How to Choose Your Healthcare Marketing Agency Partner

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Hands holding two puzzles piecesThe most enduring and successful client-agency relationships work as a partnership. The trouble is, a solid working relationship isn’t easy to achieve. Selecting a healthcare marketing agency for a hospital or group practice shouldn’t be “easier-said-than-done.” Here are some important issues to consider.

Performance is a specific measure of results, not the portfolio. Every agency has a gallery of previous ads, web pages and similar creative projects. Unfortunately, the portfolio pictures do not tell the entire story. Here’s what to ask:

What was the goal of this campaign? How did you measure Return-on-Investment? In measurable and quantifiable results, how did this perform?

Experience in healthcare marketing is not the same as kinda-sorta similar businesses. First of all, does the agency clearly understand the issues of the client organization? Can they discuss the high-level challenges as well as the street-level problems? What unique experience and special capabilities does the agency bring to the table?

Every healthcare marketing agency has creative resources available, either on staff or on call. But a prospective partner in marketing adds original thinking, strategic plans and fresh solutions.

What’s the mutual mindset? If the client is buying services, and the agency is only filling orders, they are not at full strength. Under this mindset, the expectation is to provide only the service elements requested. Yes, whatever this needs to correct, on time and on budget.

But a true healthcare marketing agency partner needs to be able to deliver greater intellectual and creative value. It’s more than a carton of disposable supply chain goods. This mindset limits potential.

Consequently, a healthcare marketing partner has the experience, ability and desire to devise results-driven solutions. Filling a specific order—for a brochure or social media—may not be the best solution.

Have a serious talk about money and money management. Many agencies devise a work plan to meet or exceed the available budget. However a partner minded agency has a cost effective approach to meeting or exceeding goals. Their goal is to produce a strong measure of results and a high Return-on-Investment.

Avoid the one-trick-pony solution. Some service companies claim success based on a solitary method or media. The fact is, effective marketing and advertising requires a full range of creative capabilities. One critical dividing line, for example, differentiates between traditional advertising (print ads, television, etc.) and online or digital techniques.

Although marketing and media are more challenging, the most effective solutions are well rounded. Most of all, marketing plans and advertising campaigns need to consider all the available tools and options.

Create a business association for success…

Productive and lasting relationships between a client and a healthcare agency is an enduring, business-minded partnership. More than a vendor/supplier resource, an agency understands your business and your business goals. Therefore, select your partner carefully and invest in a longterm, continuing relationship for marketing success.


Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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