In our 35+ years of working with hospitals and health systems, we’ve observed that the teams who realize the greatest success in executing their strategic healthcare marketing plan in the established timeframe have one thing in common – a specific amount of time set aside for working on the plan.
What’s the 10% Secret?
By our calculations, spending 10 percent of your strategy time devoted to the upkeep of your marketing plan yields the greatest success.
First, make sure you (and your team) avoid a set-and-forget mentality. You worked hard to develop a comprehensive, detailed plan. Don’t let it wither away in the department’s shared folder! As the final step in the strategic planning process, create a work-back schedule to hold yourselves accountable for reaching all of those goals and metrics.
Second, identify the biggest roadblocks that prevent you from meeting your goals in the established timeframe. Common culprits include:
Executive team thinks your staff can just, “make it happen”
To be clear, the issue isn’t the talent or dedication of your team. It’s a question of how can they possibly focus on increasing market share and referrals when their time is spent:
Working late nights and weekends
In a pressure-cooker environment
Never knowing what task will come next
Constantly feeling behind on their “real work”
This kind of environment – where department heads and leaders across the health system constantly disrupt your process - generates a culture of chaos and turns your marketing specialists into firefighters.
5 Ways to Define Your 10%
OK. You have your strategic plan, potential roadblocks, and a broad work-back schedule intended to keep you on top of your milestones. Now it’s time for some division. Does your team prefer to meet less often but for longer periods? Maybe they like to touch base every day but only briefly. Below are five different ways you can subdivide strategy time and increase the chances of staying on track.
Year – Schedule two full workdays for a staff retreat. (One in the spring and one in the fall.) That’s 16 hours dedicated to gathering and analyzing data, tracking your KPIs, and quantifying how close you are to reaching set goals.
Quarter – Set aside a three-hour block once each quarter. That’s 12 hours of time focused on the details of your strategic plan.
Month – If your team meets monthly, dedicate two hours of that time to listing accomplishments since the last meeting and setting priorities – with timelines – for the coming weeks.
Week – A one-hour strategic plan check-up each week will hold you and your staff accountable for their assigned parts of the plan. This hour isn’t the time for a deep dive into every strategy and tactic. It’s an on-track/off-track kind of meeting.
Day – If you prefer bite-sized tasks, hold a 15-minute stand-up meeting every day to identify any hot topics and potential fires related to your plan and how to address them.
This Part is Not a Secret
Just like earned media and food diaries, you can’t improve what you don’t track. So, whether it’s monthly or quarterly, make those strategic marketing plan meetings happen. Breaking down the giant task into manageable pieces will benefit the department, the organization, and your sanity!