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Goals, Strategies and Tactics: Drawing the Roadmap for Success

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Green "Success" text above golden switchHow to organize the tasks and responsibilities that will get you where you want to go.

A marketing or business goal is not clearly defined without establishing what's needed to achieve it. Organizing the broad concepts and specific action steps that support the goal are the fundamental tools necessary to success in healthcare marketing. Here's how to define how you're going to get to the mountain top.

Here's a relatively simple concept to produce genuine traction for your healthcare marketing effort. It answers the "which-way-up?" questions that always follow when high-level goals have been decided, defined and quantified.

A lofty goal can look mighty forbidding until you chart a course of manageable and do-able action steps. This is a quick lesson for everyone (maybe a reminder for some) that's useful for marketing in healthcare organizations of all types, including hospitals, manufacturers, individual and group practices, physicians and surgeons, dentists, pharmaceuticals and entrepreneurs.

Goals, Strategies, Tactics

The success process uses a hierarchy of GOALS, STRATEGIES and TACTICS...and it's important to appreciate the marketing definition for each term.

GOALS: Take a look at your goal or goals. Goals are specific, measurable, achievable and tangible business objectives. This is more than an exercise in semantics—it's expressing the goal in a concrete way that can be managed.

STRATEGIES: This is the first level of "what's next." Strategies are the ideas and broad approaches that support the goal. There can be more than one strategic approach to achieving a goal.

TACTICS: Think of these as the tools that give your plan traction and energy. Tactics are the specific action items, details and activities that must occur for the strategy to be successful. You'll want to list several tactics under each strategy.

Selected strategies and tactics work synergistically to complement one another for exponential positive results. Here's an illustration of the relationship between a goal, strategies and tactics.

GOAL: Increase new patient volume by 20 percent in the next year 

Strategy: Improve patient experience to inspire more patient referrals


  • Institute quarterly patient satisfaction training sessions for staff
  • Create incentive program for staff based on increased referral volume
  • Devote one staff meeting/mo to ideas for improving patient experience
  • Create and display a framed poster defining our practice's unwavering patient satisfaction commitment

Additional Strategies and Tactics follow to complete the plan; all are implemented in concert with each other. The synergy of several strategies and many tactics working together creates the best results.

Immediate and daily action

This detailed list of your marketing strategies and tactics provides what's needed to make decisions and start to take action right away. We mean today.

Marketing is a real-time exercise...it's what you do every day. It's not designed to be planned in one month and then implemented six months later. Break out each of the tactics in action plan with these headings:

Timelines and Deadlines - how long will it take, and when will it be done?
Tasks and Responsibilities - specifically who will be accountable for each task?

If all of this has an academic ring to it, here's how author Denis Waitley said it: "The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them."

Better, we think, to be a winner. This is the kind of detail that gets the job done.

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