THE IMPORTANCE OF MARKETING PLAN
- Posted by: Faizuddin
- Category: Marketing
Do you ever heard the quote of ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’? I bet you did, at least once. In each of our life chapter, planning is the most fundamental in achieving desired goals; as a goal without plan is just a wish and forever will remain as unachieved objective.
So what is marketing plan?
A marketing plan, which usually prepared annually, is an operational paper that summarizes all sales related strategy that the hospital or an organization will initiate in the upcoming year (or a specific period) in generating sales potential within its market segment. The plan generally will specifically detail-up all promotional strategy, programs and campaigns to be commenced over an identified period. An agreed measurement of initiative’s effectiveness must be clearly stated as a Return of Investment (ROI) benchmarking for all stakeholders. It ensures all activities that are properly planned initiated; in the same page with the hospital’s business strategic direction, rather than simply following the entrepreneurial leader’s latest idea.
Most common elements of an effective marketing plan usually inclusive of industry’s market research. This may include a comprehensive competitors’ analysis, customer behavior movement, economic forecast and other related info to support hospital’s pricing decisions and strategy as well as new market entries or new product introduction and placement. Secondly, tailored message push to the targeted segment within certain demographics and geographic areas – that are unique from one to another. A retired man staying in a rural area may have a different healthcare needs compared to a working class lady in Kuala Lumpur city centre.
Thirdly, advertising and promotion (A&P) platform selection in promoting products and services is vital in getting a good publicity reach with high chance of sales conversion. A&P selections vary for the marketing personnel to choose from – ranging from below-the-line, with a low cost approach up to the dazzling above-the-line, high investment strategy and from the traditional printed marketing materials to the up-to-date, stylish digital edge idea. Bear in mind, there’s a possibility of using a mixture of promotion platforms in getting a better sales conversion; strategy is not cast in stone and to be fully flexible in achieving desired goals. Lastly, the plan should clearly identify a suitable method that could measure the results of those marketing initiatives, programs and campaigns. Each Ringgit spent must be benchmarked on the ROI gained either through monetary advantage or branding interest as maintaining ineffective initiatives will unnecessarily increase marketing costs.
A marketing plan should be a flexible proposal and can be redirected during any point of time based on the outcomes generated from any program or campaign executed. For instance, a situation happen shows that a take-up rate for a package promoted through social media pages went beyond sales projection, the budget for the campaign can be adjusted to fund higher performing results in the next package promotion initiative. The challenge for the marketing leaders is to ensure that platform chosen could convert the highest possibilities to closed deal sales.
In short, marketing plan is the missing connection between the planned direction of the hospital and the delivery of results. The bottom line will always be to ensure that the right activity is taking place, at the right time, to the right audience through the right channels.
As Sun Tzu once said, ‘Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory’.
KPJ Klang Specialist Hospital