We never thought we’d live to see the day that #ToiletPaperEmergency would be trending on social media, says Mark McCrindle… so how can pharmacists keep pace with an ever-changing world?
“These recent weeks have given us a clearer picture of just how ever-changing our times are, and with that of course our ever-changing customers are adjusting and adapting as well,” said leading social researcher Mark McCrindle at the recent APP2020 Online conference.
“In 2020, the traditional business strategy or planning approach doesn’t apply in these fast-moving times.
“In fact the speed of change is such that we are no longer tracking towards the future, but in fact the future is now coming at us, and coming at us at an increasing pace.
“Think of the key words we’ve heard of recent weeks – ‘disruption’, ‘uncertainty’, ‘volatility’ – where the only certainty is more volatility – unprecedented use of the word ‘unprecedented’ – that’s what we’re seeing in the current era,” said Mr McCrindle.
“We never probably thought we’d live to see the day that #ToiletPaperEmergency would be trending on social media sites and yet that’s the reality of today.
“Even timeless issues like finding Wally have changed in this 2020 era of social distancing and isolation.
“But while there are these uncertainties and dark days, it’s in those dark times that you see the bright lights of community connectedness coming very strongly.”
His company McCrindle Research conducted a study in December asking how they are feeling about the change of the past decade.
For every person that said ‘positive’, even more said ‘concerned’, and for those that said they were energised or empowered by the change, even more were fatigued and overwhelmed by it.
“The good news is even amidst the changes, pharmacists are the go-to, trusted source of advice,” he said.
Research he conducted for the Pharmacy Guild revealed that Australian’s perception of pharmacies were very positive, with the top three perceptions being that they are friendly, professional and reliable.
Pharmacists also received the strongest result of all for net promoter score – whether Australians would recommend their local pharmacy.
Results showed that pharmacists were between the ‘very good’ and ‘excellent’ category, leading the field.
“The question is are we still maintaining communication to be not only those trusted sources of advice but the one that can deliver that advice in ways and platforms that make sense today,” said Mr McCrindle.
“It’s not Dr Google that we need to worry about at the source of advice but Dr YouTube.
“When it comes to young people, Australian teenagers, the number one search engine for them today is no longer Google, it’s actually YouTube. They don’t want to read an article on something, they want to watch it in a video. So we’ve got to adjust our communication into a visual video-based world to engage, in this world of digital disruption to connect.”
He pointed out that the younger generations are important to understand because they’re not necessarily emerging generations anymore.
As of 2019, Generation Y & Z – those born since 1980 – now comprise more than half of Australia’s workforce.
“Therefore they are the majority of earners and the spenders. Understanding these customers is not only key for the current time – they are your future,” said Mr McCrindle.
“Beyond the Gen Ys and the Zs, we’re moving to the Gen Alphas. They will never use or see a fax machine or a landline phone or one of those GPS devices. They’ll never use a physical credit card, they’ll never have a wallet, they won’t use cash in their lifetime, they won’t have analog watch,” he added.
“That’s the extent of the change – these items we’ve taken as normative are no longer the experience of the children that we have today.
“The ever-changing customer is digital in terms of the tools and platforms on which they engage, they’re visual, social, mobile and global. If our world is changing we need to change. If our customers are changing we need to as well.”
He added that Australia’s population is growing by the millions and seeing huge demographic shifts.
Meanwhile Australians have said that the top three benefits of their pharmacist to the local community are that they are:
- An integral part of healthcare services
- Conveniently located in our community
- Provide reliable medical advice
“These are the three top factors that Australians say their pharmacies have for their local community. What is key is to maintain that connection and regard even as our communities change,” says Mr McCrindle.
“The importance of yourselves as leaders in the pharmacy and medicines industry is so key,” he added.
“The reason this generation can have the thriving lives that they have and we can even manage in these uncertain times is because of the healthcare system, the professionalism that we have in our suburbs and cities provided by so many of you.
“If we can articulate that purpose to those team members, they can see that what they’re doing is not just making a sale or working for profitability… they’re making an impact.”