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Posted on 03.25.2009

Assess, Diagnose, Plan, Implement and Evaluate: A Nurse's Approach to Public Relations and Marketing

You clinicians out there are probably familiar with the ADPIE (Assess, Diagnose, Plan, Implement and Evaluate) approach to patient care. Because nursing is so deeply ingrained in my psyche after 16 years in the industry, I still use this approach as a strategic planning tool for our health care and non-health care PR / Marketing clients. The acronym illustrates the importance of gaining an in-depth understanding of our clients’ businesses, by investing time and resources into the assessment and diagnostic phases, before developing a strategic plan of action. Picture this: As marketing and communications counsel, we assume the role of the physician. Before we jump into a treatment regimen (strategic marketing, communications or crisis management tactics), we must complete a thorough evaluation of the patient’s (client’s) signs and symptoms and correctly identify (or diagnose) the issues. Here’s how it works: Assessment During this time we develop an in-depth understanding of the company. The information we gather during this phase will serve as the foundation for the strategy and tactics to come. This process may include a review of:
  • Company mission, values and goals
  • Business plan
  • Target audiences
  • Competitive landscape
  • Factors of influence within the industry
  • Internal and external audiences
  • Success of past marketing efforts
Diagnosis The diagnosis will be unique for every client based on the “signs and symptoms” identified in the assessment phase. Diagnoses may lead to a focus on:
  • Employee / Internal communications
  • Advertising strategy
  • Public relations
  • Crisis planning / Crisis management
  • Reputation management
  • Online presence
  • Website functionality, appearance and ease of navigation
  • Collateral development
  • Media training
  • Media relations
Planning During the planning phase, we formulate an action plan. As with the diagnosis, plans will be unique to each client and may include:
  • Media relations
  • Print media / Editorial promotion
  • Electronic and broadcast media
  • Social media
  • Sponsorship opportunities
  • Advertising and promotional campaigns
  • Community relations
  • Strategic networking
  • Cross promotions
  • Website improvements
  • Search engine optimization
  • Collateral development
Implementation During this phase we put the tactics outlined in the master plan into action by methodically developing resources to accomplish the objectives identified in the plan. Just a few examples are:
  • Development and distribution of news releases
  • Develop feature stories and targeted pitches
  • Develop marketing materials
  • Website redesign
  • Ad development and distribution
Evaluation During the evaluation phase, we identify efforts that have been most successful as well as opportunities to modify those that have not produced desired results. ROI can be tricky, but there are always methods to monitor results. Considerations may include:
  • Increase in website traffic
  • Increase in sales
  • Media coverage of success stories
  • Calls in response to ads
  • Improved internal and external relations
Although the assessment, diagnostic and planning phases may require a significant amount of time and resources, it is indeed a wise investment. After all, would you let a surgeon you never met or who had no knowledge of your medical history operate on you?

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