Sunday, June 29, 2008
Here we see two photos of a LCD screen in a pharmacy (at Balaji Medicals, Bangalore at top, and Yasho Pharma, Bangalore at bottom) that informs patients, and helps in "in-store" advertising. A fellow Bangalorean - PRAVEEN JAIN (Click here) a chartered accountant by qualification, quit his high paying job at KPMG, and donned the role of an entrepreneur to found a firm emediagenie.
I met up with Praveen Jain in the recent past, and I found his high energy entrepreneurial drive very inspiring.
Praveen comes from a typical middle class to upper middle class background from Bangalore. His elder brother is a pharmacist. Praveen worked with KPMG as a consultant and has worked with VCs for about 40 deals. He honed his skills in working on the nitty gritty of business plans while at KPMG.
Then ... the entrepreneurial bug bit him!!
While sitting casually with his brother in the pharmacy, he realized there was a potential to help marketers address the waiting patient population (at the counter) through something beyond danglers and posters - that are routine. He was on to something dynamic, contemporary, EXCITING, and engaging that would help patients, and at the same time boost sales of OTC (over-the-counter) and OTX (prescription plus over-the-counter) brands. The answer was a LCD SCREEN for "in-pharmacy" advertising.
IT IS SAID: IT IS EASY TO CONCEIVE BUT DIFFICULT TO DELIVER
Praveen no doubt, had a very good business idea and a high potential business concept. But it was one thing to conceive, but another thing to put the plan in to action ... as a profit making enterprise.
Praveen's experience at KPMG came in handy. He developed a very good database of chemists at Bangalore, then used a robust CRM software to maintain the database, and create his business plan. His CRM (customer relationship management) software is critical to his business operations, as it is updated constantly for ROI (return on investment) and is used for strategy development.
At first, Praveen found it difficult to convince potential advertisers to sign up, and chemists to agree to put up the LCD screen. He nevertheless persevered - initially through his contacts and his first LCD screen was at his brother's pharmacy.
Many small OTC brands warmed up to the idea, to begin with. Chemists who were at first skeptical, however, began to see the LCD screen as an ally to promote their store label and since the content was dynamic where in patients would get health tips and other useful information in the display, the idea was accepted, and the goodness of this concept spread word-of-mouth to other pharmacies too.
Internationally this idea is in vogue
In USA, Accent Health (a part of CNN) is into LCD based marketing communication, their area of focus is the patients' waiting room in clinics and hospitals. Globally, there are other operators in pharmacies like, Focus Media in China, Life Pharmacy in New Zealand, The Pharmacy Channel in UK and USA (which is the world's first and largest in the area of pharmacy screens), and Pharmacia in Italy.
ROI is the key
Praveen believes that it is imperative that he tracks the brand sales of advertised brands in pharmacies when it is advertised on his LCD screen. And this feedback is given to the advertisers to justify the ROI. The ad spend is well accounted for - and this is feeding the success of emediagenie. For eg., a diagnostic blood sugar aid as increased the sales by 8 to10 times after advertising. A small pain-massage oil brand has shown 3 to 5 times sales jump. Similarly, other brands have increased sales significantly. Pharmacies have found that this has added to the in-pharmacy atmospherics, they have gained through increased footfalls, and overall higher sales. In the current context of increased competition between pharmacies, audience engagement is very vital to increase the footfalls in pharmacies. emediagenie is helping pharmacies in this direction through novel advertorials like quizes for patients and the pharmacy providing the gifts to the winners, the winners photos being put up on the LCD screen etc. The sales data monitoring is constant and updated in Praveen's CRM software consistently. Belonging to the cyber savvy generation, Praveen has started using the CRM software from the word go and is a key component of his future business activities. Praveen has started building a digital nervous system in the activities of his enterprise.
Overall, Praveen's dalliance with marketing communication business is novel and is helping advertised brands through good growth in incremental sales and brand building. GREAT GOING PRAVEEN, BEST OF LUCK!! Praveen has successfully redefined point-of-purchase pharmacy advertising in India. For interested persons, Praveen's email id is: email@example.com
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