Walgreens’ Marketing Engine to Drive Ready Response

The irreverent use of the phrase made famous by LifeAlert – I’ve fallen and I can’t get up – was a fixture of my childhood. Though the ad seems dated, LifeAlert’s emergency care technology is virtually identical to what it was in the eighties.

LifeAlert has partnered with the venerable C. Everett Koop who, according to the company’s website, wears the device; if that man can’t convince someone to use a product like this, no one can.

Ready Response: LifeAlert Competitor

One of the most promising recent market entrants is Ready Response, a product offered by Walgreens and American Medical Alert Corp. (AMAC).

Similar to LifeAlert, Ready Response is a two-way voice console that connects to an existing phone line. An activator button (worn around the neck) calls a 24-hour help center; users speak through the console’s sensitive built-in microphone.

Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, with 6,179 locations in the U.S., will utilize its considerable infrastructure to market and sell the device. AMAC announced this week the beginning of a 2008 marketing campaign for Ready Response that includes the launch of a new, product specific website, a mix of television advertising and Internet marketing, and new interactive store signage.

The brand-building effort represents the continuation of an external media strategy designed to position Walgreens Ready Response Medical Alert System as the trusted choice in this product category. Said Jack Rhian, AMAC’s President and CEO, “Our goal is to bring greater recognition of this service offering under the trusted Walgreens brand.”

The business model is compelling: users pay an initial set-up charge; recurring revenues are generated each month for monitoring costs. Ready Response charges $34.95/month – for each 2400 subscribers, the device generates $1 million in annual revenues.

Not bad for something that amounts to little more than a remote dialer with speaker phone, and access to a call center comparable to 9-1-1.

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