“If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there”target

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Is there a focus to your marketing? There is a tendency to tackle one project at a time and to neglect to tie everything together. You work on a web site. Then you set up a Facebook page and maybe start a newsletter. Now back to the website… what about search engine optimization? Wait, why are the logos on the website different from the Facebook page? Or have you given up by now?

You need a marketing strategy with goals and a plant to accomplish them. Once you have a strategy, everything comes into focus and making all of the pieces fit is natural.

We once worked with a medical practice that was created as a merger of three individual practices. Our goal for the first year was to not lose current patients. Of course, we wanted new patients too but keeping patients that the three practices already had was the main goal. We focused our efforts and budget on raising awareness of the new group with the current patients. We had a tagline that communicated the mission of the new practice: “Working together for your good health.”  The mission was to let existing patients know they were important and that the new practice was a good thing for them.

We avoided the tendency to seek new patients or customers while ignoring the ones you already have. It is much more effective to keep patients / customers than to attract new ones. We made an effort to communicate with existing patients. We wanted to nurture that relationship, to make them feel a part of the new practice. If there is a strong relationship based on trust, they are unlikely to look for another practice.

Over time, the strategy changed but having a strategy directed how all of the pieces of the marketing campaign were to work together and the promotion was very effective. The practice quickly took hold and grew into one of the best known practices in the area.

Developing a strategy can be daunting but here’s where to start. Ask yourself who do we need to reach? and what do we tell them? or, even better, what do we offer that they want? Then you need to carry this message across every piece of your marketing effort. In politics, this is called “talking points,” but the principle is the same. A simple, clear, consistent message is effective.