Strategic Plan for Marketing the Feldenkrais Method 2008-2011

By Council of Regional Representatives

A.  Overview of Process

1.  Creation of Strategic Plan

Before presenting the written document, I’d like to say a few words about the creation of the Strategic Plan.  Though you may be hearing about this plan for the first time, its history is worth noting.  Many of you remember the intensive effort surrounding the 100th anniversary of Moshe’s birthday May 6th, 2004. A Centennial Committee was formed and volunteers worked across the country to raise awareness of our Method and what we have to offer.

2.  History of PR kits


This intention spurred the hiring of Social Planets, a marketing firm, to create materials for these events.  Hiring a PR firm was costly, and while they created a few useful pieces, it led to the realization that we need to take responsibility for defining what we do.  When attempts to gain national attention were made by placing articles in major media outlets, the lack of a PR kit became obvious.  CORR (Council of Regional Representatives), then known as the Regional Council, moved forward.  An ATM lesson was recorded for CD; the NY reps did a photo shoot in New York on a shoestring budget.1 These items were funded by CORR and organized with chutzpah and plenty of volunteer hours.  The PR kit was finished and released so that practitioners could have those resources available.  Other projects such as the promotional postcard, the DVD and the new FGNA brochure followed, as CORR representatives sought to respond to the expressed needs of members.

3.  CORR’s Budget

So let’s address a few questions.  How has CORR funded these efforts?  How is CORR itself funded?  Each region receives 10% of its member’s dues, so regions that have large concentrations of members have a larger amount to spend than smaller regions.  For example, my region, the Southwest/Rocky Mountain region, had a projected annual budget of $3696.00.  Each representative is expected to attend two CORR meetings yearly, two days in the spring in Portland and two more after the annual meeting.  Our airfare cost is pooled and divided by 10 to allocate similar costs for each region.  Reps are also required to organize regional annual meetings.  For these meetings, each rep prepares a budget so that the region can vote on to how to allocate their funds.  Regional reps receive airfare and lodging for the two nights for the two meetings; we pay for our own food.  We attend the annual conference without paying conference fees; we do pay for our own lodging and food and are expected to run the regional luncheon.

4.  Pooling Resources


CORR has been funding larger projects that benefit all members by pooling a set amount of funds.  For example, CORR allocated $2000 for a second photo shoot this past May to respond to member requests for pictures presenting a more diverse cross-section of clients, as well as group pictures.  Then, with FGNA staff help, we used those photos to complete the new FGNA brochure in time for the 2007 conference.


5.  Priority of Projects


As worthwhile projects proliferated, so did the realization that we needed to have a plan for all these projects.  What could we use as a basis for selection and prioritization?  We needed to see the bigger picture.  Our former CORR Chair,1 hammered relentlessly on the need for a Strategic Plan.  As her successor, I have taken this to heart, and have led four days’ worth of work during CORR’s last two years to create a strategic plan for marketing our Method to the public.  Today we present to you the first draft—minus the sweat and tears that it took to create it.


6.  Understanding the Basic Model of Strategic Plan


CORR used a group process to write the Strategic Plan.  I credit the writers of Strategic Plans for New and Emerging Businesses for the basic model.  Using that framework, CORR has written the draft of a plan that can be used to make choices about how we allocate our resources.  CORR has worked closely with the Board of Directors, which has seen the emerging draft several times. In the future, the plan can be used as a foundation for professional marketing firms to develop the next tier of ways to present the Method once funds are allocated by FGNA.  All of us have choices to make about how we spend our dollars, and CORR is dedicated to leveraging the small amount we have.

7.  Plan Elements


So, let’s look at the plan elements.  In general, a strategic plan provides an overview, an analysis of the business and its relevant environment.  Writing the plan meets the need described earlier for creating language to define ourselves.  It describes the current condition of the business and identifies key external factors, such as competition, which will affect continued growth and success.  Based on that analysis, an action plan of how the business will proceed to capitalize on its strengths is written.  I’d remind you that the format was already established, similar to the beginning position in an ATM lesson.  The defined planning horizon is three years.



I. Vision Statement


A crisp, clear statement of a desirable future that excites and energizes covering what we intend to achieve in three years.

II. Mission Statement


Broadly speaking, the mission statement is who we are.  It contains two major elements:

a.  Service Provided

A description of the nature of the business including industry, product and type of services, position in distribution channel, prime goals and target market.

b.  Philosophy of Business

A clear statement expressing the philosophy and core values that are fundamental and deeply held; an authentic reflection of how we define our professional integrity.


III. Environment


General environment characteristics, competition and location.  Answer the question:  If you couldn’t get a Feldenkrais lesson, what else would you choose?

IV. Distinctive Competencies

Recognizing that consumers have a variety of choices, what can we state about our Method in comparison to other providers that will clearly represent the differences between us.  Filling a special niche gives us a meaningful competitive edge and distinguishes us in the marketplace.  Define what makes us unique.

V. Growth Strategies and Goals

Written as horizon (three year) and near-term goals (6 months/12 month)
Break down into specific target goals and action plans.


B.  Strategic Plan for Marketing the Feldenkrais Method


2008 – 2011

I. Vision Statement for Marketing

The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education is widely recognized and acknowledged as the method of choice to achieve well-being in the areas of care, performance and potential.


II. Mission Statement for Marketing Plan

Movement- based lessons in the Feldenkrais Method for individuals and groups are taught by the members of FGNA, operating independently in the U.S. and Canada. 

a.  Service Provided
Skilled practitioners customize movement lessons that create new possibilities for awareness and learning.  Customized lessons invite full participation regardless of a learner’s physical state and result in the creation of an expanded sense of personal possibility. The three areas of concentration are:  Care, Performance and Potential which as a group represent a continuum of care for well-being.

b.  Philosophy of Business-  “What I’m after is…to restore human dignity”
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais

1.  This founding principle informs every client interaction.  A successful practice is built upon the high quality of client care embodied in every aspect of our professional interactions.

2.  We value:
Discovery through movement
Learning through exploration
Creation of new possibilities
Development of awareness
Lifelong learning for practitioners and clients in an environment of compassion and respect.

III. The Business and its Environment

a.  The Feldenkrais Guild® of North America serves as the membership organization of the profession, disseminating information and educational materials, maintaining standards of practice and ethics, providing accreditation of trainings, certifying practitioners and supporting their development and maintaining service marks.  FGNA also created CORR – Council of Regional Representatives - to serve as a forum for communication and problem solving regarding regional concerns, and to facilitate the communication between local members and the Board of Directors.  CORR’s mission is to serves as the creative force and as a communication vehicle among the regions.  FGNA is governed by a seven-to-nine member Board of Directors who hire and oversee the Executive Director, who, in turn, is responsible for staff.  FEFNA, the Feldenkrais® Educational Foundation of North America, is a separate organization with a 501(c)3 tax ID, whose purpose is public outreach and research.

b.  The emergence of the experience economy2 is of great value to our profession. Three areas of the economy are of particular interest: Care, Performance and Potential. Competition in these fields is varied, and can be characterized as: a) somatic/physical, such as PT, OT, yoga, Pilates, massage and acupuncture; and b) non-somatic/physical such as NLP, life coaches, meditation and psychologists. Both categories have options of delivery such as classes, private sessions and media options (CDs, DVDs). Suppliers include individual practitioners, spas, fitness and retreat centers, medical and clinical settings.

IV.  Distinctive Competency

Based upon experiential learning and encouraging a wide array of teaching styles and service areas, the Feldenkrais Method is a unique combination of neuroscience and personal exploration based on how the human skeleton functions in relation to gravity.  The practice of the Feldenkrais Method results in the cultivation of the kinesthetic sense, which is vital to an individual’s ability to direct his/her own improvement.  Practitioners create lessons that allow for a process of self-discovery and learning for clients.  Because the Feldenkrais Method is primarily learning and function based, it compliments and enhances other modalities (yoga, coaching, and counseling).  PTs, Pilates and yoga instructors, massage therapists, and athletes all benefit from study of the FM because it informs their work.

V.  Target Goals and Action Plan (maximum 3!)

FGNA recognizes and supports the entrepreneurial nature of each practitioner’s business setting, and supports efforts that bring the Method to the widest possible audience.  In order to do that, these marketing projects will be completed:

a.  Project description, resources needed, deadline (within 3 years)

b.  Project description, resources needed, deadline (within 12 mo.)

c.  Project description, resources needed, deadline (within 6 mo.)


C.  After the Portland meeting, the following suggestions were made to the Board of Directors for projects:

1.  Support students in professional training programs so that they are prepared to start a business and prosper.  Existing materials include the existing PR kit, the DVD, the new FGNA brochure.  In process are templates for business cards, flyers and brochures.  The distribution of these resources needs to be set for students at specified levels (e.g., ready to teach ATM).

2.  Position Feldenkrais® within the continuum of well-being, in the three categories of Care, Performance and Potential as a partner with other methods.  Reach out to PTs, Pilates and yoga instructors and to massage therapists using our internal resources of experienced practitioners already working in both worlds.  Target professional conferences, teaching schools and create a basic presentation to expand their awareness of our usefulness.  Create networks of cooperation locally.


D.  Member feedback requested

We are asking for member feedback to create this list.  Please post your response in the Feedback Box by Monday, March 3rd, 2008.

1.  Does this plan reflect our profession?  Why or why not?

2.  What are the marketing tools that you want to see developed next?  What purpose will that accomplish?

3.  As you read the plan, are there sections that need more explanation or have awkward wording? Do you have suggestions for how to say something more clearly?  Please indicate which section you are referring to and what you want to accomplish with your change.


E.  A Final Note

To be useful, this plan will be a living document, one that is reviewed and updated yearly.  When change is addressed this way, it becomes a driving force of evolving strength.  By reviewing the plan annually, pro-active responses that reflect current conditions will take advantage of emerging opportunities. 

Thank you for letting me share both the marketing plan and its creation process with you, and please join me in saluting the wonderful members of CORR who worked so hard to create this draft.  I never forget that we serve as representatives of all our members, and they deserve our very best.

Sissel Svanoe Rhyme
Chair, CORR (2006-2007)

2006-2007 Regional Representatives

Canadian Region:  Rosa Murnaghan
Eastern Region: Dianne Fecteau, Jane Johnston & Chrish Kresge
Midwest Region: Denise Kordie, Marjorie Levine, & Carla Rock
Northern California/ Northern Nevada Region: Paulette Dolin & Monna Lang
New England Region:  Deborah Lotus, Lidy Ost & Deborah Page
Northwest Region: Daryl Brooke, Allegra Heidelinde & Susan Wildwood
New York Region: Karen Donelson, Sonja Johansson & Kathy Yates
Southern California/ Southern Nevada/ Hawaii Region: Laura McMurray
Southeast Region: Barbara Leverone, Tracy Melchior- Roybal & MaryBeth Smith
Southwest/ Rocky Mountain Region: Jeanne Hills & Sissel Svanoe Rhyme

1 Special thanks to:  Darcia Dexter, Karen Donelson, Dianne Fecteau, Barbara Leverone, Laura McMurray and Kathy Yates.

2 (Pines and Gilmore, 1999:  The Experience Economy.  Harvard Business School Press.)  The authors provide a blueprint for the evolution of the world economy through primitive stages (providing commodities, goods, services, or information) to one where providers of engaging, memorable,  transformational experiences are the businesses who succeed.



Brava, Sissel!  Your work on this document has been first rate.  Since I know the blood, sweat and tears that went into it, I just want to say that you have presented a smooth, professional finished product, and I thank you.

By Barbara Leverone on 01/30/2008

Thank you, Sissel.
I appreciate the effort you have taken in the direction of helping member practitioners build and maintain a business.

Reading the details of your report left me a bit confused, but the jist is clear.  I like the general propositions (C).  Yes, the report seems to represent us. 

I am curious to know what demographics and population size will support a Feld. practice.  I don’t know if this would be a project that would benefit all practitioners.  I want to relocate to somewhere that will support my practice better.  (I live in Humboldt County, CA which is fairly economically depressed and I cannon take insurance through another license.)

Also, while I have made much use of the photos and text on the CD in the PR kit, I don’t know how to make the best use of the whole kit with DVD and binder.  The “How to use this kit” page was not entirely helpful.

I love this work and want very much to make my living at it.  Thanks for your support in this.

Cathy Butler

By Cathy Butler on 01/31/2008

I’m sure that trying to bring this together was a challenge. Unfortunately there is nothing here that gives a sense of direction for the future.

You write in the “Vision Statement for Marketing” that “The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education is widely recognized and acknowledged as the method of choice to achieve well-being in the areas of care, performance and potential.”

This is untrue. It’s not widely recognized and acknowledged at all—that’s the problem. If you’re starting from an untrue statement then you’re not confronting the challenges that exist and that should be addressed by a strategic plan.

You say in section II that lessons are “taught by the members of FGNA.” Not true. One doesn’t have to be a member to teach them but only certified. Also in section II, the list of what you value is complete as to how many see this work. These values should have informed the mission statement but they don’t seem to do so. The section as a whole doesn’t speak in a clear language that the average reader could understand. More important, it’s not a mission statement which should be short, sweet, and specific enough that the objectives defined and the specific projects that result can be determined to address the statement in such a way that results can be measured.

Section III doesn’t address the environment at all. You should be addressing competition, the nature of the larger category under which this work falls—e.g. alternative health—and other characteristics that define the environment within which you operate.

In the next section, I understand the distinctive competencies you’re trying to get at but they’d make no sense to the average reader or general public.

Section V had nothing in it but you seem to be confusing a strategic plan with a tactical plan. It’s a big difference.

C(2) contains some concrete steps but I think you’ll get some flak from members about this. Also, you’re getting into the health care world and likely to be more subject to licensing. Nonetheless, if this is really a tactical plan you could probably build on some of this. But how will you measure the results of any of your efforts?

One of your questions had to do with marketing tools. I cannot say it often enough. You need to know specifically what it is you want to accomplish in the way of objectives before you delve down into tools. Marketing is only one piece of the picture. The problem is not a lack of marketing tools. The problem is a lack of public awareness, in part because there is no consistent effort by FGNA to put the method out there. Every time you see an article on alternative methods the FM is never mentioned. Someone should, at the least, be doing such things as monitoring editorial calendars and responding to articles by writing letters in an organized way. For example, there was recently an article in the NY Times on fibromyalgia which generated a slew of letters about the fact a doctor had said it was stress based. A client of mine read it and said that was one small citation but apparently the fibro group got members fired up to write. This lackadaisical community can’t be bothered to write letters after articles appear where the FM could be mentioned. Instead of taking on such projects as strategic plans when you don’t know how to do so, the method would be better served by putting your efforts into concrete tasks such as this.

Sorry if it sounds harsh and I do understand that you put effort into this document. But it doesn’t accomplish what it set out to do.

By Dianne Fecteau on 01/31/2008

I think we could do some terrific naational marketing and support practitioners by identifying areas CFP’s are working…ie Feldenkrias in the Curriculum and Feldenkrias in Spas.  Practitioners could model, use as examples and share info with other practioners as well develope and further our professional recognition.  I have had occasion to search these fields and was astonished at where Feldenkrias is practiced and how little we know about what and where we are practicing.  I was looking for references for teaching in Performing Arts Institute and also for supporting teaching Feldenkrais at a five star resort. WE could add these teaching sites on website as well as individual listings.  Best marketing of all, where we work as well as what we do - collectively as well as individually.

By Mimi Smith Rice on 02/04/2008

For me, the most important projects for the Guild it to continue to clarify, simplify (in terms of both language and volume of words), and systematically publicize the profession.  Towards that end, I agree with man of Fecteau’s comments.  I am also highly amused that the document avoids Rolfing, clearly the elephant in the room.  I understand that our relationship with Rolfing is complicated.  I also understand the beauty of the compassion, precision, and breadth of our work.  On the other hand, we need to communicate effectively and clearly. 

I knew a songwriter who was wonderful, but never had a great audience.  His work was eloquent, intelligent and musical.  However, he was willing to frankly say about a song or his stories, “that may not make sense to you, but it means a lot to me.”  Does this apply to us?

By Kate Heald on 02/14/2008

I alone would and will send $$$ to support them minds and time that has articulated so beautiful a method that reaching beyond words.

This should be a part of every training.

Where do I send my check? 
Catherine Rosasco Mitchell

By Catherine Rosasco Mitchell on 02/18/2008

Thanks for all the work that has gone into getting this going. I’m disappointed but not surprised to see only 5 responses. Nothing will work without mobilizing the membership so some attention needs to be paid to getting them involved. A direct survey might get more responses.
As to the plan I agree with some comments that mission statement is to vague and not meaningful to the public. This section III.b. strangely leaves out education-mentions classes but does not include specifically, elementary, middle school, high school, college and graduate school settings. This could be a larger market than ‘health care’ and IMO needs to be included in our marketing. I teach almost 100 students a semester and these students can spread the word. Please do not ignore education in the zeal to cash in on health care dollars.

Marketing tools: more articles in publications and someone monitoring what is getting published. Improve FEFNA website-it needs a free experience of the method clearly available on the first page. Stop charging for the info DVD-anyone who asks should receive it for free. Speakers bureau of experience prax to give talks all over; get trainers to give public workshops-the most experienced should be presenting to new prospects.

Mismanagement at FGNA is hurting marketing, that act needs to be cleaned up. Carver model of governance has failed, staff needs better oversight by board of directors. FEFNA needs a board that can raise money, not a board of practitioners.

my 2 cents,


By Richard Ehrman on 03/01/2008

Dear CORR,
Thanks for your ongoing efforts with this. smile

—Looking at the model you provided, I suggest that you change the mission to read, “Within Three Years, The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education will be widely recognized and acknowledged as the method of choice to achieve well-being in the areas of care, performance and potential.” If you put the time frame in there suddenly you realize that ALL of your target goals and action plans (you limit them to three), need to focus on getting the FM into the public arena of awareness and understanding. Big Job to happen in three years, but little steps will move us forward. To me, that is paramount and primary, getting people to know what the FM is. I believe that with proper attention the members/certifieds of FGNA would LIKE to participate in building the awareness about this work—we simply need tried and true guidance about how to actually do so.

—As the method is practiced by anyone certified through FGNA (these are not only members), this is an important distinction to make in the document (you refer to “members” being able to teach).

—The document reads unclearly to me, is this a marketing plan for FGNA? Or via FGNA but FOR the Feldenkrais Method?

—Asking for input over a four day window with two days being the weekend, is a tight turnaround time. Extending it and sending a reminder will help your response rate. I don’t recall having heard about the request for input before, its possible that I missed an email. Since FGNA historically has had a 20-40% open email rate, it is worthwhile to clearly target an audience repeatedly (at least 3 times).

—This document is a great draft, but still feels unformed to me, especially looking at the sections of the model you provided such as “environment” and our “distinctive competency.” I can’t comment on the environment, but four things which I think set us apart from other modalities are:
1) effective AND gentle (gentle compared to PT and some Rolfing, more effective than the short term effects of massage)
2) teachers/practitioners engage WITH the client/student, we don’t “do to” them. This is an empowering model and one which is very different from many medical and healing modes out there where the practitioner is the “expert.”
3) lessons encourage the individual to become the arbiter of their own experience, they are self-referencing and self-reverential.
4) the FM can serve anyone with a body and a brain. (you don’t have to have an injury or be an elite athlete to benefit).

I hope this is helpful and that many people respond! This post was the last one on a sort of long FGNA email. Cheers mates!

By Allegra Heidelinde on 03/01/2008

A couple of ideas.
1) have students in trainings complete 1 - 3 6 week ATM classes for the public that are free and co-lead with a local practitioner, as a requirement for certification. This will get new FP’s to have more ATM classes. The local practitioner would have to sign off on the completion. This also generates new business for both the student and practicing FP.

2) Have business people running the FGNA with some practitioners on the Board and subcommites The business minded people would be paid based on performance, if Feldenkrais is nationally recognized within 2 years they would get some kind of financial reward.

By Katie Scarchilli on 03/02/2008

Dianne,  the point of the Vision Statement is to identify what we want to be true, not what already is.  That’s the whole point of having a “Vision of the future”.  You have some great points otherwise.  I wish you would add more constructive suggestions in addition to your criticisms.  Writing this kind of document and tuning it comes from insightful suggestions for things to include as well as paring down or removing things that don’t help.  You seem to have a wealth of insight and experience and I’d like to see what you have to suggest for possible target goals.

To the group working on this:  I appreciate the effort you’re making.  I wish I had more experience under my belt to offer something substantial.  I’d like to see the target goals include something related to making inroads in national media outlets.  Elinor Silverstein has had some recent success with her pet food work. 

I also do think it would be constructive to add a section that elucidates what the competition is and how they’re succeeding.

By Robert Boyd on 03/03/2008

This was supposed to be a strategic plan and I missed that they labeled the top paragraph a “vision” statement. It would be be better to include this under objectives and include under obstacles the reality of what is today. Then there might be a way to get at the solutions. Sorry, Robert, there is no way I’m giving my expertise away for free. I already offered that and more to no effect as a volunteer.

Love the idea of hiring business people and tying financial compensation to achievement of the goals. That would put an end to the well-meaning but often inept approaches taken today. Of course the cultural kerfuffle this would cause makes me question whether it would turn out well.

By Dianne Fecteau on 03/04/2008

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