Pulling a passion for patients into specialty pharmacy marketing
Expanding from fewer than a dozen employees in 2017 to a 75-member workforce in 2021, Blue Sky Specialty Pharmacy has found its footing in a hyper-competitive market thanks to a simple but powerful ethos: Blue Sky is passionate about people, from patients and staff to the providers who bring them business. And since putting people first is one of AmerisourceBergen's guiding principles, we took a look at what other aspects of our purpose-driven approach this very special specialty pharmacy shares.
“We place a lot of value around building a positive and people-centric culture," says Sara Kazzi, Marketing Director at Blue Sky. “We want to make sure every patient feels like a person, not just a prescription number.”
As a small business in an extremely competitive market with some big players, Blue Sky has carried that purpose through every aspect of its business, including the pharmacy's marketing. And now, driven by a regional sales team that evangelizes the brand across multiple territories, Blue Sky's patient-focused marketing engine is gearing up to show even more patients what it's like to experience Blue Sky's special brand of service and care by reaching more manufacturers and providers.
Prioritizing brand training from the inside out
Anybody can say they put people first, but to experience what that mantra means, Blue Sky's marketing and sales team lives it. Staff participates in shadow exercises and trainings throughout the company so that they can see the pharmacy's brand promise in action firsthand.
“When someone gets hired, they'll come and visit with several different departments here to see what day-to-day internal staff sees," Kazzi says. “They get to experience the nitty-gritty of a prescription coming in and the workflows that happen to make orders come to life. That way, when salespeople go out and market our brand, they're not just saying words—they have a strong understanding of what we're all about."
Coincidentally, that round-robin tour is what Kazzi did before landing in her current role. After getting her start at Blue Sky entering scripts, scheduling refills, working on authorizations, and managing shipping, Kazzi eventually found an opportunity in the marketing department. Despite having limited marketing experience, she knew she had one thing that would serve her well: a belief in the brand.
“I saw a vision and I really believed in that vision since day one," she says. “I had experienced our mission to help people and I knew ours was a brand that cares not only about the people that work here, but our patients and our offices, too."
Helping even more people in more places
Having described its brand as unique, progressive, and maybe a bit off-beat, Blue Sky leadership says they're proud to keep their purpose alive through everyday interactions with patients and customers. From offering tech-friendly platforms to preserving phone communications for those who just want to talk live, the pharmacy has staked its future on meeting folks where they are.
Still, brand recognition is complex in the specialty pharmacy world, where referrals are the lifeline of day-to-day business. As Blue Sky expands its message to more people in more places, Kazzi is confident that the pharmacy's people-first mission will make a lasting impression—just as it did with her.
“We are focused on building our brand, and brand recognition is a big deal for us right now," she said. “As we expand out west and up north, a big part of our barrier to get people on board is just getting our name out there. We'd love to be a household name moving forward, and I know our mission will help us get there."