Diabetes at Retail Event: Panel Discussion Recap 10/1/2015
During the ECRM 2015 Diabetes event in Tampa, Florida, industry leaders got together during a panel discussion during which a mixture of suppliers and buyers responsible for diabetic programs discussed the latest trends, issues and developments taking place in the category.
The panelists came from diverse backgrounds and offered unique perspectives on the ways in which the diabetes category is handled. The session was moderated by Karl S. Schumann, RPh Principal, PharmaCon, LLC and the panelists included:
- Holly Hartshorn, Director of Marketing, UltiMed, Inc.
- Mary Barbato, EVP Marketing & Sales, dLife for Your Diabetes Life
- Sara McCown, Strategic Market Director, LifeScan, Inc.
- Brad Laflen, Diabetes Care Coordinator, Schnuck Markets
- Vinny Mainella, COO, Miller Drug
- Andrew Markievich, Manager Pharmacy Clinical Programs, Ahold
A major discussion topic that emerged during the session focused on the ways in which diabetes product assortments and marketing should be tailored to the community where the store is located. According to Mary Barbato of dLife, there isn’t a one size fits all diabetes section. Instead, it is up to suppliers and retailers to research the ethnicities, languages and lifestyles of the core consumer at the store level. With this information, businesses can develop product assortments and marketing programs that are relevant to the shopper.
For instance, producing bilingual packaging and educational materials is one route suppliers can take to reach a broader audience. But the panelists had other suggestions as well. Because diet plays such a large role in diabetes management it is important to learn more about the food choices of the ethnic consumer in order to execute cross merchandising efforts more effectively.
Technology also plays a large role in the way that the diabetes category is marketed to patients of different ethnicities. For instance, in the past year, 73% of Hispanics have used a smartphone to research a health condition compared to 67% of blacks and 58% of whites according to an article by Monica Anderson published on pewresearch.com. This means, that mobile could one of the more effective ways for diabetes suppliers and retailers to reach the Hispanic community outside of the store. Another, more general, way that technology can be used to help increase adherence among patients of all ethnicities is through auto-refill applications. With such technology, the retailer is able to reach the patient outside of the store and such automation will help patients adhere to their diabetes programs.
Overall the panelists offered great insights into the category and ways in which they are not only generating sales but also caring for the well-being of their patients.