Seth Godin on Sliced Bread and Marketing

Tactics and Execution of Your Strategy

A successful strategy is meant to yield the results and expectations you want it to achieve. Thus proper execution of the strategy is essential to allow us to hit the bullseye on our targets

Execution means doing it. Measuring its results and modifying the methods or tactics we are using. To give an example that paints this story vividly. A specialist is reliant on the generalists and feeder sources that provide referrals to grow and keep that practice growing and thriving. If the specialist has done a poor job at developing the personal and professional relationships with his intake source his practice will suffer. By the same vein if a general practioner has no outreach into his or her community and has not understood the market and their needs he too will suffer.

Proper execution of the who,what,when, where. and hows will allow you the freedom to serve clients without worrying about finances, office administration, or business issues. As our strategy provides us the roadmap our execution allows us to drive on the road to success and prosperity.

Execution must follow careful strategic thinking and time to analyse the results; it is the execution of specific tactics, not overnite but over a period of time or journey. This  allows people to know,like, and trust us. You can accomplish this by a variety of tactics.

Advertising , online or offline, is one tactic used to let potential clients know who we are , where we are and what we do. It is then up to receptionists and ourselves as practitioners to usemarketing tactics like web-site promotion,providing educational materials and perhaps a blog to reinforce the knowledge and build trust. One free source of advertising you can employ is a listing on the map search results in Google, Yahoo and Bing. These are all free and can provide us analytical measures of our outreach campaigns, and may be just as effective as a Yellow Pages Ad which can be an expensive item without measurable results.

In the current environment a web presence is essential as we draw clients in . You cannot just have a static, business card site of the early web. Web 2.0 requires engagement through a blog or electronic newsletter ,where we post content or educational information to on a regular basis. An understanding of how to weave your web presence on your own site in conjunction with other social media sites yields valuable tactics. Examples of these include fanpages on Facebook, My Space, Twitter, or Buzz. This is a tactic which will enhance your web presence while allowing you to get to be known, liked and trusted. The client experience is the most important of all to your progress. It is before, after or doing the time they employ your expertise which will gel all of these tactics and tools to make raving fans out of your clients.

Execution on your strategy and the tactics you use will be fundamental to your success in growing and sustaining your professional practice. Like the surgeon who has a layed out set of instruments to set up what is necessary for him to achieve and execute on his treatment and operating plan your strategy will be the guide to the execution of your tactics .

While this is just a broad outline on execution,  what we have  for members in the Professional Practice Marketing Club is step-by-step actionable, guides on the many tactics and tools you and your staff can employ to ensure you meet your goals.

Strategy and Tactics

What is Marketing Strategy ? Once again I turn to Wikipedia for my definition of Marketing Strategy.” Marketing strategy is a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. A marketing strategy should be centered around the key concept that customer satisfaction is the main goal.”

As a professional in practice you should not be put off by the commercial tone of this definition. It is necessary to use the definition to plot where you are , where you want to be, in the context of building a healthy,sustainable and rewarding practice for bot you and your clients.

You should develop this kind of strategy in order to maximize the efficiency of your time and resources and to let you do what you do best, and that is helping people. In consideration we must ask several questions.

Who do we want to serve.? What market is the one that we want to find our ideal client from. This narrowing of our focus allows us to serve clients that value our services . These are clients that need and want what we have to offer to solve their issues. Our product as professionals is the service that we provide that clients see value from and will exchange their resources for. We have to know also what our specific service is. Do we want to have a general practice, or specialize in a particular niche in our professional career. A specific example is that of a general dentist versus a endodontist who specializes in root canals whereas the former serves a much broader market.

By defining the practice or area of expertise we can then focus on where we wish to draw our client base from, what makes us different from others in that area and what actions do we have to take to dominate.
This component of strategy also allows us to determine how we are going to achieve our objectives, what resources we need to accomplish this and what particular plan of attack we have to have. You might think that all the verbiage that I am using has a definite sound of battle or war. It does because it is simply focusing our resources and marshalling our talents to deliver what we have to offer to people that need our help while providing us the income and satisfaction we need.

Our strategy will also define what tactics we are going to deploy to best serve ourselves and our clients.

Tactics include items like advertising, hours of service,promotional mail or postcards, and educational content we put out for the market we wish to serve. Chiropractors for instance may want to be doing promotional items like writing a column in their local newspaper, or providing patient information leaflets on various skills and methods they can employ to alleviate your pain.
How do we present our practice to the public : Do they know how to contact us, do we have a website that provides educational content and answers the who we are, what we do, where we do it, when do we do it and why they should come to know us.

How does our receptionist or office staff greet us and advise us on appointments, remind us of appointments, help with insurance coverage answers and make sure we have the information we are asking about. Is there a systemised approach defined for this activity? Do we have the right person in this role?

The objective of our strategy thus is a series of tactics that will allow our market to know, like and trust us.. Once they become clients , the next effort is to make the experience so useful to these clients that they will become repeat clients and come back again and again as their needs require. The way we do this and the planning to accomplish this objective results in happy clients and more free promotion of our service by the best marketing tactic possible. That is referral by them to their family and friends to grow a base of raving fans.

What is Marketing ?

What is Marketing?

The definition of Marketing, provided by the American Marketing Association via Wikipedia is “Marketing is the activity,set of institutions,and processes for creating, communicating,delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers,clients,partners and society at large”.

Let us look at the components of this definition to better understand Marketing and what it means to professional practices.

First it is an activity,a set of institutions and processes. It is a system that we use to put institutions and processes in place.Much like a surgeon has a set way of having his instruments laid out for an operation ,marketing is an activity provides a plan and   for our efforts to tell people who we are, what we do, and how we can help them with whatever their needs and problems are.  In order to be able to do this we need to design processes in our practices that build this foundation. This is done in a general way and a more specific way.

In a general way we do advertising and promotion in a variety of ways. We may write articles of interest to the public at large on our specific practice, such as dentistry,psychology, audiology or many other professional practices. We may buy advertising in local publications, do direct mail promotions, and a variety of other forms of promotion.

In a specific way the quality of our practice development and our client experiences is another specific and very effective tool. The very best marketing source is referrals  from other happy clients. These are the most heartfelt and genuine items ,based on our interactions with current and future clients.They also demonstrate our ability to communicate, deliver and exchange value with our client base.

As a system Marketing has two major components: Strategy and Tactics which support the strategic plan we lay out.  And it is so important that we understand  our strategy, why we are doing things a certain way, and how we can execute  the plan .

In order to market our practices we must develop a strategy that includes all of the items in the definition above and provides the results to ourselves, our clients and society at large. That in essence is what the purpose of Marketing is.