Siteseer: Australian Pharmacist

Content marketing in pharmacies: Dispensing daily doses of knowledge

In Examples by Peter Gearin

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has teamed with Mahlab to reimagine its content platform, Australian Pharmacist.

Some might say you’d have to be on drugs to be a pharmacist these days. With challenges coming from online medicine providers and a competitor with the size and marketing budget of Chemist Warehouse, “high-street” pharmacies are struggling to stay relevant and keep their doors open.

The most recent measure of pharmacists’ satisfaction – the UTS Community Pharmacy Barometer – showed an index reading was 96.4 … and that’s out of 200. Pharmacists have some way to go before they could feel genuinely positive about the future.

What has to change? Experts say community pharmacists must offer a broader range of professional services. As a reaction to the range of beauty, wellness and traditional medicines provided by loud, lairy and ubiquitous Chemist Warehouse outlets, they need to provide more specialised services such as vaccinations, blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring and medication management. They also need to do more to help people wishing to quit smoking or manage their weight.

Another way pharmacists can become more useful is by keeping up to date with all the latest advances in their industry. They now need to dispense more than drugs – they need to offer meaningful advice and play an essential role in local area health.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) saw an opportunity for content marketing to play a part in this. With the help of Sydney-based agency Mahlab, the PSA recent established a multi-channel publishing platform called Australian Pharmacist. PSA’s official journal includes a new website and a relaunched monthly print magazine.

“What happened to Bex powder – the three-drug cocktail used by generations of Australians in need of a cup of tea and a good lie down?”

At launch, PSA national president Dr Shane Jackson said the content needed to reflect its position as the peak national body for pharmacists. “Australian Pharmacist will be the go-to source of information and education for pharmacists at every stage of their career, and we’re pleased to be working with Mahlab to deliver this for our members and the wider profession,” Jackson said.

Under the strapline “inspiring excellence, advancing practice”, the Australian Pharmacist website breaks the content into four main pillars – “industry”, “clinical”, “innovation” and “people”. It covers news on recent studies and government announcements, as well as updates on current thinking and trends. It also publishes short Q&As with professionals working in interesting or demanding environments, such as army pharmacist Lieutenant Shreyans Shah.

Although the general public would find the subject matter dry, some Australian Pharmacist stories have some broad appeal. Such as what happened to Bex powder – the three-drug cocktail used by generations of Australians in need of a cup of tea and a good lie down? In an opinion piece, consultant pharmacist Fran Vaughan writes of the challenges providing home medicines reviews in remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

Mahlab founder Bobbi Mahlab said her team undertook extensive research to understand the needs and wants of the PSA’s target audiences. “This told us that current audiences want to be able to access Australian Pharmacist content more easily online, which they’re able to do with the launch of the new website and its distribution across social channels,” Mahlab said. “We have also developed a targeted amplification strategy to take Australian Pharmacist content to new audiences.”

Mahlab has form in the B2B space, having already worked successfully with Engineers Australia and the Australian Human Resources Institute. The agency found that the audience for a member-based organisation such as the PSA would respond to a digital-first, multi-platform approach. “PSA’s member demographics skew towards young professionals who need to be reached through digital channels,” Mahlab says.

Links & references

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