This article, written by Bruce Kneeland, was originally published in a Kneeland’s Notes email in 2019.
Most independent pharmacies retain the services of a lawyer and an accountant. The reason, legal and accounting functions are complicated and most pharmacists do not have the skills, nor the time, to perform these critical tasks.
With so many pharmacies adding new services such as point of care testing, medication synchronization, convenience packaging, etc., I’d argue the time has come for pharmacy owners to add a marketing professional to the list of needed experts.
The reason, most consumers do not understand the need for these new services. And, some of the ways I have seen independent pharmacy owners try to promote them is counterproductive. For example, I see web sites that say the pharmacy does compounding, MTM, or drug nutrient depletion. How is a consumer supposed to know what those words or acronyms mean, never mind wanting them bad enough to pay for them?
As a pharmacy owner or manager, you are faced with two marketing problems:
- You need to carefully determine what new services you can profitably provide
- You need to find cost-effective ways to build demand for these new services.
Wholesalers, buying groups, technology providers have been urging you to make changes to your practice for years. Phrases like, “practice at the top of your licenses,” are commonly repeated. That is good advice but it overlooks this fact;
Most pharmacists do not know how, nor do they want to become sales people.
One solution would be for your pharmacy to hire a marketing “guru”, or retain a pharmacy marketing firm.
Yes, it costs money to do “marketing”. Money that is hard to come by with reduced reimbursement, claw backs and egregious audit practices. But, the solution to most of these third-party problems is adding these new services to your practice. If done properly you can find ways to make these changes, and see them to start paying for themselves, in just a few months.
Just in case something here rings true to you and you think you may want to interview a pharmacy marketing agency or two, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the CEO of either of two companies I have great confidence in.
Here’s wishing you well as you work to profitably serve the people in your community.
I’d love to hear from you – Complaints, kudos’, comments; or to be put in touch with a marketing services company please contact me: BFKneeland@gmail.com.