September 18, 2023

Your healthcare marketing agency: What makes a good match?

Whether you need help with a major campaign, ongoing assistance with day-to-day marketing initiatives or a strategic overhaul of your healthcare organization’s brand, you’re looking for the ideal relationship with a marketing partner.

Finding the right marketing agency is kind of like dating: You’re checking out your options online, maybe asking friends for connections, getting to know the prospective matches. And once you’ve found “the one” it takes commitment from both sides to keep the relationship strong.  

How to Find the Right Marketing Partner

Like personal relationships, your engagement with a marketing agency should be beneficial to both parties. It shouldn’t purely be transactional — you give the agency an assignment and they send you a bill — as this approach can yield inconsistent work that doesn’t adequately address your business goals. Instead, look for an agency you can fully collaborate with as an equal partner.  

Finding the right marketing consultancy for your healthcare organization or nonprofit takes research. Seek out experience in the healthcare field — a team that can identify the right strategic direction for your brand and  translate complex medical concepts to language your audience can understand. As you gather a list of candidates, check out their websites to be sure their expertise aligns with your team and brand goals. Case studies will reveal the strategic thinking behind the work. Schedule an in-person conversation to gauge what it’s like to work with the group. Will they be proactive, offering an outside perspective on your brand’s strategic direction, bringing new insights, and improving on what your team could accomplish alone? Will they be fun and easy to work with? 

The healthcare organizations and community-based nonprofits we work with come to us for a few reasons: They may have a team that can do great work, but they’re being asked to do more with less and are overwhelmed. More likely than not, they need help with brand strategy and project concept development and implementation. They may recognize that the brand’s internal direction and external expression aren’t aligned, and they need our outside point of view to help them resolve the disconnect. Often, they may need more sophisticated creative capability and implementation horse power than their small team can manage, or they may need specific technical expertise like website development. 

How to Nurture an Ongoing Agency Relationship

For both parties, the goal is a partnership built on mutual trust and respect — that makes the partnership more enduring and, frankly, a lot more fun. Not that it’s all candy and roses; 

agency relationships can be difficult at times. But there are some things both the client and the marketing consultancy can do to keep the relationship healthy.

On the Client Side 

Responsiveness. This means providing the right information and direction at the start of every project and appropriate feedback along the way in a timely manner. It’s also about transparency — budgets, expectations, timelines.

Respect and trust. The agency has to earn this, of course. And you wouldn’t engage a partner you don’t trust. That said, you should be prepared to hear different ideas and consider alternative strategies. 

Clarity. It’s only possible to determine the effectiveness of a campaign if you’ve taken time up front to define objectives and metrics for success. The agency can’t deliver their best work if they don’t know the targets you’re aiming for. 

Coordination. You or someone on your team should run point for the agency to manage internal contacts, facilitate the approval process, and manage projects to minimize rework or delays. 

On the Agency Side

Counsel. Your marketing partner brings a valuable outside perspective to solving your problems. They should challenge your way of thinking and working, and share articles or relevant information that they’ve come across that might be of interest. 

Responsiveness. Even a simple acknowledgement that they received your communication shows that they’re respecting your time. 

Proactivity. They should be always thinking with and for you, bringing their expertise to the table. They’ve solved similar problems before so they have experience that can be helpful and relevant.

Transparency. Not just about project details, but about budgets and timeframes. Expect them to be open about any questions or delays, to tell you what’s going on, to alert you to a problem and tell you how they’ll fix it.

Creativity. Your marketing partner should enhance and elevate your internal team’s creative capabilities. So don’t overlook their portfolio, case studies, and industry awards when you’re shopping for an agency. 

Once you get comfortable in the partnership, don’t take it for granted. To enable the best work, both parties need to continue to work on communication. 

We’re fortunate to have built a number of long-term relationships with our clients. And we’d love to talk about what you need. Let’s get in touch.

Tenth Crow Creative is a brand marketing agency that creates, aligns, and promotes messaging for health and wellness organizations. Through insightful branding, engaging design and compelling marketing campaigns, we help these essential organizations find their identities and effectively communicate with their stakeholders so they can fulfill their missions.