The past couple Tips of the Week have examined marketing concepts, and this week we stick with that theme once more, but with a twist—the inclusion of management and design science. Marketing itself must be managed. In fact, there’s an entire field called marketing management. A recent tip on managing a product (or service) lifecycle attested to that. The field of design science is related to implementation science and has considerable marketing management roots, as it seeks to produce more successful results when initiating a new business or service.
Lapao et al go into further detail of these concepts in their paper describing a new online pharmaceutical service.1 They first describe the confluence of technological advances along with other forces that drive the proliferation of eHealth strategies. Even so, uptake of those strategies is slowed to some extent by poor managerial and behavioral actions. Thus the authors undertook a design science approach to a new eHealth service. Design science stresses: (1) Identify the problem (market) and motivate customers/patients; (2) Define the objectives in a solution to address the problem/needs; (3) Design the service; (4) Demonstrate, or conduct a field study to test it; (5) Evaluate the service, in this case with the use of “task scenarios” and semi-structured interviews of participants/customers; and (6) Communicate to patients and practitioners, as well as conduct research, and disseminate the results. The authors then describe the service as being one in which the use of software allows an interactive platform between pharmacists and patients, who can ask questions, seek counseling or some other type of care. A time-and-motion analysis saw pharmacists highly engaged in OTC recommendations and a bit of time in conducting screenings. The patients in their pilot cohort saw significant decreases in blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Using marketing management and design science principles, the authors gathered considerable feedback and made modifications to the program for its unveiling to a wider swath of patients in hopes for long-term sustainability.
Although somewhat unique and also very specific in its procedures, the design science and marketing management mix undertakings here are not unlike business planning functions described in other Tips and in the text. Pharmacy managers can employ these approaches to continually tweak a service and its marketing messages to help ensure success.
Additional information about Marketing Foundations and Value-Added Services as a Component of Enhancing Pharmacists’ Roles in Public Health can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. 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, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1Lapao LV, da Silva MM, Gregorio J. Implementing an online pharmaceutical service using design science research. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2017;17:31.