Q&A with Chuck Wilson: Health Mart previews Local Marketing Support program and new store look at McKesson ideaShare

Drug Store News talked with Chuck Wilson, vice president of Health Mart pharmacy operations, about its new Local Marketing Program designed to help Health Mart members attract new patients and drive revenue.

DSN: One of the highlights of the Health Mart Annual Meeting is the new Local Marketing Support program. Can you tell us more about that?

Chuck Wilson: We are very excited to preview the Local Marketing Support program this week at McKesson ideaShare. The new program was designed with the input of our Health Mart members who asked us to help them market their stores more aggressively on a local level. The Local Marketing Support program puts marketing funds and new tools directly in members’ hands and makes it easier for them to grow their business by attracting new patients and driving new revenue.

The program delivers a wide variety of fresh, new, consumer-tested marketing tools and resources to help Health Mart pharmacists and pharmacy owners market more effectively with less effort. There is no fee to enroll in the Local Marketing Support program, and members can order individual marketing tools, pre-packaged campaigns or subscription programs.

DSN: How can Health Mart members take advantage of the Local Marketing Support program?

Wilson: Accessible via McKesson Connect, our online ordering portal, the centerpiece of the program is the new Marketing Hub. The Marketing Hub features a comprehensive catalog of customizable marketing tools and promotions, including new consumer-tested campaigns, social media content, email marketing and in-store promotional materials, as well as the traditional newspaper, radio and TV ad production and placement. Support from local marketing coordinators is available to help Health Mart members utilize Marketing Hub resources efficiently and support the execution of their campaigns, as well as offer ‘do it for me’ capabilities like community outreach, PR and ad production and placement. Matching funds also are available as a reward for Health Mart stores that have embraced the Health Mart brand, and the funds can now be used for any tactic or campaign ordered on the Marketing Hub. They are applied in real time when you place an order on the Marketing Hub, so using matching funds is easier than ever.

DSN: You seem to be emphasizing digital marketing, why is that important to Health Mart members?

Wilson: In today’s world, digital marketing is becoming an essential part of any marketing plan. More and more, consumers want the convenience of computers, smartphones and tablets for accessing information, entertainment and friends. Recognizing this fundamental shift, many local businesses, including many pharmacies — chain and independent — are adopting digital marketing to remain relevant to their prospects and customers.

Health Mart pharmacists have always been known for their personal relationships with their customers, so digital media is a natural extension. More than reaching consumers at a fraction of the cost of other media, Facebook, Twitter, email and mobile marketing can help them interact with consumers in ways traditional media simply can’t match. Digital media invites consumers to respond, helping boost customer loyalty and spark electronic ‘word of mouth,’ when friends tell friends about the personalized service they receive at their local Health Mart.

We also have invested heavily in digital marketing tools with the re-launch of HealthMart.com and Your Pharmacy Online. Now, our members have access to powerful and cost-effective online tools that offer a professional and contemporary online presence.

DSN: Pharmacists are already extremely busy; how can they add marketing to their to-do list?

Wilson: We know that Health Mart pharmacists and owners have strong relationships with their communities. We also know that many don’t have the time, energy, resources or experience to effectively communicate their unique strengths and services to the community and compete with other pharmacies.

Building on the tremendous feedback we received from members as we conducted extensive research for the Health Mart 2.0 project, the Local Marketing Program is designed specifically to make marketing easier. The Marketing Hub gives members the ability to choose their own tools and tactics or select comprehensive pre-packaged campaigns that focus on clinical issues and services they offer, such as flu shots and synchronized refills. No matter what the members’ goals are, the Marketing Hub is their source solution for tools, information resources, education and centralized marketing management — all designed to help “Promote YOUR Health Mart YOUR Way.”

DSN: How does the Local Marketing Support program support Health Mart’s national identity?

Wilson: First and foremost, the Local Marketing Support program is designed to help Health Marts compete locally and position themselves as a healthcare destination. This new, more flexible program offers marketing funds and new tools that make it easier for Health Mart pharmacies to grow their businesses. Ultimately, more successful members create a better, stronger Health Mart franchise that can deliver measurable clinical performance at more than 3,100 pharmacies nationwide. This strongly demonstrates to payers, patients and other healthcare providers that Health Mart is a destination for personalized, quality care.

DSN: Health Mart recently updated the store design. Can you tell us more about that?

Wilson: Health Mart has been operating under the same store design since it was re-launched back in 2005. There have been a lot of changes within retail pharmacy since then, not only on the consumer/customer side and the demands that they have within the retail setting, but also within the delivery of healthcare. Most noticeably, we wanted to put the No. 1 asset within an independent pharmacy — which is the pharmacist — front and center. So, we positioned our pharmacy at the front door to provide easier access to the pharmacist as well as a private counseling space directly adjacent to the pharmacy for one-on-one meetings or adherence counseling. The design is flexible because we want to make it easy for our pharmacy customers to implement the new store design and fit into their store’s unique footprint. We’ve updated all of the décor elements to make them more contemporary, but also in a way that is functional and will help Health Mart customer’s more easily navigate their store.

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