MARKETING ACTIVITY CHECKLIST FOR THE SUBSPECIALTY PRACTICE

Introduction

Sometimes it is helpful to check a laundry list of activities just to see if all bases are covered. The following is meant to be just such a list for the subspecialty practice. It is not meant to replace any type of formal planning, nor does it represent a complete marketing approach, rather it is a tool for discussions with staff and consulting firms relative to ideas which may be worthy of consideration.

The List

  1. Practice enhancement/internal promotion:
    1. The office organization is structured to minimize patient access problems.
    2. The image and identity of the practice is coordinated.
    3. There is an internal mailing structure to assure patient loyalty.
    4. There is a regular patient recall and a separate pathology recall.
    5. Research is conducted to assure that patient satisfaction or dissatisfaction is monitored.
    6. Comparative research is conducted to gauge the practice position relative to alternatives in the market.
    7. Office efficiency is assured through programs structured to monitor waiting time and employee attitudes.
    8. There is a recognition system for the patients who refer patients.
  2. External promotional programs:
    1. External mailing programs are planned/underway.
      1. Target mailings.
      2. Practice newsletter.
      3. Home self-screening.
      4. Stuffers in other mailers.
      5. Card ID programs.
    2. There is trade name recognition or brand visibility.
      1. Display cards.
      2. Outdoor advertising.
    3. Print advertising is used effectively.
    4. The Web and the Internet have been employed in the practice promotional and informational processes.
    5. Broadcast media is implemented according to a plan which balances cost and yield.
      1. Television.
      2. Radio.
  3. Coordinated promotion:
    1. Community screening programs are scheduled on a continuing basis.
      1. Senior housing complexes.
      2. Senior meal sites.
      3. Health and vision fairs.
      4. Malls and other public places.
    2. Cooperative membership programs are in use.
      1. PPOs.
      2. Affinity programs.
      3. Union initiatives.
      4. Employer groups and associations.
    3. Market cooperatives have been developed.
      1. With national groups.
      2. With hospitals or surgi-centers.
      3. With referral sources.
    4. Co-sponsored newsletters, mailers and screenings assure efficiency and the opportunity for a separate masthead reference.
  4. Referral sources:
    1. There has been an identification and analysis of all referral sources.
    2. Programs are in place to enhance and improve referral access.
      1. Special phone lines.
      2. Targeted answering.
      3. Guaranteed professional consultation.
      4. Premium patient access.
    3. There is a methodology to assure communication regarding referred patients.
      1. Consult letters.
      2. Consult phone calls.
      3. Patient record coordination.
    4. There is a program to maintain visibility and presence among the referral community.
      1. Support of legislation.
      2. Continuing education.
      3. Routine informative mailings.
  5. Contracts, pricing, discounting:
    1. Contracts with area prepaid providers are in place and under continuous review.
    2. Area industry and commercial purchasers are aware of the practice and the willingness to contract.
    3. Private membership programs are in place or under active considera tion.
    4. There is routine vigilance regarding the development of new programs in the market catchment area.
    5. Price considerations to special groups are in place and well communicated.
  6. Development, acquisition, expansion, divestiture:
    1. Programs are under regular review to determine the effectiveness, cost and yield.
    2. Locations and alternate access locations are under review using demograp hic and geographic technology.
    3. Outreach support for primary care practice sites and other areas of potential for concentrated referrals are under the control of the practice.
    4. Practice purchase opportunities are actively pursued and closed.
    5. Referral sources of importance to the practice (from an actual and strategic perspective) are nurtured and, when necessary, capital ized.
    6. Alternate business opportunities related to the practice and groups of patients supporting the practice are pursued.

Summary

This is merely a list.  The trick is not to identify a bunch of programs but to determine some key answers to the following questions:

  1. What will actually work in our community?
  2. What is already being done?
  3. What is the competition doing or planning?
  4. What unique position does this practice hold that cannot be easily duplicated by others?
  5. What do we want to do first?  Next?  Finally?
  6. What do we want to agree is not to be done?

Conclusion

The most important features of a development program include timing, resource allocation and implementation. Primacy in any program has merit which is both real and of economic relevance to the second and third place entries in a marketplace. A planning process is necessary to assure that the resources necessary for implementing developmental programs are applied efficiently and in a practical manner.

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