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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Veteran Project: Marketing Plan

Isa Koki, Kim Pacay, Sheena Jose, Kourtney Eay, Sylvia Lizama, Anthony Whitt, and Jose Guevara

University of Guam

Executive Summary

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for providing healthcare and benefit services for our nation's veterans. As a result of deeply rooted American culture, a wide variety of social and health care benefits are provided to veterans. Because the VA is a government organization, it faces restrictions on appropriated funds for advertising, limited community relations, staff, and additional bureaucracy. Despite these limiting factors, the overall goal of our marketing plan is to convey the message that “we can better” or significantly improve our nation's veterans living on Guam and the CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). The external marketing campaign aims to build trust within the VA system, and bring awareness in regards to how to utilize VA services efficiently.  The external campaign includes designing and implementing a local VA website, establishing concise communication channels and organization amongst local VA entities, as well as market via radio advertisements, print, and word of mouth. The commercials will play on local veteran-friendly radio talk shows as well as air on local news outlets. In addition, community outreach services will be increased to meet the needs to the veteran population. By establishing connections with existing veterans on island, not only will we be able to build our clientele, the increased number of registered service members may be used for justification for additional funding.

Word Count: 223

Table of Contents

Situation Analysis 4

Market Summary 4

Target Markets 5

Market Demographics 5

Market Needs 6

Market Trends 6

Market Growth 6

SWOT Analysis 7

    Strengths 7

    Weaknesses 7

    Opportunities 7

    Threats 8

Competition 8

Risk Analysis 8

Emerging/ International Market 8

Marketing Strategy and Sales Plan 9

    Community Outreach 9

    Weaknesses 9

References 10

Appendix A: Plagiarism Checker 11

Appendix B: Certificate of Original Work 12

Situation Analysis

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the sole responsibility of serving America's veterans. It is responsible for providing world class healthcare and services for these veterans. Various veteran offices throughout the continental United States have made strides in creating one stop centers, making the experience not only more convenient for the veterans themselves, but streamlining the transaction to help ease the overall application process.

On Guam, although several veteran agencies exist, their locations are spread out throughout the island. There currently is no one stop center existing on Guam. The fact that veterans are referred to other agencies throughout the island as opposed to being assisted on site within the same facility regardless of their claim, only further validates that the current model is inefficient. Many veterans are left frustrated and become resistant towards these agencies due to their negative experiences. Given the current circumstances, there appears to be a gap in terms of the “customer service” aspect. Creation of a one stop center that would house all services and benefit agencies under one roof would help alleviate the stress of running all over the island to file a claim. Moreover, by linking all the veteran agencies together, we can improve lines of communication and ensure that all benefit specialists are well aware of the duties and services their counterparts offer and what is required of the veteran in order to file their claim.

Market Summary

The eligible Veteran benefit beneficiary population consists of veterans who served in the active military service and who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. The VA benefit beneficiary population is living longer than ever, which has given a rise to an increased need for healthcare.  The official count of benefit eligible veterans living on Guam and its surrounding islands is unknown. The target audience for this new marketing plan will be veterans who served during the Vietnam and Gulf War eras, as this population is beginning to require more healthcare as they age.

Target Markets

Target markets will consist of veterans living on Guam and the surrounding islands,  the aging Vietnam and Gulf War era population, and the increasing female beneficiaries enrollment.

Market Demographics

The typical VA beneficiary consists of the geographic and demographic factors listed below:

• The Veteran Project's geographic target area is Guam and the CNMI. It is imperative for the VA to be able to provide services to veterans throughout the entire country without neglecting care and services for veterans located on or near Guam.

• A large percentage of veterans live in rural areas. This presents a significant problem because reaching veterans in these areas has proven to be quite challenging.

• The veteran population is overwhelmingly male.

• The total targeted population is currently unknown. Early estimations are between 10-20 thousand veterans living on or near Guam, however, no hard statistics exist that support this assumption.

• Current projections estimate a decline in veteran population over the next few decades.

• Current trends indicate a significant female population increase over the next two decades.

Market Needs

The Veterans Project has identified the following specific needs of this population that need to be addressed:

• World class, quality health care that optimizes accessibility while also enhancing the importance of value.

• Increased communication between existing services

• Requirement for more efficient education, training, and counseling services.  

• Advancing customer satisfaction by providing management systems and support services to that are easy to use.

• Downstream communication channel which is effective in communicating service availability.

• Access to easy-to-use systems for enrollment, claim tracking, instruction, and information gathering.

Market Trends

Veterans have a choice as to where they receive their healthcare.  On Guam and the CNMI, the choices available to veterans are quite limited, difficult to use, and oftentimes out-of-pocket expense are expected. The Veterans Project wants to encourage veterans to enroll in existing services, and build an argument that Guam should receive additional funding to increase services and benefits to veterans within the local community

Market Growth

Overall the veteran population is expected to decline over the next few decades. Capturing as many veterans into the VA beneficiary population will be essential in transforming the organization.  Due to the multitude of conditions veterans may be afflicted with, it is imperative that an increase in funding be attained in order to grant veterans increased access to benefits, fostering a seamless and effective service experience.

SWOT

The following SWOT analysis captures the key strengths and weaknesses within the Veterans Project and describes the opportunities and threats facing the VA.

Strengths

• The VA is a leader in medical merit with a strong graduate medical education programs, a robust inpatient structure, and advanced medical research.

• The largest integrated healthcare system in the United States.

• Strong case for additional funding opportunities based on potential veteran registration count miscalculation.

Weakness

• Poor communication and sharing of best practices throughout the VA.

• Lack of leadership training in strategic analysis, planning, decision making, and negotiating contracts.

• Lack of existing budget or effort for VA marketing and advertising.  Practically non-existent on Guam and the CNMI

Opportunities

• Ability to consolidate VA efforts by reducing redundant services, moving current services into one location, and introducing joint office accountability.  

• Introduce cost saving measures by increasing communication and organization between local, federal, and non-profit agencies.

Threats

• The growing national deficit potentially restricting funds to the VA.

• The escalating cost of healthcare, staffing shortages, and increasing demand for services nationwide.  (Competition for funds)

• Uncertainty of VA reform under current administration (Gordon, 2017).

Competition

The VA is has largest integrated system of healthcare in the nation, access to employment counseling, education benefits, among many others which have counterparts in the private market, and for the purpose of this campaign, should be the number one choice for the majority of veterans.  The competitive private market has quicker access to care, less variation in quality, and the ability to quickly decide, and change service providers. The VA bureaucracy is cumbersome and the process to modify policy and implement organizational change is lengthy; resulting in a substantial challenge when competing with private systems that offer similar services.  Locally, the competition is less robust and reaffirms the need to improve VA services to better address the needs of Guam and CNMI veterans.

Emerging Market/CNMI

An element (secondary) of this marketing plan is to identify possibilities to assist the veterans of Guam's neighboring islands within the CNMI, primarily Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.  For the initial phase of expansion into the CNMI, the island of Saipan will be the primary focus for the following reasons: an established local VA infrastructure exists, an established Federal VA outreach clinic exists which provides the majority of available services to the CNMI, data is available to a limited degree on Saipan VA services (Office of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, 2017), the estimated veteran count on Saipan is above one-thousand (Office of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, 2017), strong need for increased veteran service (Office of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, 2017), VA funding channels already exist for both local and federal VA centers (Office of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, 2017).  

The marketing strategy for penetrating Guam's neighboring islands is a comprehensive analysis of the available services, the veteran's stated needs, VA representative's stated needs, and Saipan Congress office representative's stated needs.

Available Services

Primary and secondary research conducted on VA services available to CNMI indicated that many of the problems associated with Guam VA services also exist for the CNMI, but on a much larger scale.  The local VA center and Congress office of Saipan are both unaware of the current events and services offered by the Federal VA Outreach Clinic on Saipan, meanwhile the VA Outreach Clinic is unaware of the community events sponsored by the Congress office (Saipan VA Office, 2017).  While each entities objective is to service local veterans, the Veterans Project team believes that the services are not working congruently and finds immediate opportunity to improve these services by creating a One-Stop web portal which is veteran operated and serves the purpose of providing information about each service (contact numbers, relevant and breaking news, changes to policy, dates of conferences, webinars, and VA clinics.  The Veterans Project team is working with current nonprofits on Guam and Saipan (VFW) and veterans to determine if adding an element of profit to this design by means of offering ad space on the portal to local business which cater towards veterans, and if most profits received could be passed back to the veteran community while keeping the portal sustainable.  

CNMI SWOT

Strengths

• Overwhelmingly positive response from Saipan VA, Congressional, and VA health center representatives as well as members of both Guam, and Saipan VFW.

• The web portal is a little to no-cost venture as web domain and storage are projected low, and fundraising possibilities exist.

Weakness

• Unknown veteran demographic.

• Traditional VA marketing is word of mouth for CNMI, and it is likely difficult to market this portal (Office of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, 2017).  

• It is unknown if veterans of the CNMI are active online (Saipan VA Office, 2017).

Opportunities

• Ability to consolidate VA efforts by sharing knowledge between existing services.

• Possibility to unite CNMI veterans, and create efforts for an official registry.

• Generate profit based on ad space on one-stop portal.

• Contribute to the growth of VA services in the CNMI by donating a portion of profits to existing services.

• Ability to give CNMI veterans a platform to voice their opinions via feedback on the portal.  This feedback can help existing VA services by keeping them transparent and accountable as well as identifying was to improve and expand on services.

Threats

• Uncertainty of VA reform under current administration (Gordon, 2017).

• Creating tension between existing services.

• Non-participation by CNMI veterans (Office of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, 2017).

CNMI Marketing Strategy

The initial phase of marketing has been completed by creating a dialog between existing services, and finding a common interest.  The target market is the CNMI Veteran, and the key stakeholders have been identified as the local and federal VA services, as well as CNMI policy makers, VA nonprofits, and businesses which would have interest in a high traffic veteran web portal as a means of advertising.  Ideally, each entity would have great satisfaction in the creation of the one-top veterans web portal, and the stakeholder's opinions will be taken into great consideration as they will be the main marketing method used in this plan via word of mouth to the veteran (Office of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, 2017).  The word of mouth method, combined with a social media campaign designed to draw traffic and create a buzz among CNMI veterans and is the best approach to the early phase of marketing the portal as no standard marketing for the VA currently exists and many veterans have cut ties with VA services (Office of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, 2017).   By selling advertising space to local business geared with veteran discounts, the portal can then be marketed as a VA service information and event page as well as a local veteran discount page which gives the veteran a reason to visit the portal which is not associated with the VA.

Marketing Strategy and Sales Plan

Community Outreach (Community & Senior Centers)

Marketing and Advertising

Advertising will be used as an attempt to influence veterans to avail of current services. The main objective is to draw veterans in by marketing the convenience of having one facility with all VA agencies consolidated and available under one roof. We would also integrate the service aspect of the experience by providing veterans with a resource to assist them in all aspects during their visit. These individuals who are specialized in providing benefit assistance should also be well versed in all other benefits and services offered by the VA in entirety.

Many veterans of Guam and the CNMI are unaware of what services the VA agencies have to offer. Our goal would be to push out information via various media outlets including print (newspapers), broadcast (radio), commercials, as well as pamphlets and brochures detailing pertinent information. Given the target market and age group of the individuals we are looking to attract, we've chosen these mediums as we believe it would be most effective in conveying our message.

References

Gordon, S. (2017, July 14). Trump's plan to privatize the VA will hurt vets. Retrieved November 16, 2017, from http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-military/342088-trumps-plan-to-privatize-the-va-will-hurt-vets

Office of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, personal communication, November 15, 2017.

Press Release, Kilili pushes health services for veterans of US territories. (2017, November 09). Retrieved November 17, 2017, from https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/kilili-pushes-health-services-veterans-us-territories/

Saipan VA Office, personal communication, November 15, 2017.

Appendix A: Plagiarism Check

Appendix B: Certificate of Original Work

I certify that the attached paper is my original work. I am familiar with, and acknowledged my responsibilities which are part of, the University Of Guam Student Code Of Academic Integrity. I affirm that any sections of the paper which has been submitted previously is attributed and cited as such, and that this paper has not been submitted by anyone else. I have identified the sources of all information whether quoted verbatim or paraphrased, all images, and all quotations with citations and reference listings. Along with citations and reference listings, I have used quotation marks to identify quotations of fewer than 40 words and have used block indentation for quotations of 40 or more words. Nothing in this assignment violates copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property laws. I further agree that the submission of my assignment as replied back to this thread is intended to have, and shall have, the same validity as my handwritten signature.

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