As our wise and fearless leader Nicolle McClure says, “Marketing is like exercising. You can do it once, and you may feel pretty good about it – or you may feel terrible – but either way, you probably won’t get the results you want. If you want to make an impact, marketing is something you must actively work on, every day. You also need to mix up what exercises (marketing) you do, to achieve optimal overall health (success).”
Let’s break down what marketing does for your pharmacy on a fundamental level. At its core, marketing is about getting a person to do a thing. The key aspects that you need to find out are who the people you are targeting, what do you want them to do, and how do you get them to do it. In pharmacy, finding what people you want to target is oftentimes the easiest piece of the puzzle. Are you looking to increase patients over a certain age or those taking a certain kind of medication or over-the-counter supplement? Defining your target audience is the first step to developing a marketing plan.
Next let’s focus on what you want them to do. Filling prescriptions is oftentimes a pharmacy’s goal, but you could also be looking to increase patients utilizing a certain pharmacy service or purchase a particular front-end product. Even something as simple as following your pharmacy on social media is an action that we try to get people to take.
The final, and arguable the most difficult part of the marketing process, is how do we get our target audience to perform our desired action. What avenues do we need to utilize in order to reach our target audience? What messaging will be most effective to get them to act? This is where the consistent and various exercising comes in to play. Businesses all need to try a mix of avenues and messages to find that which works best for achieving their desired marketing goals.
Now let’s look at the second half of the equation – investing. Investing simply means inputting money to try and achieve profit. However, what you are investing in can generate different results. Looking at different types of financial investments, you can take the riskier option for the potential to achieve a higher reward, or you can take the safer option, which may yield less stellar results but comes with less risk. Additionally, you can put in money with the goal of making more money, but you can also put in money and end up achieving a goal you didn’t realize was possible.
Investing with marketing works the same way. If you choose to invest your marketing dollars into social media, for example, you can gain awareness and engagement within your community as well as drive traffic to your website. Should you decide to invest your marketing dollars into traditional marketing, you take a greater risk at potentially hitting an unresponsive target audience, however that audience will be significantly bigger than other avenues so you may end up hitting more of your desired market than anticipated. Take that money and put it into email campaigns to your current patient database and you will likely grow the pharmacy services and/or front-end products you want to push. Looking to increase patient retention and loyalty? Take your marketing dollars and invest in a customer appreciation event and loyalty program.
There are numerous marketing avenues you can pursue to achieve your pharmacy’s marketing goals. Some are riskier to invest in and some will end up getting you nowhere. Just like our exercise metaphor at the start, if your goal is to increase your core strength, but you choose to only exercise your legs, you won’t achieve your desired outcome. If you spend all your marketing money on exercise equipment, but then never use it – you will also come away disappointed. All businesses need to make a significant, and conscious effort to invest in marketing. Determine who it is you want to target, and what you want them to do, then talk with a marketing expert to determine the best way to achieve your goals. Sometimes all we need to succeed is the right coach. Want the perfect physique – hire a physical trainer. Want to expand your financial portfolio – higher an investor. Want to grow your pharmacy – hire a marketer. Can you do it on your own? Absolutely, but it usually goes faster, easier, and requires less from you to have an expert manage it for you.
Lastly, your budget doesn’t have to be big to make an impact. Here is a link to a blog we wrote on 25 pharmacy marketing ideas for under $100. If even determining a budget is what’s holding you back, we’ve got you covered there as well. Check out this blog on making, and sticking to, your marketing budget. Every pharmacy, big or small, single location or multi-store, retail or compounding or combination – needs to take a step back and consider how they can best invest their marketing dollars to support their pharmacy’s overall marketing goals.
Our mission at GRX Marketing is to be a trusted resource for independent pharmacies. We have spent over a decade working exclusively in the independent pharmacy industry, helping our clients grow and achieve their marketing goals. For questions, or to schedule a free marketing consultation for your pharmacy, fill out our contact form, or give us a call at 515-280-2914.