by Evan Franklin


Team High Five in Office Image

When creating a strategic marketing plan, it can be difficult to know where to start. Do you begin by reviewing past performance? Or do you first figure out what’s in the budget? While both areas are important in finalizing a marketing plan, they are not where you should begin.

Start with the end in mind.

At the end of 2019, where do you see yourself, your team and your practice? Do you plan to have opened a second location? If so, you’ll need to allocate far more funds into the marketing plan than you did last year and likely hire additional staff. Do you plan to maintain the same level of organic growth that you did last year? If so, you’ll likely assess what worked well for marketing in 2018 and continue those efforts. Do you see how both scenarios are vastly different dependent on the desired outcome?
Had you started by just reviewing past performance or looking at the budget, you would have made no real progress towards your big goals. You would not see what you needed to actually do to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Big goals require big vision and big buy-in.

As you work on creating your marketing plan, it is important to get the entire team on board. Does everyone believe this is where your team can go? Does everyone want to go in that direction? Everyone needs to be rowing ahead at the same speed with the same exertion to ensure you meet your big goals. Show your team what it looks like for them when you reach those big goals. Does a second location mean more managerial-level promotions? Does maintaining steady growth mean more consistent work schedules? There are wins for everyone, regardless of what the goal is. The important thing is to make them clear to get the buy-in needed to reach the big goal.

Keep the big picture in mind but measure along the way.

As you implement the strategies needed to reach your big goals, it is key to measure progress along the way. If you are running Google AdWords, be sure someone is regularly monitoring results via an online dashboard. If you are sending out weekly content, appoint someone to be responsible for gathering open rates. Evaluate these results regularly to see where you should invest more and where you should scale back efforts. Do not stop or change tactics based on a single month, though! Analyze trends not single occurrences. Trends will keep the big picture front and center so that decisions aren’t made on whim, but rather, with a true strategy in mind.


Big Buzz is a marketing agency delivering a steady stream of move-in-ready leads to teams serving the senior living industry. For more than 15 years, Big Buzz has helped senior living marketing and sales teams nurture leads to increase occupancy, grow and scale. CEO Wendy O’Donovan Phillips is the author of the book Flourish!: The Method Used by Aging Services Organizations for the Ultimate Marketing Results, has been published in McKnight’s, has been a regular contributor to Forbes, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, ABC News and Chicago Tribune. The Big Buzz leadership team regularly lectures in front of audiences ranging from 25 to 3,000 attendees, including at Argentum and various LeadingAge chapters. Agency awards and accolades include recognition for excellence by the American Marketing Association, Gold Key Award Winner by the Business Marketing Association, HubSpot Academy Inbound Marketing Certification, and Top Advertising and Marketing Agency by Clutch. 

by Evan Franklin



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