Saturday, March 10, 2007

Real Estate, Advertising and Marketing

This week I got a call from a former advertiser who is know for his line of bs and dickering down prices and all that stuff that shows you he would make a good "classic" used car salesperson. Anyway, he wanted to know about pricing and what kind of "Cheap Deals" we had, so we met the next day.

I did my homework before our meeting, the most current research on his industry etc, and so when we met the first step was to get his heading bobbing up and down, (saying yes). I also prepared for him what I believed were some of his best options. He took it all in stride and mentioned to me that he was also getting info from other radio stations along with other media, and that we should talk again next week. No problem, right now he is shopping, I expect this from this particular person.

Then he also asked me about why we as a radio station do not advertise like our competitors do. He seemed to think that the media that promotes itself by advertising on other media is doing a better job for him. Hmmmm, there is some logic in there, but it is flawed. According to the latest research, my radio station already has over 28,000 weekly customers(listeners) of which 87% own a home. That's 24,000 home owners he could have as customers this year for his home improvement business. If he did business with 5% of them this season, no wait, he is not big enough to do 1200 jobs this year. See where this is all leading? I'll let you know what happens next week.

By the way, I don't have any cheap deals anymore, the pencil is not going to get any sharper.

What I started to write about with regards to real estate, was inspired by the latest from Harvey McKay. I have been pointing out to lots of people in town that Walgreens buildings are designed and placed at intersections as Marketing tools, not for convience. And it works. But for now, here's Harvey:

The counter that counts most

Charles Walgreen, founder of the drugstore chain, was an ambitious young pharmacist on the south side of Chicago in 1901. When a customer phoned in a prescription, Walgreen would take down the information and then continue his conversation with the caller. After a while, the customer would say, "Excuse me for a minute, there's someone at the door." Who would that someone be? A delivery boy with a package from Walgreen's. It was the caller's prescription. Walgreen wasn't satisfied with meeting expectations. His goal was to astonish, and he excelled at it.

Walgreen and his team had other innovative notions about doing business. A Walgreen's soda fountain manager is credited with having invented the malted milkshake. From a tiny base, Walgreen's has grown to where it now employs 179,000 people and generates over $47 billion in annual sales. Today, there are well over 5,000 stores!

In fact, a friend once joked to me that Walgreen's isn't as much in the pharmacy business as they are in real estate. They have more good locations than anyone.

Behind Walgreen's remarkable growth has been an insatiable appetite for staying ahead of change. "There are no fixed rules for business success," pharmacist founder Walgreen told Time Magazine nearly 70 years ago.

What Charles Walgreen believed about business and the drugstore industry is equally true of the pharmacy profession. There are 230,000 pharmacists in the United States. What do pharmacists share in common with other high-wire professionals like air traffic controllers? Neither can afford to get it wrong. The very lives of its customers are squarely in a pharmacist's hands.

The annual volume of outpatient prescriptions filled is enormous: about 2.8 billion. That's nearly 10 per each American. An increasing number of prescriptions may be handled in semi-automated ways through the mail. Flesh-and-blood pharmacists, however, remain an incredible resource to interpret a mind-boggling amount of information. And pharmacists are classic information workers who need to stay on top of change. There is, of course, an unending flow of new prescription drugs each year. Pharmacists also need to unravel the rapidly morphing world of over-the-counter drugs.

Pharmacists are on the front line in helping to prevent adverse drug reactions (ADRs). A U.S. government report says: "ADRs result in more than 770,000 injuries or deaths each year. ADRs are responsible for $136 billion in additional healthcare costs each year, more than the total costs for cardiovascular disease or diabetes."

At the end of 2006, the American Pharmacists Association noted that human events were underscoring the role "of pharmacists as both effective gatekeepers and competent clinical practitioners." For example, "Congress combated the meth epidemic by moving [certain] products behind pharmacy counters nationwide."

A two-year study at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington showed patients benefited when pharmacists monitored adherence to blood pressure prescriptions. In Asheville, N. C., pharmacists are deployed in diabetes monitoring and counseling.

Pharmacists are bright people and their roles will doubtless grow. And pharmacy has been a great career avenue for women. Four percent of pharmacists were women in 1950. Today 44 percent are and, last year, 65 percent of all pharmacy graduates were women.

What can the average person learn from a pharmacist?

  • Read precisely. Not only is the number of prescription drugs multiplying faster than bunny rabbits, the similarity of names—especially new drug names—has become a new health hazard. In the drug industry, the problem is dubbed the "look-alike, sound-alike" syndrome.
  • Don't be bashful ... Ask questions. It's estimated that thousands of people die each year because the prescription they ultimately take is not the one the doctor intended. There are many reasons, but most of them range from bad handwriting to bad listening somewhere in the chain from the physician's brain to the patient's body.
  • Watch out for MEGO. Beware: My Eyes Glaze Over. No pharmacy prescription can ever afford to be routine. Pharmacists will tell you that it's as crucial to watch a refill for accuracy, as it is to monitor a new order.

Mackay's Moral: Delivering just what the doctor ordered can make you the best reliever in the bullpen.

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