Moore Medical Is a Kid at Heart

Edition: May 2003 - Vol 11 Number 05
Article#: 1529
Author: Repertoire

Moore Medical Corp. is a 55-year-old company that feels and acts like a kid. And that’s by design. New Britain, Conn.-based Moore Medical constantly monitors the market for new, untapped niches, as well as new opportunities in current markets, and then pursues them with a variety of traditional and new sales and marketing techniques. This approach not only calls for creativity, but enthusiasm.





“It’s an exciting time to be here,” says Mark Florence, vice president and general manager of the marketing and sales, primary care and sub-acute markets. “It feels like a startup, even though we’re a 55-year-old company.”



With $137.8 million in sales in FY 2002, Moore Medical focuses on a variety of markets, including occupational health; schools; correctional facilities; federal, state and local governments; podiatry; primary care; sub-acute care; and EMS/fire rescue. And it touches them in a variety of ways – field sales, telemarketing, direct mail, affiliates and the Internet.



“It’s a very interesting business,” says Florence. “We’re experts in numerous niche markets, such as EMS/fire rescue and occupational health. Vendors come to us because they want to expand into these markets, but don’t know the landscape or have the resources to quickly gain incremental market share,” he says. Moore Medical’s marketing management team develops customized multichannel marketing strategies for vendors who want to expand into these non-traditional markets.



To help stay focused on the needs of its varied markets, the company aligned itself into market-specific business units in July 2002. They are primary care/sub-acute care (which Florence heads); podiatry and reseller (or master distributor); and public sector, occupational health and EMS.



Each business unit has its own marketing and sales group. And people with expertise in their market areas run each unit. For example, Florence has worked in sales and marketing for a number of medical companies, including Abbott Laboratories, Bayer and Instrumentation Laboratories. His management team includes Market Manager Theresa Kitcoff (with prior experience at Abbott Laboratories), Field Sales Manager Tim Niedosik (from Roche Diagnostics) and Outbound Sales and Telemarketing Manager Donna Nealon (from Beckman Coulter).



Online Evolution

Moore Medical was founded as a pharmacy, and then transformed into a drug wholesaler serving retail pharmacies. All the while, it maintained a base of business in medical-surgical products.



In 1998, the Moore Medical board made a strategic decision to exit the wholesale drug business and focus on med/surg in the non-hospital setting. That decision brought a number of changes, not the least of which was a new management team, starting with CEO and President Linda Autore.



The fact that Autore came from IBM and Intellution Inc. (a manufacturer of industrial automation software, now owned by GE Fanuc) was no accident. Moore was seeking tech-savvy leadership who could help the company exploit the potential of the Internet and integrate multiple channels of customer communication and commerce. Florence, who joined the company in April 2001, was one of the original members of the Medibuy business development team, the e-commerce exchange that was purchased last December by Global Healthcare Exchange. All members of the Moore Medical senior management team have technology experience.



“In order to understand where we’re going, you have to understand where we’ve been,” says Florence. Historically, Moore Medical was a catalog house with some telemarketing capabilities. The company had a rudimentary Web site when Autore came onboard, and she knew that Moore needed to move it forward.



The company conducted surveys, convened its customer council and market advisory groups, and worked with a consulting firm to find out what its customers wanted and expected from the Web. “We found that customers wanted a Web experience that made it easy to search for products, order, reorder and take advantage of specials,” says Florence. In October 2001, Moore formally relaunched its Web site, in classic Moore fashion – that is, using all its marketing and communications channels in an integrated roll-out.



And the company wowed its customers with features, such as account history and a quick-order function, which allows a customer to place an order with just a couple of clicks. “If we receive a customer order by 4 p.m. local time, we ship it out the same day,” says Florence. Moore Medical has asked some of its customers to test an Internet-based wireless device that will help to streamline inventory management and ordering, he adds.



So far, the campaign appears to have paid off. Online sales, which totaled 8 percent in 2001, are on track to reach 15 percent this year. “That’s more than double the online sales of many competitors,” says Florence.



Variety of Online Markets



The high Web usage rates aren’t surprising, given some of the markets that Moore Medical serves, says Florence. For example, many occupational health programs are corporate-sponsored, and Internet usage rates are high, he says.



Moore Medical has strengthened its online presence by joining forces with 28 “customer community affiliates.” For example, the company is the exclusive supply partner of MEDEM Inc. (medem.com). Medem is a physician practice communications network with over 85,000 members. It was founded by a variety of medical societies, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and other national and state societies. Visitors to medem.com can click on an icon to order medical supplies from Moore Medical. The company hopes to build upon its MEDEM connection by forming additional relationships with state medical societies throughout the country.



Other customer community affiliates include:

• Schoolnurse.com, the online presence of School Health Alert, a publication for school nurses.

• Corrections.com, for corrections and criminal justice healthcare professionals.

• Merginet.com, a Moore Medical-owned site for emergency care professionals.

• Podiatryonline.com, another Moore Medical-owned site, for podiatrists.

• FamilyPractice.com, for family practitioners.

• The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.



Multi-channel Marketer



Despite its growing online presence, Moore Medical maintains a multi-channel approach to its markets, says Florence. Integrated telemarketing, direct mail and field sales programs remain an important part of the approach.



“Each channel is effective in reaching customers,” says Florence. “But the ability to orchestrate a healthcare-related campaign, using all of the channels, creates a powerful result. That’s how a $138 million company like Moore Medical can make such a huge impact on the market and compete well against much larger players.”



For example, the company took advantage of National Heart Month in February by featuring products and services that promote a healthy heart lifestyle, such as blood pressure products, stethoscopes and lipid diagnostic products. Moore sent out flyers, faxes and emails, made phone calls, launched affiliate programs, offered Web specials and armed its field sales reps with National Heart Month promotions.



Moore Medical prides itself on the professionalism and expertise of its all-important inbound and outbound telemarketing staffs, says Florence.

For example, many of the reps in the EMS area are paramedics themselves, and nurses call on nurses. “We employ healthcare professionals who understand the products and know what it’s like to sit in the customer’s seat,” says Florence.



Recently Moore Medical expanded its field sales presence in the primary care, sub-acute care and occupational health markets.

The primary care/sub-acute business unit has added a national force of 10 account executives, plus an instrumentation manager – all with strong capital equipment, medical-surgical and financial sales backgrounds. Although Moore does indeed sell $10,000 instruments through non-field sales channels, the company realized that in order to grow its capital instrument sales, it had to add a strategically deployed national field sales organization.



“Primary care customers are looking for ways to improve patient care while generating revenue for their practice,” says Florence. “Customers don’t want to just buy a piece of equipment. They want to know how it will improve patient care, how to bill for it, which diagnosis codes to use, which acquisition programs are best given their individual needs, how to get the necessary licenses and certifications, and who to call when there’s a question. My team truly understands that the process only begins once the instrument is sold.”



What the Future Holds

Moore Medical looks forward to some solid growth.



“Historically, we’ve been a secondary or tertiary supplier to our customers in some of our markets,” says Florence. “But with a business unit focus, the addition of highly skilled professionals and a commitment to growing our contracted business portfolio, we’re becoming a primary supplier for not only our current customers, but new ones as well.



“We listen to our customers. We’re bringing in new products all the time. When I started two years ago, the company carried 8,000 products. Now we offer over 13,000. Vendors contact us daily with new products and technology. Now that we have the multichannel expertise to sell higher-ticket, more sophisticated products and services, the word is definitely out.”