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| 11/04/2020

Top 5 Questions To Ask When Selecting a Healthcare Advertising Firm

Written by Ed Bennett

Healthcare organizations often turn to advertising firms to help with various aspects of their marketing communication outreach. When they do, they have wide range of options to choose from—which can be both good, and bad. How can they ensure that the firm they select will be able to consistently deliver the high quality and brand supportive content they need? By asking the right questions, and listening very carefully to the answers! 

Here we take a look at the “Top 5 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Healthcare Advertising Firm.”

1)     Have you worked with healthcare organizations in the past? While not necessarily a “deal-breaker,” a common and important question to ask when seeking assistance from an agency, is whether they’ve done work in your industry before. The knowledge that agencies with experience in healthcare marketing have about the industry can be a big benefit. On the flip side, though, sometimes agencies without this experience can deliver innovative approaches that don’t look like what everybody else is doing. 

2)     Who will we be working directly with on our projects? A common frustration for some organizations is that they have direct contact with agency leaders and senior staff during the agency review process, but once they select an agency their contacts are with less experienced junior staff members. You will also want to meet directly with the people you will be interacting with to get a sense of how well their personality and style match yours and the culture of your healthcare organization.

3)     What does your development process look like? You will want to carefully explore the process the agency uses to create content. What kind of input will they be looking for from you, and your team? How will they seek that input (via meetings, phone calls, email)? How will they present you with material for review.

  • Will you receive multiple options to consider, or just one?
  • Will they present creative materials through a pitch session, via email, via a portal?
  • How open will they be to your input? There’s an important balance to be struck here between simply being “order takers” and respecting your knowledge of the brand. 

4)     How will you measure, or evaluate, the success of your efforts on our behalf? Measurability and results are obviously important. In a digital environment—and many of your marketing efforts are likely to be digital—that measurability is easier than ever before. What will the agency evaluate? How often will they report on results? What type of course correction will they take if results aren’t up to expectations; how will you be involved in this process? 

5)     Can we contact some of your previous clients? Just as when interviewing employees, it’s critical to take the time to gather input from references. But don’t stop with just the names that the agency may provide you. Healthcare marketers are part of a pretty tight community; use your own network to get additional insights to help you make an informed choice. For instance, online forums like MySHSMD’s member community provide a great place to connect with healthcare marketers around the country. The MarTech Health Directory also offers reviews and ratings of healthcare advertising agencies

Pricing is obviously another area for exploration, and you will clearly need to consider budgetary issues, but we didn’t include it in our “Top 5” for a reason. It’s important, but we don’t feel as important as other aspects of your evaluation. Why? Because selecting an agency shouldn’t be based on price; it should be based on the likelihood of achieving results. 

What other key questions have you asked when assessing agencies to serve your healthcare marketing needs? 

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