1. Marketing Matters
By Colette a. Weil, MBA
Putting It All Together
Tie marketing efforts to your business goals
ounds easy enough. You have your company’s n Request suggestions from staff at least once every quarter.
business goals for the planning period. You’ve n Build an Excel calendar of key marketing activities (and
outlined your challenges: competitive bid- tactics) driven by your objectives. Connect the calendar
ding, retail competition, a new DME chain with the budget.
down the street, decreased financing, the n Hold a monthly staff meeting to share primary market-
need to diversify revenue sources and fewer ing activities. Lack of communication and knowledge equals
employees. Then you start tripping over lost sales.
marketing, what you want to achieve, who is doing what and n Define specific advertising, promotion, Web site, email
whose budget it comes out of. marketing, public relations and sales programs that meet
Typically in HME businesses, everyone does a bit of mar- your objectives and attract your target markets. Don’t get
keting. Maybe the owner or president has defined business distracted by some cool Facebook campaign concept or
goals and an employee has stepped up with specific skills Twitter opportunity or media buy unless it meets your ob-
in advertising or public relations. But as companies mature, jective and your market.
they recognize the competitive landscape and see the need
to professionalize their marketing expertise. They realize the
necessity of integrating a variety of marketing activities to Everyone needs to understand your
attract and retain customers is now critical to build business.
Let’s dispel some misunderstandings right off. Marketing is
business goals and the key marketing
not just advertising. Marketing is not just a meaningful logo strategies that will achieve those goals.
and Web site. Nor high tech in-services with organic lunches.
Marketing is the systematic plan and implementation of a mix
of business activities that build relationships of mutual value n Coordinate the timing of your marketing efforts. You
between buyers/referral entities and sellers. will save money by working each marketing investment
Advertising is one of the marketing tools to get the word harder.
out about your firm. A great radio campaign can draw at- Case example: One HME provider’s marketing objectives
tention to your grand opening or special event. Well-placed was to increase cash sales to achieve a goal of diversifying
billboards might create brand awareness if you are being revenue sources on high-margin products.
locked out of a market. Or customer service training and Strategy: Conduct a targeted, integrated event and com-
product guarantees can keep customers returning for more munications campaign.
cash sale items. Tactics: Conducted a phone campaign to 250 current cus-
A special sale builds pricing awareness. An online store tomers to introduce a new service/products and a speaker
extends your distribution capability. A phone call cam- event. The provider followed up with an email campaign, a
paign can introduce customers to a special event. All are link on the Web site, a postcard mailing and reminder calls.
independent tactics unless tied into a marketing plan with Customers received discounts on other products at the event
specific objectives, and driven and controlled by your busi- and door prizes from a manufacturer. Outside sales person-
ness goals. nel got copies of the materials to share with referral sources.
Marketing is not just sales. According to an explana-
tion from About.com, “Marketing is everything that
Colette Weil is managing director of Summit Marketing, Mill Valley, Calif., a
you do to reach and persuade prospects. The sales consulting firm specializing in strategic marketing and program development.
process is everything that you do to close the sale and You can reach her at email@example.com or 415/388-5303.
get a signed agreement or contract. Both are necessi-
ties to the success of a business.” Remember that everyone in your company is a marketer.
When you are thinking about your company’s marketing Everyone needs to understand your business goals and the
program, take a step back. Be pragmatic. key marketing strategies that will achieve those goals. If you
n List your business goals and critical challenges. can’t get your own employees to understand your goals and
n List your top marketing objectives for each goal and be actively knowledgeable about your activities, how will
share them with your employees. your customers and referral sources?
www.homecaremag.com | APRIL 2010 | 55