Updated on 24/01/2023
Marketing for Pharmacies
Pharmacies have always been a point of reference for the territories in which they are located. They are crucial garrisons for the health of citizens but also places where the more “human” and personal side of the pharmaceutical supply chain comes to life.
In the current emergency triggered by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the network of pharmacies has been put to the test. The support and proximity to customers have proven even more delicate and decisive. The attention to hygiene and safety devices, on-site, has multiplied.
But that’s not all. Many pharmacies have been able to concretely experience how fundamental digitalization is for their business, not only in terms of necessity but also in terms of opportunities to be seized.
Warning: This is not about replacing the physical side (which remains primary, for this industry) with the virtual side. It’s about learning to put the two dimensions side by side. Integrate them, enabling one to reinforce the other. Today, we have all of the tools to do this. What is really needed, however, is a change in mentality on the part of managers and collaborators. From this change of mindset the future of the industry will be born (and is already being born).
Drugstore marketing: 6 techniques for pharmacies
In the remainder of this post, we want to take an in-depth look at this very future, focusing on the best drugstore marketing techniques. We’ve chosen to group them into the 6 points that seem most important to us.
Before you read on, we would suggest that you keep two keywords in mind: Multichannel and personalization. We believe that these are the pillars, the fixed points around which the future of drugstore marketing will revolve.
1. The physical space is the starting point
Today, across all industries, there is a great deal of focus on the “Customer Experience” and the “Customer Journey.” They are critical in the digital world.
But don’t make the mistake of neglecting the “physical” customer experience in the pharmacy. This experience can only start with the spaces themselves, which must combine functional and aesthetic requirements. All of this exists within a framework of regulations that must always be kept in mind…even more so in these times.
2. B2E first!
If spaces are important, the people who work in them are even more so. This should never be forgotten. Employees and collaborators are the first and most precious resource for any company; and pharmacies are certainly no exception, especially given the sensitivity of their role.
Linked to all of this is B2E (Business to Employee). This is a strategic approach that focuses attention on employees rather than consumers (which B2C or “Business to Consumer” deals with) or other businesses (as in the case of B2B, “Business to Business”).
The goal of B2E is to attain corporate retention. But that’s not all. Above all, it’s about improving staff engagement, transforming employees into the first “witnesses” of the quality and mission of their pharmacy.
This process begins with the crucial recruiting and on-boarding phases and continues over time. Again, the watchword here is multi-channel. Employee engagement and retention is achieved with traditional tools, but also with digital ones. Think team-building strategies, training courses, the importance of flexible working hours, the possibility of bonuses and special offers or benefits of various kinds.
A primary role is played by the dynamics of internal communication, a side that – today more than ever – also has to do with digital.
3. From the obligations of digital document management to data-driven opportunities
Drugstore marketing today also starts with the new methods of dematerialized document archiving. But what are the advantages of this new approach?
Savings in terms of costs, time, and space. Simplicity and speed in research and – above all – in sharing. Drastic reduction of error margins and risks of tampering or loss. Increased security and a decided increase in transparency. These last two factors are decisive when people’s health is at stake. But there are more than just advantages. Innovators in the pharmaceutical sector know that all this can be turned into multiple opportunities.
It’s all thanks to something very simple: data.
With digital, in fact, documents of all kinds become a valuable mine of precise information about your customers, patients, employees, and suppliers. This data must be collected in a secure manner. They must be analyzed and interpreted in a way that is functional for your business.
This is necessary in order to put in place data-driven processes, tailored to the individual, which are the real marketing boost for pharmacies in the time of Digital Transformation.
Of course, the starting point for all this is the construction of a specific software platform, tailored to each individual pharmacy (or a network of pharmacies), based on its characteristics, its mode of operation, and its requirements.
In order to realize an architecture of this kind, it is important to hire specialized companies, such as Doxee. We are talking, for example, about Doxee paperless experience solutions, aimed at digitizing all Customer Communication Management procedures.
4. Taking care of every single patient even in the digital world
As we have seen above, at the origin of digitization in the pharmaceutical sector there is an enormous availability of data, starting with document storage. But that’s not all.
Today, with the right tools, it’s easy to understand how the tastes and preferences of the population are changing, both in general and by tightening the focus on specific territories (thanks to geolocalized data collection). This is what is possible with the analysis of so-called Big Data.
It is almost superfluous to emphasize that, for pharmacies, it is not so much the absolute “quantity” of data that makes the difference, as the “quality” of the latter, their ability to provide a detailed and in-depth picture of the target of interest (which, as we have already pointed out, is often very “local”).
In concrete terms: What do the people who make up your target audience (actual and potential) buy, in what quantity and how often? What do they search for online? What preferences do they express on social networks (and we’ll come back to this in the next point)? How do they use mobile apps? What are the emerging trends?
The ultimate goal? To learn how to use digital tools to do something that pharmacies have always done: To get to know individuals and, consequently, take care of each one in a different way.
This is what is meant by “personalization.” It’s one of the oldest secrets of the success of any type of business, which today also applies with the tools made available by digital transformation. Cutting-edge companies like Doxee do just that, thanks to solutions designed specifically for different types of business.
5. Social networks are valuable allies if exploited in the right way
Let’s start with some data:
- More than 40% of people are influenced by social networks in their health-related choices (source: Mediabistro).
- People between the ages of 18 and 24 tend to discuss health and wellness topics on social networks twice as often as those in the 45-54 age range (source: Mediabistro).
- Also: 90% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 say they trust medical information shared on social networks (source: Search Engine Watch).
These are very significant statistics that, above all, say a lot about the habits and behavior of those who will be the customers of the future. As you know, to win the challenges of the future you have to learn to understand it before the competition does.
That’s why, also for pharmacies, the time has come to learn how to manage social networks, with the right tone of voice, combining simplicity, closeness, but also authority. It’s an important marketing channel, but it can also be an excellent Customer Care tool, if well managed.
A suggestion? Consider implementing videos in your drugstore marketing campaigns! Without a doubt, it is the most powerful and effective media!
6. Building a good website, investing in Local SEO
Having a website is fundamental for types of business that, until recently, did not need them. This is also true for pharmacies.
Be careful, though: Don’t just create a showcase site. Try to build an eCommerce section (within the limits of regulations); but also consider the possibility of online booking (which has become decisive during the pandemic).
In addition, never forget to optimize your site for mobile. Today, the largest amount of traffic comes from mobile.
Another key thing: Put efficient analytics and data interpretation systems on track.
Finally, it’s important to invest in SEO for your drugstore marketing efforts! SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” which is the set of strategies and practices to optimize a website’s ranking in organic search engine results. The more effectively it is managed, the more likely it is that a user, after a Google search, will end up on your site.
As far as marketing for pharmacies is concerned, it’s specifically about investing in what’s known as “Local SEO,” which focuses on specific, narrow geographic areas, and is known to be very effective.
The bottom line is this: There is no pharmacy marketing without effective integration between physical and digital touchpoints. It’s a real revolution. But it hasn’t changed the end goal, which is to put the health of every single patient at the center of the business, and to manage it continuously.