Marketing and Promotion

Marketing methods of communicating concepts

Healthcare providers, diabetes educators, and other key stakeholders understand that DSMES services have many benefits, including increasing satisfaction, improving clinical quality, enhancing clinical outcomes, and reducing costs. Nonetheless, participation in DSMES by people with diabetes is low. According to research by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, diabetes education is generally highly regarded by providers; however, “it’s only recommended on average for just 62 percent of their patients.”56

Although clinicians recognize that diabetes education is effective, some providers are not aware of existing DSMES services. Promoting DSMES and highlighting its value are critical to encourage referrals as well as ensure long-term sustainability. It is essential that healthcare providers understand a service’s scope and how it can improve health, but also how it can help them meet quality measures and increase productivity. Communication with providers is a good first step toward increasing awareness and referrals.

A common reason for business failure is the absence of an achievable marketing plan that is customized to meet the needs of the target market. Marketing is the act of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. It is essential to create a marketing plan to effectively promote DSMES services and increase referrals.

Resources for additional information for marketing DSMES services:

The Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Joint Position Statement User Guide pdf icon[PDF – 540 KB]external icon:
Diabetes educators can use this guide when making presentations to groups that can influence referrals, including local educators, physician and nursing leaders, performance improvement and quality departments, administrators, and other individuals and groups (depending on the local practice site context). Educators can use the Joint Position Statement and algorithm to communicate with providers who refer as well as those who do not make referrals. The User Guide has items created specifically to support communication and marketing. The User Guide also includes the following:

Provider Letter pdf icon[PDF – 55 KB]external icon:
This template letter outlines the essentials to support the need for DSMES. It is intended to be sent along with a copy of the Joint Position Statement and the algorithm. The Guide suggests that key service leaders sign the letter along with the diabetes educator, who also should add service-specific information.

Flyer pdf icon[PDF – 459 KB]external icon:
This flyer can be used to provide general information about the benefits of DSMES. It also outlines four critical times when DSMES should occur.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) has developed a two-part resource guide that includes tips and tactics to reach health care providers as well as a PowerPoint presentation that describes the benefits of working with a diabetes educator.

Business Plan Guide for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) Programs pdf icon[PDF – 7 MB]external icon:
This document provides guidance on how to write a DSMES business plan.

Article on the Joint Position Statement Addressing the Importance of Diabetes Self-management Education and Supportexternal icon:
This article discusses the importance of making referrals to DSMES services and may be a good marketing resource.

Working with a Diabetes Educatorexternal icon:
This AADE link provides information about how diabetes educators can be useful and can support efforts to market DSMES services.

DSMES Program Management Courseexternal icon:
This online, self-study course from AADE focuses on how to plan, implement, and maintain a successful DSMES service. It includes a module on marketing.

Diabetes Initiative Template Recruitment and Marketing Materialsexternal icon:
This site, developed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, includes a section on recruitment templates and marketing materials.

Self-Management Education: Learn More. Feel Better:
This resource on the CDC’s website promotes self-management education interventions to manage chronic disease.

PowerPoint Template ppt icon[PPTX – 3 MB]external icon:
This AADE PowerPoint template allows services to add their own logo and information to market their services to providers.

Health Communication and Marketing Toolkit:
This CDC toolkit helps health departments and other organizations develop health communication and marketing plans to address diabetes.

Page last reviewed: March 12, 2018