1. Target Market
  2. Positioning for a Differential Advantage
  3. Repetition and Persistence.
  • The target market for physiotherapists can be divided into different segments - eg. Potential patients/clients/; doctors and other health professionals, policy makers; health funders and industry. Each of these segments had different needs and must be targeted in different ways, and it is necessary to work out the best way to communicate with each group.
  • Market research was needed to discover who requires physiotherapy, and who will use our services, what they already know about physiotherapy, and what they want and expect from physiotherapy. Because physiotherapy is such a diverse profession it is difficult to market all facets, and we must be careful not to be too general, may need to choose an applicable speciality initially.
  • Positioning for Differential Advantage. “Positioning” is the process of defining the product or service from the viewpoint of the target market. Thus physiotherapy needed to be simplified into a few simple phrases to help the target market remember what physiotherapy is, and why it is different to eg Osteopathy or Chiropractic. The profession’s strengths and weaknesses needed to be identified, and the needs of the target groups analysed. Then marketing techniques could be selected.
  • Repetition and Persistence are needed because research has shown that word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool available.

The Working Party found that the Society still faced several important internal challenges before it could hope to implement a successful Marketing and Public Relations Plan.

These Challenges were-

  1. Inadequate marketing and public relations resources and strategies. Although the previous marketing kit was helpful, most branches and SIGs did not have enough resources, and they were not collated. It could be necessary to employ another staff member to implement this, and new material should be carefully co-ordinated.
  2. Wide and poorly identified body of knowledge - a clear statement on was needed.
  3. Intra-Society communication problems - there was a need for unity within the profession, with sub groups to work in the same direction with the same goals and the same marketing plan. Many members were reluctant to fund marketing. A programme of education was needed to improve members perception of what the Society can do.
  4. A lack of marketing knowledge and skills amongst many physiotherapists. Marketing needed to be a high priority.
  5. Poor marketing date to date. - very little had been done to determine the physiotherapy needs of the community. Further research techniques could include demographic analysis, focus groups, interviews, surveys etc,
  6. A lack of research-based methodology within physiotherapy to validate the profession’s skills. We must validate our skills and expertise as a profession and need hard facts about standards of care, outcome measurements, and these must be scientifically based with correct research-based methods.

The Working Party felt the Mail Order Shop (McMos) was vital to help realise the marketing goals of the Society.

From this the Working Party produced a report identifying several important issues to be addressed.

  • Appoint a Marketing Committee to implement the strategies outlined.
  • Executive and Marketing Committee work together to describe physiotherapy in a market oriented fashion to make the profession’s skill known to target markets.
  • Educate the membership about the Society and improve communication within the Society.
  • Educate the membership about the importance of and the need for marketing the physiotherapy profession in New Zealand.
  • Support the College of Physiotherapy to improve the research base of the physiotherapy profession’s body of knowledge.
  • Circulate the Report widely.
  • Collate further marketing information so that a Strategic Marketing Plan could be formed.

The role of Branches Liaison Officers was confirmed and a job description prepared for them. National Executive adopted these recommendations, and the Marketing Committee was reformed to develop and implement them.

A marketing column had appeared in the Newsletter from August 1993, but following the Working Party it appeared from February 1994 until December 1996.



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