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The "How" and "Why" of Pharmacy ROI

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

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Return on investment (ROI) is one of the most elusive things to track as it relates to marketing. It is almost impossible to know exactly how many people saw your TV ad, drove by your billboard, heard your radio spot, or read your letter. Luckily, there are some simple ways to help you track, if not a true ROI, at least a trend as it relates to your marketing endeavors.

True ROI is measured by taking your total gains minus the total costs divided by your total cost and then multiplied by 100. The tricky part for marketing, is knowing exactly what the gains were. A new patient may come into the pharmacy and say they just heard about you from around town when in reality; they may have seen your billboard, heard your radio spot, saw your TV ad, read your letter, and talked with a friend or family member – so how do you know which was the spark that triggered the action?

How to track ROI

There are numerous ways for pharmacy owners to track ROI as it relates to their marketing tactics and messages. It is crucial to ensure all your marketing has a call to action (CTA) which directs people to do something (call the pharmacy, go to the website, follow on social media, etc.). Find a way to track your ROI based on the marketing CTA.

  1. PMS reports. Based on your marketing messaging, fully utilize the reports offered by your PMS system. Everything from new patient counts, to transfers in, overall script counts, patient demographics to specific prescription sales can all point to a ROI for your marketing efforts.

  2. Sales reports. If your messaging is focused on front-end sales, then looking at your overall sales from the months prior to marketing compared to those during and after will give you a good snapshot of how successful your campaigns were.

  3. Coupons returned. Utilizing coupons is a great way to track ROI for a variety of marketing avenues. By including them in various mediums (print ads, bagstuffers, email blasts, doorknockers) you can track where people are coming from, and which marketing avenue yielded the best results.

  4. Engagement grown. This is in reference to primarily social media. Utilizing their available reports, you can monitor engagement over time during a marketing campaign. Look at your total number of followers, post interactions (likes/shares/retweets), as well as the overall reach of your posts.

  5. Website traffic. Using Google Analytics or another third-party platform is a great way to monitor traffic over time. You can easily see which months traffic to your site was increased, and you can also see where the traffic is coming from. For tips on improving your website’s ranking before engaging in marketing check out our blog on steps to boost your online ranking.

  6. Calls. While tracking the number of calls your pharmacy receives might not be the best metric to track ROI, tracking the topic of conversation had on those calls is. Keep a tracking sheet by the phone and have your team mark down what they spoke with patients about as a way to track effectiveness of your marketing campaign call to action.

Why track ROI

Now let’s focus on the why. Why should you track your marketing ROI, especially when it can be so difficult. Below we break down the biggest reasons to track your ROI.

  1. Find out what works. Without tracking your ROI it becomes virtually impossible to determine what marketing campaigns and/or tactics are successful. Was the Facebook ad or the geofencing ad more successful? What about the billboard compared to the direct mail campaign? Tracking the success of tactics as well as the overall campaign will give you the best course of action to moving your marketing forward.

  2. Determine new patient costs. By calculating your ROI for your marketing campaigns, you can determine the overall cost of gaining new patients or gaining sales on products. By doing so, you can set budgets for future campaigns, and determine whether the budget is worth the gain.

  3. Money management and planning. When planning, it is always prudent to look behind. What campaigns have you run that were the most successful? How much did you spend on those campaigns? Which tactics of the campaign yielded the best results? It is easier to develop a plan if you know what worked and what you spent on previous campaigns. Knowing what works also means you can either revise or disband any strategies that aren’t performing.

One last takeaway for your consideration is to always keep an eye on the bigger picture. A pharmacy that we work with spent a couple of months doing a big push on their medication packaging program. They sent out mailers, posted to social media, sent out email blasts, and encouraged their team to talk with patients taking multiple meds who weren’t on the packaging. At the end of their campaign, they only had an increase in 30 patients on their medication packaging. Taking a deeper look, the realized that a significant number of patients had either passed away or switched pharmacies – skewing their numbers to seem lower than what they were.

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