Don't Overlook Employee Communication When Planning Your Next Promotion

Sometimes it’s nice if the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.  

I’m still very excited about the CVS/Pharmacy calculator and the numerous commercials they are running related to the Medicare Part D benefit.  I guess it’s the “techy” side of me that simply likes playing with the calculator as well as all the educational elements of the website.  

So the other day while sitting at a traffic light right in front of the driveway of a CVS/Pharmacy, I thought I’d run in to see if I could learn more about it. I didn’t really need to buy anything at the moment, I wasjust bored waiting in traffic. And, I’m addicted to potato chips, so when I ran in, I grabbed a SMALL bag and a pack of gum and then headed to the cash register.  Since no one was in line with me, I asked the sales clerk if she’d seen the CVS/Pharmacy commercials on TV about Medicare Part D.  She said ‘yes’ and kept on doing what she was doing.   So then I asked her if she had more information about the calculator that I could take with me.  “We have calculators in aisle 8”, she said.  I responded, “really?”  She said, yes and then she proceeded to walk me back to aisle 8 to show me.  After she pointed to the HP scientific calculators, I said, “No, I meant the calculators that CVS/Pharmacy references in the Medicare Part D commercials that are running on TV.”  She said she had no idea what I was talking about and referred me to the Pharmacy in the back.  

Well, the line was so long back in Pharmacy, it didn’t seem appropriate to interrupt the pharmacist and his staff to ask about this calculator.  So I peeked around a bit to see if they had anything I could take with me. Didn’t really see much.  When an assistant walked from behind the pharmacy counter to leave (change of shift I suppose), I asked if there was information about the Medicare Part D calculator.  She instructed me to visit the CVS website, and was sorry that she didn’t have all the details.   That’s a better response, I guess, than showing me the HP scientific calculators.

It’s important to include internal education for your employees when you are running a large or even small communications campaign.  Sometimes the internal education can be as simple as talking points or a list of frequently asked questions.  But when your business has a face to the general public, you have to assume they will encounter situations like this. An internal education plan for your employees is just as important as an external public relations plan.  If you include the internal employee as an audience in the marketing plan you might avoid embarrassing situations for your company, like the one I experienced.  

My excitement for the calculator is still there, but the grade for what the company did to prepare their own employees is “incomplete” at the moment.  Next stop, Walgreens…they have a Medicare Part D report on their website that is generated when you enter the current drugs you take and your zip code.   The employee working the register at my local Walgreens, didn’t even know what Medicare was!   Seems both are interested in educating the consumer.  Perhaps their next marketing campaign should include educating their employees as well.


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