Getting the message

The delivery of high quality, low cost healthcare is increasingly becoming the responsibility of the pharmacist. This week, Sasa Jankovic asks: how do you make your business stand out from the crowd?

You’ve got good-looking premises, comfortable consultation rooms and friendly and knowledgeable staff delivering an extensive range of services and healthcare support – but does your local community know the full extent of what you do?

There’s no point being stocked up, trained up and polished up if you are not promoting the products and services you offer to your target market. Yes, we are talking about the ‘m’ word – marketing. But what exactly does that mean?

In short, it’s about making your pharmacy visible to both patients and other service providers in order to position your pharmacy as a first port of call for the health needs of your community. But marketing your pharmacy in the 21st century is more complex than simply sending out flyers for BOGOF offers.

Mark Burdon, pharmacist at Burdon Pharmacy Group in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and PSNC regional representative for Cumbria and the North East, says: “A typical pharmacy has a mix of 85-95 per cent NHS business, with relatively few pharmacies now relying on retail sales, so although many pharmacies will be familiar with marketing product, as pharmacy’s focus is now services, we need to promote our service offering.”

So how do you go about this? According to Mandeep Mudhar, Numark’s director of marketing, you’re probably doing it already, without even realising: “Every time you mention your business, you are involved in marketing yourselves to your local community, [and] local marketing can come in many different guises from effective window displays/service panels to door-to-door leaflet drops; local newspaper advertisements to local radio interviews.

“They don’t have to be costly to be effective, but they do need to be regular. One advert does not make an advertising campaign and is likely to be wasted money so have a strategy before you part with money.”

Join us tomorrow as we take a closer look at how you can best meet patients’ needs.