In the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, Iowa famer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) hears a mysterious voice telling him that “if you build it, he will come.” Inspired by the message, Ray builds a baseball field in his cornfield and the ghosts of past players appear and play. In addition to the baseball great, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ray is also visited by his departed father. He did build it. And they did come.

If only it were that simple.

For decades, the healthcare industry invested little, if any, in marketing to acquire patients. There was minimal competition and margins were healthy. Up through the 1970’s, most communities had a limited number of independent pharmacies and very few chains. For well-managed pharmacies, word of mouth provided all the awareness that was required to maintain a robust business. As you know, that has changed dramatically. Success today is more than just building an independent pharmacy and providing great service. Now there is little reason to believe that people will come to your pharmacy just because you open your doors. Increasing competition and declining reimbursements have required harder work, longer hours, innovative programs and the need to promote to acquire new prescriptions. As Dawn Butterfield of West Cocoa Pharmacy says in an article in America’s Pharmacist’s February magazine, , “It all takes work…. It’s not like you wave a magic wand and it all happens.”

I am so excited by the innovative programs I see happening in Independents across the country. The enhanced clinical services many of you provide allows you to differentiate and move into new markets. As I have said before, you are looking for Blue Ocean opportunities so that you don’t have to compete head on with spiraling pricing and people with more marketing dollars than you have. However, you still need to market your innovative offerings even if you have less competition.

Over the next year, I will be sharing a comprehensive series of excerpts from chapters of a soon to be published book that Wayne Glowac, CMO of Pharm Fresh and I have written. The purpose of this book is to help you market your pharmacy and generate the revenue that you deserve. Each month, we will cover a topic related to marketing your pharmacy and then, as an added benefit, we will provide you with access to free worksheets and specific examples which will guide you through a best-practice method to help you succeed.

Our industry is no longer a field of dreams. Success requires innovation and investment. From our experience, pharmacies who carefully invest in marketing are more successful at getting and keeping patients. Successful stores have a plan, a budget and a way to implement the plan. Our mission is to help you with this so that we can help successful pharmacies become more successful sooner.