During my week at LeveragePoint Media, located in East Dundee, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, I became completely immersed into the world of pharmaceutical advertising. I was graciously hosted by Gettysburg College alumnus and CEO of LeveragePoint Media Jim O’Dea 80’. My externship experience was conducted with RxEDGE Networks, one of the two business sub-units that comprise Mr. O’Dea’s company. RxEDGE provides in-store advertisements for large drug companies such as Pfizer or Astra Zeneca in the form of “Solutions at the Shelf” information dispensers.
The basic scenario of this marketing strategy typically goes as follows: a consumer suffering from some health issue attempts to self-treat the problem and enters a pharmacy to find an over-the-counter product that will help relieve his or her ailment. Leveragepoint directly engages the customers and simultaneously provides exposure for prescription drug companies through their custom information dispensers. The dispensers provide general information and possible special offers for a certain prescription drug that the customer can then pursue and obtain. A prime example of this marketing strategy can be seen in one of the photos below, in which a dispenser for the EpiPen injection device is located next to antihistamines such as Benadryl within the pharmacy.
After familiarizing myself with the basics of the service that LeveragePoint Media provides, I became deeply engaged with the intricacies and logistics of what it takes to run the company and produce the final product. Kathleen Bonetti, Vice President of Marketing at LeveragePoint, was gracious enough to set up an itinerary for my externship week that would enable me to view each aspect of the company. From operations to finance and analytics, I was able to get a glimpse of the behind the scenes work that is so critical to providing a successful marketing campaign.
Other highlights of my week at LeveragePoint Media included some notable, engaging experiences. On the morning of my first day at LeveragePoint, I was assigned two small projects that would help me delve deeper into the world of pharma-marketing and even allow me to provide my own perspective on the information I researched. My first task was to complete a set of industry knowledge questions that I would slowly be able to answer each day as I learned more and more about the world of pharmaceutical advertising. The second project was also ongoing and necessitated thorough research on the topic of pharmaceutical gamification, which is nothing more than employing the characteristics of a video game to help patients monitor their adherence to prescription medications in a fun and engaging manner. I was to research the current state of gamification in the industry and compile a list of the games being developed by the large drug companies. As a culminating activity, I presented both projects to Mr. O’Dea and Kathleen in private and discussed the key takeaways from my week at LeveragePoint Media.
My personal favorite highlight from the externship was a professional photo shoot at a Walgreen’s pharmacy, which allowed me to see some of LeveragePoint’s products first-hand in a real world setting. Pictures were taken with models posing in front of some of LeveragePoint’s dispenser boxes advertising different prescription drugs. This experience helped bring to life everything I had learned during the week. Finally, I was able to take a tour of downtown Chicago during my stay, which was an absolutely incredible experience. In just a few hours with Mr. O’Dea, I toured sights such as Wrigley Field, The Navy Pier, and Buckingham Fountain. Overall, I am incredibly grateful to the O’Dea family, the employees at LeveragePoint Media, and Gettysburg College for making this externship experience possible.