direct mail, Marketing

Walgreens Rolls Up Your Sleeve

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This may be the best traffic builder ever.

This week we received a notice from Walgreens (at the corner of happy and healthy). It’s only August, but they are now targeting my left arm for a flu shot.

This is the painless inoculation that fends off the swarms of flu virus planned to put me in bed next February.

What is not painless, and what Walgreens has figured out, is the paperwork. The mailer includes the consent form that normally we fill out at the scene.

The pocket encloses the nefarious consent form we normally fill out beside the ointments display.

The pocket encloses the nefarious consent form we normally fill out beside the ointments display.

Kudos to the marketer at this famed drug chain who saw the chance to streamline the process, save a few minutes, boost traffic, and promote sales all at the same time.

Truly, the flu shot appointment is drudgery. Who wants to sit behind a curtain in a tiny corner getting stabbed? Who wants to fill out a two-sided form on a clip board, standing beside the first aid display?

Walgreens provides the form, by mail. Bring it in, and –poink– you’re ready for the needle. The only question to answer, “Which arm?”

This annual campaign is one of the easiest to master, and I am surprised more drug chains don’t use it. Selecting a list targeted at seniors is easier than falling asleep in front of the TV.

The creation of the package is simple: envelope and form. In this case, the programmers could have stepped up, and matched our street address to the closest Walgreens store, included its address and a map, but they didn’t.

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The consent form is personalized. Walgreens could have included store# and address without much fuss.

They could have also matched our rewards account and popped a little note in the kit to personalize the event, but bedside manners may not be first and foremost in their minds.

Costwise, the investment is 45 cents a piece. With a response rate of 30%, the cost per visit is $1.50 ($0.45/30% = $1.50). Given that most retail traffic builders pull far less response, and usually offer discounts on top of that, this promotion is a winner hands down.

Walgreens gets the flushot revenue from Medicare, plus an in-person visit from a retail customer.

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Surprisingly, the incentive is buried here: a $2,000,000 donation to the U.N., and an important deadline. Shoulda-woulda-coulda!

Passing The Zig Ziglar Test
This is a moment to validate the Walgreens mailer according to the late sales counsellor Zig Ziglar’s test for sales viability.

He posited, quite astutely, that there were five road blocks to making a sale. The Walgreens promotion knocks down each of these objections:

1. No Need– The target list is to 65-year-olds, prime flu victims
2. No Desire– Walgreens streamlines the paperwork, and further offers a donation to the United Nations Foundation for every inoculation
3. No Money– Virtually free: costs are covered by Medicare and most health insurance
4. No Rush– The offer does have a deadline for eligible donations, but Walgreens could have pushed this harder. See the fine print.
5. No Trust– Hey, this Walgreens–America’s favorite drug store!

Overall, with a few tweaks, a great, timely promotion.

I’ll look for the bottom line next February.