What is a company without its customers? Behind every organization’s marketing initiatives is a goal to draw in and maintain buyers and influencers, and health care companies are no different, regardless of whether they are marketing B2B or B2C. Customers simply don’t just show up at your door asking for your products and services with no prior knowledge of your company or how you can make their lives easier. You must first reach your customers where they are, understand their specific pain points and explain why your product or service is the ultimate solution. As such, you’ll require a comprehensive marketing plan and the expertise needed to build effective tactics that reach, nurture and convert your prospects.
It’s not uncommon for health care companies to seek help with these marketing efforts. Typically, this looks like hiring a health care marketing agency to assist—including marketing/creative support, copywriters, web designers and developers, sales strategists or proposal specialists, CRM, research firms or even event planners. But not every organization’s approach is the same. In fact, many health care companies work with multiple different vendors to support each of their marketing, PR and branding efforts, rather than a full-service health care marketing agency that has the scale and knowledge to help with all of these needs. There are a few different reasons why companies may take this piecemeal approach:
- The true “one-stop-shop” is hard to come by. Need to build thought leadership? Hire a PR firm. Seeking a new messaging strategy or identity? Onboard a branding agency. Running out of time to develop that sales kit? Resource a creative shop.
- “Agencies of record” may be things of the past. Thanks to a disparate purchasing process, few companies work with a single agency that services the entire enterprise any longer, which contributes to an incongruent approach to resourcing marketing support.
- In-house teams are too spread out. This is especially difficult for large organizations. When marketing professionals across the enterprise aren’t centralized in a single area, it can seem logical to select different firms for support around the locations of your teams.
- Doubt that the perfect agency exists. Companies may not believe they can find a health care marketing agency that can address all of their needs, from rapid turnaround times, industry-specific expertise, service mix, scale and flexibility to evolving budgets and project scope.
Don’t sacrifice valuable time for the sake of specialization.
Although hand-picking a different partner that specializes in each of your tactics or strategies may seem like the right choice, this approach comes with its challenges. Keep in mind that 4 out of 5 mid-sized companies work with various external agencies and service providers. But there is a big difference in the time and effort associated with getting one health care marketing agency up to speed with your brand and business goals compared to going through that same process with five vendors. And these partnerships should help take a load off of your team—not make more work for them.
Perhaps more importantly, specialization is not an integrated approach. Working with multiple vendors means it’s likely that your brand messaging won’t be consistent across all touchpoints, which is especially important for your prospects. However, finding a firm that can provide added value via an integrated approach isn’t a simple process. Sourcing a partner who can ensure the consistency of your brand messaging can be time-consuming and costly. And the idea of trusting the “hand-off” of work to a team outside your agency and then having to manage that partner in addition to your internal workload can be overwhelming at best. But you’re not alone—75% of companies today work with 3 to 10 different vendors to meet their goals.
Finding a full-service agency partner.
As a result, finding a marketing firm that can relieve issues related to timeliness, scale and budget is key. External providers are a valuable resource—86% of companies find that working with an outside vendor is well worth the investment. Plenty of agency ranking and listing sites can also help companies filter through potential partners, such as this list of Top Creative Marketing Companies according to DesignRush. A full-service health care marketing agency can provide a level of flexibility and expertise that an internal team would be hard-pressed to match. And the right agency maybe even be able to save you time or money.
The “full-service” designation is key—these partners can help you manage all aspects of your marketing efforts, from branding to SEO. A niche agency, on the other hand, specializes in one certain area of marketing. If you need help with more than one area of specialization, a full-service agency is an ideal choice. There are a few things to consider when vetting a partner that’s right for you:
- Industry expertise that adds value to your organization.
Ideally, your vendor has knowledge across all vertical markets (health systems, payers, health tech, etc.) and a broad service mix. Be sure to ask for case studies and samples that prove this expertise.
- Strong project management that delivers at just the right time.
Seek out a team that has the ability to meet your deadlines in a timely manner and liaise with your marketing staff, as well as other vendors who support your efforts.
- Involved agency leaders who care about your success.
You want the “A-team” directly engaged in the day-to-day. Smaller, boutique agencies are likely to add this value, which you can read more about here.
- The scale and flexibility to adapt to your needs.
A proactive agency partner will have the ability to scale up or down based on changing budget or workflow needs.
- A retainer model that keeps you on track.
A retainer, or set number of hours allocated to your account every month, is especially helpful in enabling your firm of choice to deliver on projects more rapidly.
Despite all of these qualities, considerations and different service models, it is possible to find a single vendor that can address all the needs a company is looking for. A full-service health care marketing agency, like Activate Health, checks these boxes and then some. While working with multiple vendors may seem like the obvious approach for getting the best of all service areas, it’s safe to say the pitfalls of a piecemeal approach can be cost- and time-prohibitive. Finding a full-service agency provides the most integrated approach possible, supplementing your marketing efforts with proven expertise, project management support, ongoing communication, scale and flexibility that can greatly reduce your costs and workflow.
Activate Health has all the necessary capabilities and industry acumen, a project management model that can meet your timing, scale and flexibility, and staff in place to handle changing workload. To learn more about what a full-service health care marketing agency like Activate Health can offer your company, contact us today.