Sometimes It Works, Sometimes It Doesn’t
Jim Beaufort was appointed as the administrator of Marshall Nursing Center, a 230-bed skilled nursing facility located in a large metropolitan area. The facility’s occupancy rate had gradually declined from 82% (188 residents) a year ago to 74% (170 residents). Three months ago when Jim was hired for the job, the company’s vice president of operations, Ronald Ortner, was upfront about the declining census. Ortner was particularly impressed with Jim’s business degree in marketing, and how Jim had enthusiastically talked about using a “mystery shopper”* to get information on the competitors of a nursing home he had previously managed. Jim knew that his work was cut out for him. When offering the job, Ortner had said, “I am giving you a 20% raise over what you were making at your old job; I want this facility turned around in a year’s time.” To that Jim had confidently responded, “Oh, you will see a trend change much before that.”
Jim spent the first 3 months on the job getting to know the staff, residents, and some of the family members. He made written notes on some of his observations:
Jim thinks that he has just 9 months left to increase the census and keep his job. So, he embarks on formulating a marketing plan:
Marshall Nursing Center has excelled in providing high-quality nursing and rehabilitation care in this community for more than 20 years. Our staff’s caring is like a healing touch. We are accepting new patients. Bring your loved one here and see the results for yourself.
“That will get people’s attention,” Jim thought to himself.
Jim was confident that in another 6 months the facility’s census would start turning around, but it only deteriorated further. Frustrated, he starts looking for another job. Sitting in his office, he moans, “Marketing is just a theory: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
* A mystery shopper, also referred to as a “secret shopper,” is a marketing professional who specializes in visiting and evaluating business practices, posing as a potential client.
1. How should Jim have handled his job interview with regard to the declining census?
2. Do you agree with Jim’s statement: Marketing is just a theory: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t? Explain why marketing may not work.
3. Evaluate Jim’s marketing plan. What main improvements would you make?
4. Critically evaluate the promotional message.
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