Pharmacy Marketing – Hire Within or Work With Agency?

Marketing Agency or Not?
December 12, 2021

As a marketing solution, you might think that our bias would lead us to recommend a Pharmacy marketing agency.

Now that might be the right option for your Pharmacy, it most definitely is not for all. Instead of a one-size-fits-all answer, I will guide you through the questions I would ask myself if I owned a Pharmacy and was looking for marketing assistance.

Not All Marketing Agencies Are Equal

All Pharmacies are not equal. All restaurants are not equal. All movies are not equal.

While this should be common sense, it is worth reminding.

You need to understand their business, what the pros and cons of working with a Pharmacy marketing agency is, and how to hold them accountable (if you decide to work with them).

Here are a few quick lessons.

1. Cheap and best do not go together.

This should be obvious, but many times Pharmacies choose the cheapest option (i.e. $300/month) and expect profound results.

Simply ask yourself this:

If you could help a Pharmacy make an extra $10,000/month, would you only charge $300 for that service?

Cheap services like this won’t break your back, but they won’t help you either. Do not mistake activity for productivity.

2. Measure and compare.

Before you start working with an agency (or hire an employee for marketing), you must know where you are now.

How many new patients per month are you averaging? Are you growing already? What is your monthly growth rate?

You can not properly analyze any decision if you do not have data to compare it to.

Don’t let your marketing agency (or new hire) lull you to sleep with "industry averages" and made-up metrics that they use to sound good – because they will do that.

Give any decision a few months to let plans be implemented, but within 3-6 months you should see a quantifiable difference if the marketing is working.

3. Know what is being allocated to advertising.

Often times when I speak to Pharmacy Owners, they assume that most of what they pay an agency is going towards targeted ads.

Surprise, it is not.

If you are paying a marketing agency $1000/month, chances are at least $750 of that is going towards their service.

And that might be ok. They could be driving results that do not need advertising.

That said, ask. Be crystal clear about expectations, reporting, communication, etc.

4. Spending more is not the solution.

If your new hire or marketing agency is not able to produce results with a few thousand dollars in advertising budget, the solution is not to give them more to spend.

An effective marketer will take any budget and get results. They will analyze the best use of that capital and put it to work where they believe will produce the best ROI.

Think of it like a child at a state or local fair.

If the child is give $20 but knows they can go back to their parents for more, that $20 will be spent in minutes. Conversely, if a child knows this is the only $20 they get for the day, they will be much more selective and patient.


Getting Results? Now what?

If your marketing is working, lean into it.

Remember: Absolute Returns > Relative Returns

If spending $500 in advertising is producing $2500 in additional profit, do not settle. You have found a machine where you are putting $1 in and getting $5 back.

Instead of being content with the added $2000, see what happens when you increase your advertising to $1000.

Even if your $1000 now only produces $4000 in profit, which is a lower ROI than before (4:1 vs 5:1), you are making more money.

Your absolute return ($3000) is greater even though your relative return went down.

Continue to scale while you have found something that is working. Opportunities in marketing do not stick around forever. Eventually, what works gets copied and innovation is needed again.

Not getting results?
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