Marketing activity in the community pharmacy sector – A scoping review

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BackgroundCommunity pharmacy ownership requires engaging with marketing strategies to influence consumer behaviour. There is a plethora of information from trade journals, expert opinion, and published discussion surrounding this issue. Despite this, evidence relating to the efficacy of marketing activity within the pharmacy sector is scant.ObjectivesTo review how marketing activity has been conceptualised in the community pharmacy sector and to determine the evidence for the effect of marketing activity.MethodsSeven databases were systematically searched using a scoping review framework with the reporting protocol of PRISMA-P. The search yielded 33 studies that were analysed for year of publication, journal, country of focus, and framework of marketing.ResultsThe majority of marketing research papers focused on the United States and were published in healthcare journals. These were various marketing strategy elements, including; segmentation, targeting, differentiation, and positioning. Also evident was research regarding marketing mix, which predominately involved the “4Ps” model. Actual marketing activity comprised little of the research.ConclusionsResearch into marketing activity in community pharmacy is limited, and little evidence is available to show the effects of such activities. Future research needs to demonstrate the causality for the effect of marketing activities on consumer behaviour and economic outcomes.

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