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Target marketing and your pharmacy, Part 1

business strategy

Most of us manage our lives by setting goals, sometimes on a long-term basis, other times on a short-term basis. Often people define these targets by simply making mental notes; others use written or journalized reminders.

Managing a business is very similar.

A target could perhaps be a finite number where achieving success does not necessarily mean 100% of the number has to be reached. Giving the business a reasonable target usually results in some degree of over-achievement from a result that would have been made without a previously defined goal.

Rather than a specific numerical result, the target could be a quality to which any successful business may aspire, such as great customer service or better convenience.

Target management can benefit the business in many areas, for example marketing, sales, employee turnover or expense control. The key is, the result or the result of the change must be measurable, such as improved average sales or increased prescription counts.

Too often, small business owners approach their operations with no real plan in mind, flying by the seat of their pants. A better route is for the capable owner/manager to decide which key qualities of the operation he or she would like to improve, and target how to go about them to measure the result.

Know your market

To show how effective and detailed a target plan might be, let’s look at convenience.

Before investing their hard-earned savings or capital from other sources such as banks or family, the entrepreneur must study the local market to understand

demographic trends, vehicular and walk-in traffic patterns, proximity and quality of competitors, availability of potential employees, population growth trends, new or changing development and economic indicators in the local area.

How frequently do we see a new business, such as a pizza shop, open in an area where multiple other businesses already exist? Perhaps a new development such as a hospital or large housing development is opening nearby that will create a substantial improvement in the potential customer base for a new pharmacy. Is a major employer coming to or leaving town, an event that will significantly affect the chances for success? Is the percentage of retirees and seniors in the area changing? How convenient is a location to each of the potential groups of new customers?

Even the addition of a stoplight or turn lanes to an existing thoroughfare can change the ease of access to your location.

Once in operation, the prudent manager/owner should thoroughly analyze his current and potential customer base to see how he can tweak the business to take advantage of key groups by target marketing via adjustments in store design, merchandise mix, hours of operation, programs created to attract specific demographic groups such as seniors, young families with children, medical clinic patients and students from nearby high schools, community colleges and universities.

Seniors and retirees as a percentage of your daily business can vary greatly depending on the location, downtown, suburbs or rural. To target this group, you must have sufficient parking near the store entrance, both regular and handicapped. One of this writer’s most common complaints after opening in a new, larger location was the insufficient number and less than ideal location of the handicapped parking spots. Does the store either have a carryout service or allow the use of shopping carts for seniors making large purchases? Everything that makes shopping more convenient will increase the size of seniors’ dollar purchases and the number of visits to your business.


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