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Social media for drug store brands and retailers

BY Bonnie Kintzer

Social media is an important component of ongoing brand marketing, as well as any advertising campaign for a drug store retailer or brand. Integrated communications have the most impact because earned, owned and paid media reinforce and amplify the message. All channels feed off each other; the more frequently a potential customer sees or hears about a brand or retailer, particularly in more than one context or venue, the more likely she is to remember and purchase.

In any campaign or communication, always start with the customer: Who is she, how does she buy, what media does she see, what channels does she shop all day long and what are her interests?

Once you know your customer, you can narrow your focus so your message can be heard. And in social media in particular, the key to being heard is to tweet and post about what is of interest to the customer, not the brand or the retailer.

So, for example, a skin care company can share interesting facts and news about beauty and skin care, in addition to talking about its own products and news.

On Facebook, for example, Rite Aid offers safety suggestions for July 4, tips for using sunscreen on summer vacations, and user-contributed photos of eye-popping nail art.

Look at what your competition is tweeting or posting about, and observe which posts garner the most comments.

A simple question on Rite Aid’s Facebook page, “Do you know what the body’s largest organ is?” received 523 comments. (Correct answer = skin.) Everyone likes to show what they know.

Contests and special events are great ways to build likes and followers without resorting to coupons and discounts. These can be national or store based or both. For example, a retailer can promote or sponsor a charity or community event, such as a marathon or fundraiser. Tying a special event to a specific store will help raise awareness and drive traffic to that location.

A European skincare and color brand launched a one-minute video contest on Facebook. The goal was to introduce and promote its international collection of beauty products in the U.S. The company also hoped to build engagement and create a stream of communication with current and prospective consumers.

The contest asked consumers to share “the essential ingredients of their lives.” Facebook banner ads drove traffic to the contest entry page.

In two weeks, the contest generated 3 million impressions, 1,800 clicks on the contest page, and an additional 3,000 likes.

Another drug store brand, hair care company Infusium, is sponsoring the U.S. synchronized swim team at the Olympics in London this summer. It ran a sweepstakes contest whose winner will attend the Olympics and serve as the honorary captain of the team.

Simultaneously, the company revamped its Facebook community with a new look, more frequent and conversational content, and less of a focus on coupons and discounts.

During the month of May, the company acquired 4,000 new likes. Engagement in the community increased, with 100 or more comments on posts, and more questions about where to find a product instead of coupons. Sharing of posts has also increased.

Knowing your customer and communicating in the right way will pay off with increased engagement and awareness of the retailer or brand.


 Bonnie Kintzer is CEO of Women’s Marketing Inc., the authority on how women consume media. Women’s Marketing Inc. services more than 300 clients in the beauty, fashion and health space by delivering the best integrated advertising solutions in digital, print and out-of-home. Kintzer has built a distinguished career in the media world with a strong focus on revenue creation and re-engineering. She can be reached at [email protected].

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D.FOOTE says:
Dec-22-2012 07:26 am

Social media plays a vital role in all kinds of business promotion. It's the most popular way nowadays.

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PriceGrabber notes shoppers’ BTS budgets, planned purchases

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES — Nearly two-thirds of consumers plan to spend up to $500 this back-to-school shopping season, PriceGrabber said Wednesday.

PriceGrabber released additional results from its back-to-school shopping study — which was released last month — noting that 63% of consumers surveyed (that plan to shop this back-to-school season) said they plan to spend up to $500 this back-to-school shopping season (compared to 48% in 2011), while 20% of respondents said plan to spend between $500 and $1,000, and 17% of shoppers said they don’t have a back-to-school shopping budget this year.

When asked what items they intend to buy this back-to-school season, respondents cited classic school supplies and back-to-school clothing 83% and 79%, respectively), as well as backpacks/tote bags (51%) and books (50%). Tech product purchases also are on the rise with 40% of shoppers planning to purchase a tech item this back-to-school season, such as a laptop, tablet, a smartphone or desktop computer.

When PriceGrabber survey respondents were asked to select the method in which they plan to purchase back-to-school items this year, 79% indicated they plan to shop online, compared with 69% in 2011.

"We suspect that given the large of amount of back-to-school shoppers who said they will shop online, many are planning to do so in order to comparison shop, set price alerts, find coupons, and take advantage of last-minute discounts, free shipping and price drops," PriceGrabber general manager Graham Jones said. "It seems that consumers are becoming more open to exploring creative options for saving money, so it’s no surprise to us that they are flocking to the Internet to utilize its ability to save shoppers time and money."

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Jean Coutu Group profits up nearly C$350 million on sale of Rite Aid shares

BY Alaric DeArment

LONGUEUIL, Quebec — Canadian retail pharmacy operator the Jean Coutu Group posted big increases in sales and profits that stemmed in large part from its sale earlier this year of much of its stake in U.S. retail pharmacy chain Rite Aid.

Jean Coutu Group reported first quarter 2013 sales of C$681.5 million, compared with C$660.6 million in first quarter 2012. The earnings boost included a C$348 million gain from its April 20 sale of 56 million shares of Rite Aid, including a C$82.8 million gain following the sale and an unrealized gain of C$265.2 million following a change in the company’s accounting method due to its loss of significant influence in the U.S. chain.

Other reasons for the boost in sales included overall market growth and an expansion of the PJC network of franchised stores. Profits for the quarter were C$397.4 million, compared with C$49.9 million in first quarter 2012, with the increase coming from the sale of the Rite Aid shares.

"We are very satisfied with the results of the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, which demonstrate the excellent performance of our operations," president and CEO Francois Coutu said. "Our network retail sales, and more importantly those of the pharmaceutical section, posted a significant increase despite the price reductions of generic drugs."

As of June 2, the company still owned 178.4 million shares of Rite Aid, equaling a 19.84% stake in the Camp Hill, Pa.-based chain with a value of C$226.2 million.

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