Archive for April, 2010

How would an independent pharmacy have handled this?

April 30, 2010

I recently had an experience with a national retail pharmacy that got me wondering: would an independent pharmacy have handled my situation differently?

As a life-long, type one diabetic, I take an insulin shot every day, every time I eat. Without a shot, my body cannot function and it could prove fatal. I was going out of town the following week and noticed I was low on insulin. My insulin is not a stock item and usually takes a few days to fill because it has to be ordered from a wholesaler. I called the pharmacy’s IVR line on Wednesday and ordered a refill. I supplied a phone number in case of a problem and the IVR stated the prescription would be ready Friday.

When I went to pick it up Saturday, a pharmacy tech informed me that their distributor no longer carries the insulin and she could order it from another. I couldn’t help but wonder two things. First, why hasn’t this already happened? It doesn’t matter to me which distributor supplies medicine. My price is the same. And second, if there was a problem, why didn’t they call? They had my number. Regardless, I told the tech they could order it but I needed the insulin the next day.

At this, she said she couldn’t get the insulin until Monday because it’s not stocked and the wholesaler doesn’t deliver weekends. She offered to transfer my prescription to another pharmacy.  Frustrated, because I’d ordered the refill in plenty of time to avoid this scenario, what happened next made the whole event worse.

Rather than make an effort to correct a customer service lapse, I felt patronized and it really struck a nerve.

This scenario is what sets independent pharmacies apart from volume-driven big box retailers. I work with independent pharmacies that take the extra step and understand, no matter how many customers they have, each one is important.

We all are human. Things happen. But it’s the consideration and value placed on another human being that makes a difference. If you go to a big box pharmacy, look behind the counter. If you were in an independent pharmacy, the person standing behind that counter is probably the business owner. And I’ll bet you a thousand $4 prescriptions, he cares if you come back to his pharmacy.

An Absorbing Conversation about U by Kotex

April 22, 2010

Last week I wrote the following post and then promptly let it molder on my desktop:

Each year we have a million conversations here that start with, “Have you seen the <insert horrible/clever commercial for brand/product here>?” But one meeting I had with Tim, Jeff and Dean recently got off to a different start.

Me: “Hey, did any of you guys watch Glee last night? There was a spot….”

Tim and Jeff snicker. As I too-slowly realize I am likely the only Glee watcher in the room, Dean excitedly bellows, “that cool tampon commercial?!”

The commercial was for U by Kotex. Here’s another one. See what you think. I think they are right on time.

And there the poor post sat. Until the new Mediaweek came.

Barbara Lippert’s review of U by Kotex reminded me why this particular brand is going to resonate with young chicks and even old hens like me. Kotex has taken aim on the absurdity of previous tampon advertising and, refreshingly, included themselves as an offender, too.

JWT delivered a knockout campaign for U by Kotex that is even more honest and straightforward than the Dove Real Beauty efforts. Why? Because it talks about something that no one wants to talk or hear about much less see in action.

We can talk beauty products all day and no one starts getting squirmy or red in the face. The women’s sanitary category has been mired in a corner of 1971 wearing a crocheted poncho and reading a dog-eared copy of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.

JWT reached for higher ground with this one and delivered a more honest, new era of advertising. On behalf of all women, I say thanks to Kimberly-Clark, Kotex and the creative brains at JWT.

You broke the cycle.

Georgia’s on My Mind for Healthcare Marketing, Then I’m Going to Carolina…

April 20, 2010

Two excellent regional healthcare marketing events are on tap next week: the Georgia and Carolinas healthcare marketing society conferences.

Georgia’s annual meeting is held each year in Greensboro, Ga., on Lake Oconee at the Ritz Carlton.  This year’s GSHMPR sessions May 5-7 include:

  • Marketing to Men
  • Preparing your Website for Mobile Users
  • The Role of Social Media in Healthcare
  • Selling Social Media to Administration
  • A Case Study in Multi-Media Marketing
  • 2010 Target Awards

The Carolinas Healthcare Marketing & PR Society (CHPRMS) spring meeting is May 7 in Concord, N.C., at Great Wolf Lodge.  Topics for the day conference:

  • Building and Marketing a Better Brand for your Company and You
  • Thinking Outside the Den – Marketing to One Customer at a Time
  • Earning Customers’ Respect and Loyalty with Social Marketing
  • In-hospital Retail Marketing
  • Hands-on Healthcare Marketing in Haiti

Hope to see you there and share some great resources for hospital marketing, strategy and branding!  If you can’t make it, follow our live updates on Twitter (hashtags: #gshmpr and #chprms) and check our blog for daily recaps.

27 Things You Don’t Know About Karis Hallman.

April 16, 2010

Life's less like a box of chocolates and more like a bag of corndogs for Karis.

This month, Karis Hallman celebrates her 27th year at The Adams Group. In all those years of late-night press checks and pencil breaking estimating sessions, we’ve learned a lot about Karis. Like these 27 things you probably don’t know. Enjoy!

  1. She drives or rides in an antique car in the Calhoun Falls Christmas parade every year.
  2. She is the adoptive mom to many, very lucky four-legged children.
  3. She was a cheerleader at Eau Claire High School.
  4. Her favorite holiday is Halloween.
  5. She usually has a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter in her office.
  6. She’s been to Brussels, twice.
  7. She a rabid Gamecock fan and has a PhD in tailgating.
  8. She started at The Adams Group as a graphic designer.
  9. She has an accessory for every major holiday and most of them blink or make noise.
  10. She prefers the Pronto Pup and leaves the fair with an entire bagful of them every year.
  11. She enjoys Amy’s Pilates classes or pretends to, we’re not sure which.
  12. She once had horses that smiled a lot. We can’t tell you why.
  13. She used to drive a copper 280ZX.
  14. She’d rather be at the lake, at Murrell’s Inlet or at your house eating snacks.
  15. Whether it’s midnight or a major holiday, she can get a Heidelberg cranking.
  16. Her pimento cheese recipe rivals both Paula Deen’s and Augusta National’s.
  17. She is a Columbia College graduate.
  18. She enjoys long bike rides with her hubby, Jimmy.
  19. She wants both halves of the donut, but only takes one at a time.
  20. She has more fans than Nickelback.
  21. She is a patron saint of St. Patty’s in Five Points and Sherlock’s Pub.
  22. She is not color blind and appreciates Goldschläger as much as purple hooters.
  23. She can do a proper pushup given the right motivation.
  24. She’s a wonderful and giving caretaker for both her and Jimmy’s parents.
  25. In her world, drinking beer and an enjoyable day on the lake are one in the same.
  26. She’s the lone customer of the in-office M+M machine.
  27. We can’t imagine The Adams Group without her.

This post was greatly enhanced by the clever minds of Amy Carter, Paula Mallory, Debra Branson, Andrew Evans, Sue Watson and Jeff Davis.

A consistent brand message is more important than ever.

April 14, 2010

I read a New York Times article this morning about another way the Internet is changing advertising: by extending the life of traditional television campaigns.

It made me think.

With consumers having access to older commercials via YouTube and similar sites, it’s now more important than ever to maintain a consistent brand message – especially if you’re a mid-sized hospital that may only produce a handful of spots each year.

Since your spots can live on the Internet long after your broadcast schedule expires, they now have the opportunity to carry your messages to audiences well into the future. This can be an incredible asset, enabling you to show growth and development in directions defined by your brand  – but only if every  spot you produce is well grounded in those values.

So it’s time to make sure you know who you are. Are you the high-tech hospital? Are you the leader in personal service, attention and care? What are your core values?

It’s also time to take stock of your current, past and planned marketing initiatives to ensure that they truly reflect your brand. Any departures will be obvious both to you and your consumers.

When all of your creative expounds on your core brand, your commercials will continue to work for you long after they’ve left the local airwaves.

Point of purchase miscommunication.

April 5, 2010

Recently, my wife and I took our daughter to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) physicians group. After several instances of ear infections, we followed the advice of our family pediatrician to see a specialist about the possibility of tubes for my daughter’s ears. The physician group we were referred to has an excellent reputation and all of the physicians have very impressive credentials. Initially, we were pleased with the referral. And then we went for our first office visit.

The waiting area of the office was pretty much at capacity when we arrived. We found one of the few remaining chairs and settled in to be seen. One of the first things I noticed was an 8.5 X 11 piece of paper taped to the wall near the check in area. It sternly warned in bold letters ANYONE ARRIVING FOR AN APPOINTMENT 15 MINUTES AFTER THE SCHEDULED TIME WILL NEED TO RESCHEDULE. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it, as we were 15 minutes early and I appreciate people who try to keep things on track.

To keep a long story short, it was an hour and 15 minutes before we were called back to the physician’s office. At this point, I had to leave to return to work. It took an additional 30 minutes for the physician to come back and see my wife and daughter. The whole ordeal took over two hours. That’s a long time to keep anyone, much less a 9-month old content. And the whole time, all we could think about was the sternly worded sign at the front of the office. For all intensive purposes it now screamed at me OUR TIME IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOURS! Our pediatrician’s office also has a sign that’s posted at the front of the waiting area. It says: If You’ve Been Waiting for more than 20 minutes, please notify the receptionist.

I understand that fluctuating wait times are inevitable in healthcare. I also understand that how you communicate to a healthcare consumer in your office is crucial to the experience.

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