By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
A great healthcare marketing agency can help you go after the patients you want, build your brand, and grow revenues. Just as vitally, they’ll be there for you—not for a one-off project or creative piece, but as a true marketing partner.
The cold, hard truth is, many agencies won’t actually form a true marketing partnership with you. Many simply aren’t equipped with all that entails. Ideally, your agency partner should do more than sell you programs and ideas and then “set it and forget it.” An agency should be fully invested in your growth in good times, and ready to solve problems in the bad.
We’re not here to put other agencies down—but do your due diligence; too many healthcare marketing agencies won’t tell you they are not true partners. Nor will they tell you things like:
The vision you’re buying into may never be realized.
Agencies are wizards at creating multimedia displays of projected growth in web traffic, social media followers, revenue and market share. Once you’re onboard, they may take you through a branding exercise, build you a beautiful website, set up your online ads, design some campaigns, and then…crickets.
The reasons for this may be multifaceted, but the main one is simply that they are masters at selling you projections of record-breaking ROI, but lousy at hitting the targets. Two unfortunate things happen next. 1. They don’t tell you when patients stop clicking on your ads or that you dropped in the search engine rankings. 2. They don’t know how to fix what’s gone wrong in #1. Dreams of more patients and higher ROI are great. But unless an agency gives you a clear plan of action to get you there, complete with program monitoring and the ability to react to downturns, move on.
Bigger is not always better.
A 200-person agency with an arsenal of resources, marketing specialists and high-profile experience can sound impressive. But is that what your organization really needs? Often, an agency of this size pairs you with just another headset—not a true client success team that cares about your results.
Agencies like these are often attempting to finish the job in the least amount of time possible. They want to use their resources wisely—which means they may not be doing things like consistently following up on your SEO and PPC ads, making adjustments to campaigns as needed, and spending quality time on writing and design work. It’s not a true healthcare marketing partnership when an agency is more focused on what processes can offer the greatest benefit to them above all else.
Creative is important—but isn’t everything.
A lot of agencies lure in clients with showy displays of creative billboards, TV commercials, brochures, websites, and online ads. We love creative campaigns; that’s why we have talented designers and art directors on staff. But we also know creative is only a part of the total picture.
The right agency won’t just talk about their creative work and subsequent awards. They’ll show you how these ads were used to bring results to their clients. They’ll prove that with your organization, they are focused on bringing more of the patients you want to see—not simply adding to their portfolio of beautiful work (though it doesn’t hurt to find an agency that has one).
Here’s what to look for in an authentic marketing partnership.
The news isn’t all bleak in the world of agency-client relationships. Partnerships can be formed when you ensure that your goals align in the courting phase and further into the marriage. When this state of marketing nirvana kicks in, communication and chemistry are clear. The agency believes in your mission statement. Your team knows that a custom-crafted marketing plan can help patients get the care they need. Even better, they don’t go into a tailspin when problems arise. Instead, your agency partner is out front looking for trouble. They track your in-market media’s every shift; making adjustments to affect positive results quickly. Because essentially, they want what you want: To send more patients to your office.
Choose an agency partner that aligns with your philosophy and needs.
When considering a marketing partner, make sure you’re on the same page about goals, budget and the approach of measuring return on investment. You should feel confident they clearly understand the strengths and challenges of your practice or organization inside out—from staffing and patient experience to external marketing efforts. They should also be adept at addressing both high-level issues and day-to-day problems.
Performance Over Portfolio.
During the pitch phase, your purported agency in shining armor will tempt you with a portfolio of creative work which may feature ads, videos, web pages and other projects. Resist being wooed and ask them the tough questions. Ask them what problem the work was created to solve, how ROI was measured and how the ad or campaign performed. Their answers will tell you the real story.
In today’s healthcare marketplace, consumers rule, which means they have more choices and buying power than ever before. To keep new patients coming in, insist on a dedicated and transparent marketing partnership. At Healthcare Success, our team will craft a customized marketing plan, media strategy and manage your digital and traditional media needs to meet your marketing goals. Call (800) 656-0907 to learn more.