5 reasons to advertise

pharmacist placing outdoor sign

Maximize your advertising ROI 

In brief:

  • Advertising serves multiple purposes. Understanding each allows you to better allocate your marketing budget.
  • Advertise to add new customers, keep those you already have, and convince them all to visit your store more frequently and buy more during each trip.

Advertising is a cost of doing business, but when you consider the specific purposes for advertising you can allocate your advertising budget more effectively to produce a better return on your investment. 

Take a closer look at these five reasons to advertise:

  1. To stop losing customers. Big retail chain pharmacies “are talking to your people every day and telling them that it doesn’t make sense to be buying from you; that customers can save money by coming to them,” Bruce Kneeland, a pharmacy marketing consultant, said during a presentation at McKesson’s 2017 ideaShare conference. How are you reinforcing patients’ decision to shop at your store?

    Just as in a marriage you need to show your spouse love, in business you need to show appreciation for your current customers. You can offer loyalty rewards, invite customers to exclusive events, and call or send a card on their birthday.

    Use your marketing to remind them why they are smart to do business with you. One study found that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by up to 95%.1

  2. To convince current customers to buy more. One additional item in each shopper’s basket will make a huge difference to your bottom line.

    Use end-cap displays, point-of-purchase signs and product recommendations to boost sales. Train your staff to use their calls to patients for their med sync appointments each month to ask whether the person needs anything else, such as nutritional supplements, test strips or a flu shot when they arrive to pick up their medication.

    Also, orchestrate campaigns. For example, offer a discount on CoQ10 the same month that your pharmacist is talking with patients on statins. These patients may benefit from taking the supplement.

  3. To bring current customers in more often. Give customers a reason to visit your pharmacy even when they don’t have a prescription to fill. Offer products in your front end they can’t find anywhere else in town, such as local honey, specialty breastfeeding supplies or unique lotions, and host special events such as health fairs, training for a 5K run or diabetes education.

  4. To increase word-of-mouth advertising. Referrals can be one of the most powerful tools you have. Consider offering customers a simple card they can use to refer friends to your store — and receive a discount on a future purchase themselves. One pharmacy owner offers a $20 discount to customers who refer new customers. When you understand the lifetime value of a customer, you will know how much of a discount you can offer for a referral.

  5. To bring in new customers. The cost of acquiring a new customer is estimated to be 5 to 7 times the cost of retaining an existing customer. Once you add a customer, however, you can increase that person’s value through the other methods noted above.2 Advertising ideas to bring in new customers include:

    • Consider buying a larger ad in your community’s guide for newcomers
    • Improve the sign out front to attract more attention from people driving by
    • Boost your referral program

(See “Marketing Your Pharmacy to Younger Generations,” “Is Your Pharmacy Investing Enough in Marketing to Attract New Customers?” and “4 Demographic Trends Affecting Pharmacy.”)

Take a strategic approach to marketing and advertising to ensure you are reaching both new and existing customers to maximize their value.

For more ideas, see “9 Ways to Help Increase Front-End Sales.”



1 “E-Loyalty: Your Secret Weapon on the Web,” Frederick F. Reichheld and Phil Schefter, Harvard Business Review, July-August 2000. LINK
2 “Retail Customer Acquisition vs. Retention: A Zero-Sum Game?” Adam Blair, May 30, 2017. LINK