‘Pure Gold’

Thursday, September 30, 2004

HAZELTON, Pa. - HME owner John Keegan’s healthcare show on cable TV has turned into a marketing bonanza.

“It is an informational show,” said Keegan, owner of Heights Terrace Pharmacy & Diabetes Shoppe. “We go over everything I’d like to say to the customer in the store, but don’t have time to.”

As moderator of RxToday, which airs once a day, Keegan discusses issues related to diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and their corresponding therapies with a wide range of guests including pharmacists, DME providers and dieticians.

Hosting RxToday has raised Keegan’s profile in the community of 23,000 people.

“People who have seen the show are always coming in saying ‘You are so knowledgeable’” Keegan said. “The show gives me the opportunity to demonstrate what we know.”

According to Keegan, the show increased his business 20% the first year, and has helped drive sales growth in his diabetes and asthma HME product lines.

“Diabetes products are up 30% since the start of the show and asthma products are up 40%,” said Keegan. “It takes multiple encounters to build customer trust and the show offers that opportunity. It is also helping locals know that we can meet their needs, and we are getting more of them in to do business.”

Prior to landing his own show two years ago, Keegan was a longtime guest on a show hosted by a physician. Producers wanted Keegan to do his own show and he teamed up with four other local pharmacists to put RxToday together. The show is taped twice a month and repeated on a daily basis to fill programming gaps.

Jack Evans of Global Media Marketing said Keegan’s innovative approach to marketing is pure gold.

“This is the cheapest marketing that any HME could follow,” said Evans. “I have known a few that have cable shows, either on cable access or on local affiliates, and their business is booming.”

Frequently, Evans said, healthcare professionals can get the shows for free because channels need filler programming.

Keegan helps keep RxToday on the air by paying $250 a show for commercial sponsorship - a cost that he said beats traditional advertising avenues.

“I couldn’t get advertising like this in a newspaper unless I owned it,” Keegan said.