As this year draws to a close (yay!), it is time to think about planning for 2021. At the end of the year, you review your financial statements, inventory, etc., but do you review your marketing plan? If not, doing a thorough review of your marketing strategy should also be a part of that checklist. I know for many of us, our goals at the start of the year were thrown out the window when COVID hit, but hopefully you adjusted those goals along the way. You should always have minimum of two to three goals you are working on for your pharmacy.
It is important to review each goal individually and ask yourself, did I meet this goal? If yes – how? Was one marketing tactic more successful than others? Did unexpected outside factors contribute? If your answer was no – why not? Maybe the wrong messaging was used, or not the right advertising medium. Did you effectively track the tactics used to get accurate results? When starting with any plan, it is important to establish a baseline. For example, if you want to increase overall new patient count by 15%, you need to look at where you are before starting any marketing. And how will your track this along the way? By asking new patients when they come in how they heard about you? Just through your dispensing system reports? Map out your strategy so you have a clear path in achieving your goals.
Whatever the outcome of our goals for 2020, it is important to learn from them for planning for next year. It is also equally important to get your employees’ feedback. They are on the frontlines of your business every day, and they may feel differently about how things went. You can ask through a staff meeting or an annual employee survey. You will gain valuable insights and your employees will feel valued because you ask for their opinion and feedback.
Now that you know what worked for this year, it is time to plan out for 2021. Our recommendation is to always start with a SWOT analysis. This looks at your business’ Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats. The first two are internal – what does my pharmacy do well, and not so well? The last two are external factors – what opportunities are available in my local market that I have not explored? What threats exist? For many of us, this is low reimbursements, DIR fees, etc. Putting this analysis together, can give you a clear picture of where you should focus next year.
During this planning, it is important to review your brand, which is anywhere your logo appears. Do an annual thorough review of:
Interior/Exterior First Impressions – what does the outside of your pharmacy look like? How about when you first walk in the front door?
Marketing materials – are they out of date?
Website – has it been updated in the last few months? Is all the information accurate?
Social media – are posts consistent and varied in content?
Employee/Outside vendors – what are their ideas? Ask your employees what does our brand mean to you? (The answer may surprise you).
By doing a review of your branding, it will help determine if you need to do any revamping by making minor tweaks, major updates, or a complete overall. Here are examples of each type of revamp:
Minor tweaks: Update brochures with new photos, add new copy to your website, or update your cover photo on the pharmacy’s Facebook page.
Major Updates: Complete redesign of a website, new “look” for printed materials, updates to front-end section.
Complete overall: Redo your logo and colors – changing all your marketing materials in the process.
In your final stages of planning for next year, use the SWOT analysis to determine your marketing goals. Also think about how they are tied to your business objectives. For example, if one of your goals was to increase the number of people on a packaging program, what should the marketing goals be to achieve that objective? Next consider any challenges that may deter you from hitting these goals. This could be things like the economy, relocating the pharmacy, or technology. Finally determine your marketing budget for the year – what will you spend, less or more than in 2020? Where will you spend it? We always encourage our clients to try something new, break out of your comfort zone with the same stuff you have always done.
Using these ideas as your road map will help you plan for a successful 2021!