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“Marketing is so basic that it cannot be considered a separate function. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of… the [patient].”

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Peter Drucker, renowned management theorist and writer

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The purpose of marketing is to connect organization to a target market in such a way that the organization can accomplish its strategic objectives.

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Before an organization can implement an effective marketing plan, it must first develop its strategy through fundamental business planning such as creating a vision, establishing a mission, identifying key resources, and setting goals. Through this process, the organization identifies stakeholders and customers. The organization can create a strategic roadmap to keep it focused and on track.

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Figure 26-1 is an example of business planning work and illustrates the growth strategy of an emergency physician group, organized around 4 pillars: resources, processes, value to customers, and financial performance.

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Figure 26-1.
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Proctor, Hall, and Carr's business model for success. (Source: The Business of Emergency Medicine, 2004.)

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The figure focuses on the customer as the heart of the organization's growth strategy. A successful organization builds a marketing initiative based on the customers' expectations, but there are other foundational aspects of the organization that must be in place, effectively meeting and exceeding the customers' expectations. Marketing is the function that clarifies

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  • Who will be touched
  • How to reach them
  • How to determine the effectiveness of the efforts

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A pattern of growth of the targeted customer base and revenue is essential to any business enterprise's success. Many emergency departments (EDs) do not feel compelled to attract more patients their current challenges of crowding, inpatient holds, and diversion. However, effective ED leaders collaborate with their facility leadership through operational and physical plant improvements to attract more business. Successful marketing initiatives depend on the organization's ability to deliver on what it promotes.

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In view of the operational and growth barriers described previously, strategic growth may include limiting, uncompensated, or poorly compensated primary care delivery in the ED. To accomplish this change in delivery, some ED leaders have developed networks with primary care providers and facilities to expand the out-of-ED primary care for the underinsured, providing the appropriate setting for care. Simultaneously, a successful marketing strategy seeks to attract a growing patient base from segments that help drive fiscal success for the department, the group, and the hospital. This includes outreach efforts to entice and efficiently deliver care to patients from attractive demographic areas and regional employers (Figure 26-2).

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Effective marketing requires identifying targeted customers to whom specific services will be delivered. Even though organizations like Walmart utilize widespread advertising, ...

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