Marketing Consultant Helps Independent Pharmacies Thrive

Pharmacy Times, February 2021, Volume 89, Issue 2

Bridget Hanna focuses on boosting compounding services, events, OTC services, and social media

As a marketing consultant for independent pharmacies across Canada and the United States, Bridget Hanna, CPhT, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has a wealth of experience helping businesses grow and succeed.

After earning her pharmacy technician certification in 2009, Hanna began working at a local independent pharmacy.

“This is where I not only started my career but also became part of a family, which is what independent pharmacy is about,” she said.

Hanna soon discovered a passion for compounding, and she continued her education by earning a compounding certification.

“I then realized that so many were truly unaware of what compounding was and how it can change lives every day,” Hanna said.

“I have seen firsthand how a compounded medication saved my horse’s life, which changed my life. I wanted to help change others’ lives through compounding,” Hanna said.

“I wanted to educate [people] and share my passion,” she said. “I decided the only way I could do this was through marketing.”

Hanna worked at the pharmacy for 8 years, advocating, educating, and providing her community with solutions and the care that independent pharmacies provide.

She created Independent Edge Consulting in 2018 to help independent pharmacies grow.

“After developing a marketing program, strategy, and process for my current pharmacy at the time and having seen the progress, success, and growth of the pharmacy, I wanted to provide these results for other pharmacies. I wanted to help other pharmacies grow, expand, and provide for their community through compounding, quality services, and products,” Hanna said.

Her services are based on an independent pharmacy’s needs.

“After working in pharmacy for 12 years, I have insight [into] what happens behind the counter in the lab, compounding, supplement sales, consulting with prescribers and nurses, developing and running pharmacy events, and truly being part of the community. I understand the needs of prescribers and patients,” Hanna said.

Some of the courses that Hanna offers include marketing to boost compounding services, events, OTC sales, and services; and how to effectively run a pharmacy’s social media pages. She also offers 1-on-1 consulting packages that provide 24/7 support in marketing and building the pharmacy.

Hanna hosts the Facebook group Marketing the Mortar and Pestle, which includes education, training, and information about marketing an independent pharmacy.

Hanna has worked with almost 40 pharmacies. Although she is now working remotely, she still provides content, education, and information to her clients.

One of Hanna’s success stories is her collaboration with an independent pharmacy in Hayden, Idaho. She helped the pharmacy build relationships with the local community, patients, and prescribers.

“Truly understanding the needs of these audiences has completely changed the success of their marketing,” she said.

The pharmacy was able to surpass its goals, with prescribers turning to compounding and doubling this area of the business. The business also doubled its pharmacy services enrollment numbers and supplement sales.

“They are now thriving. By focusing on building relationships, they built loyalty to their pharmacy and the staff [who] took care of their local community,” Hanna said.

Hanna said that social media is key, adding that “knowing your audience and where they are is necessary if you want your marketing message to be heard.”

Some of Hanna’s other tips for independent pharmacies include finding the problem and being the solution; focusing on building relationships with the community, patients, and prescribers to understand their needs and help them; and knowing the pharmacy’s target customers to best customize, develop, and direct market to that audience.

“My heart truly belongs to independent pharmacy, and I have dedicated everything to helping independent pharmacies grow,” Hanna said. “I will always advocate for not only independent pharmacies but also for compounding and the opportunities it brings to our world of medicine.”

In her spare time, Hanna’s hobbies include spending time outdoors, fishing, and hiking with her husband and daughter. She also works with trained dogs as a K9 handler for a local search and rescue team.

KAREN BERGER, PHARMD, is a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in northern New Jersey.