Marketing is paramount for success in the uptake of goods and services being offered. Marketing goes beyond merely advertising and is about providing information to potential customers to help them make informed decisions, in addition to pricing and positioning products and services so that they are accessible and understood by customers.
An integral component of marketing is identifying actual and potential needs. Marketers of soft drinks, for example, advise customers that they are not selling soda; rather, that they are selling quenched thirst. There are a tremendous number of health needs by patients, including medication-related needs, that are simply being unmet by any profession. Pharmacists are in an excellent position to meet those needs.
Salgueiro et al undertook a study of the public’s understanding of drug information and safety.1 They found that many patients have never read a patient information leaflet accompanying their prescription and were largely unaware of their ability to formally report adverse drug reactions. The same study, though, found that these same patients have a great interest in useful information about all aspects of their medicines. The study, therefore, identified a market niche for pharmacists; specifically, to market to patients information services related to all aspects of medications. At the same time, there are lessons to be learned here for pharmacists regarding any number of actual and potential services. Pharmacists can informally or more formally engage patients to ask about their needs, identify target markets for new services, and inquire about the quality of existing ones. These processes can range from simple inquiries, to questionnaires stuffed inside prescription medication bags, to focus groups. The information gathered could go a long way in achieving success.
Additional information about Marketing Applications can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1Salguero E, Gurruchaga C, Jimeno FJ, et al. What can we learn from the public’s understanding of drug information and safety? A population survey. Intl J Pharm Pract. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ijpp.12458.