The Veterans Administration (VA) is responsible for providing health care for veterans. Established in 1930, the department is part of the United States government and is overseen by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. As the largest employer in the state of Maryland, with over 10,000 employees, the department offers an interesting case study for marketers.
Marketing to this audience is challenging. The department’s budget is classified, so advertising opportunities are limited. In addition, the majority of veterans (over 80 percent) are already likely to be customers of VA-sanctioned health care facilities, so there is a high percentage of familiar brand exposure.
However, the department is still a fertile ground for marketers, and with a little planning and research, brand awareness can be achieved. In this article, we will discuss four steps that can help you build a comprehensive marketing strategy for VA.
Step one: Identify the target audience and the marketing goals
One of the first steps in formulating a VA marketing plan is to identify its target audience and set some SMART goals. Setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts and adjust your approach as needed. For example, if you find that your product is not reaching the right audience, you can adjust your marketing strategy to focus on a different demographic or set of customers.
Step two: Determining the marketing mix
The second step is to decide on the Marketing Mix, which will form the basis of your marketing strategy. In creating a marketing mix, you will consider the target audience, existing competitors, and your budget. Essentially, the mix should represent the proportion of effort that will be devoted to each technique in order to achieve your goals.
For example, if your goal is to double your revenue by the end of the year, and you are aware that national ads yield the greatest results, you will decide to allocate 60 percent of your budget to advertising. If your target audience is currently un-reached, and you have money to spare, you might consider investing in digital marketing.
Step three: Create a marketing plan
The third step is to develop a marketing plan, which will form the blueprint for your marketing efforts. The plan should include a detailed description of your target audience, and include key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your progress. Additionally, you should consider creating a timeline for the plan, detailing the activities that will be carried out and the expected results.
Step four: Evaluate the plan
The fourth step is to evaluate your plan. At this stage, you will consider whether the assumptions underlying your strategy are accurate, and whether the plan is feasible. As part of the review, you should ask yourself questions such as:
- Are my resources and capabilities adequate to execute the plan?
- Is the environment suitable for my type of business?
- Will my customers agree that the plan is beneficial to their interests?
- Am I realistic in my expectations?