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.
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.