategic stakeholder pressures or new media trends:

Step 1: Define your marketing goal based on the overall objectives of the organization. With a strategic stake firmly in the ground, you can defend where you are spending your marketing dollars and for what purpose.

Step 2: Define your target audience, and focus on what matters most to patients and prospective patients — not your internal audience.

Step 3: Define your message. Speak with one voice consistently to define your brand, image and capabilities. Even if you are speaking to multiple audiences across multiple platforms, the core message should be the same.

Step 4: Define your media. With any marketing effort, there is a limit to financial and time resources, so don’t spread your marketing dollars too thin. Better to consolidate into fewer channels and do it well.

Step 5: Define your measurement. Whether it is call volume, appointment scheduling, sales volume or digital analytics, finding tangible ways to measure your success is key.

Creating a defensible plan will help you stay true to your strategy when the “Dr. Trickles” of the world come calling.  It may even give you the power to snatch the pebbles of success from the hands of marketing defeat!

Contact the marketing masters at Wax Custom Communications to learn the art of effective healthcare marketing. Just call us at 305-350-5700 or visit

WordPress Lightbox