It’s time for healthcare marketers to revisit how they go about finding an ad agency partner. No more long, drawn-out RFIs with 100 questions and no more creative spec pitch. You need an agency, so here are four fast and easy steps to find your best agency partner.
1. Visit agency websites
Start by spending time looking at different ad agency websites and see if they meet your requirements for what you are looking to accomplish with a partner. Do the agencies offer the services you want? Do they have the healthcare, biopharma, etc client experience relevant to you? Take the time to review the agency website, and it’ll save you and the agency an enormous amount of time and effort. Compare this to spending weeks having the agencies respond to a long laundry list of questions about services, clients, etc. Plus, you may see right away they’re not a fit and they come off the list of agencies for consideration.
2. Have a preliminary call to screen the agencies
After you’ve had the chance to look at the agency websites and you’ve found a small number you’re interested in talking to, spend some time with them on the phone talking. Provide the agencies with some background about what you’re looking to accomplish with a partner and let them ask some questions. You may find they’re not the best fit during the call and the agency may actually communicate that upfront as well. Most of all, be transparent. Let them know your budget, and my recommendation don’t set up a next steps meeting for sharing capabilities without providing a budget. So many times agencies start conversations with client prospects only to find out weeks into the process that the budgets don’t line up and the fit is not a good one.
3. Have a Zoom to share capabilities
Having had your preliminary call and shared your budget, have the agencies on your short list do a Zoom to share some of the work they’ve executed with other healthcare clients. This isn’t spec work, but sharing previous client case studies that are relevant to what you’re looking to accomplish with a partner. Executing this step will save a tremendous amount of time and effort for both client and agency. The great thing about Zoom is it allows you to meet the team and get that sense of chemistry.
4. Select your agency partner
Now that you’ve met the agencies and had your chemistry check, you should have a good sense of who’s a good fit and who’s not. Did the work they shared seem relevant and insightful? Did their personalities gel with your team, do they have the services you need? Now you can narrow your decision to two or three agencies and have them share a pricing proposal for the work you’d like completed.
As you make your decision, keep in mind that you’re selecting an agency partner, not a vendor. There’s a big difference between those two things. As a partner, you’re in this together – to do the best work and drive the best results for your organization. Grinding agencies down on price to save a few dollars won’t grow your brand, but having a smart partner that can meet the KPIs or achieve the objectives you’ve discussed will. Remember, agencies are more apt to do great work when you ‘partner’ with them.
If you’re looking to find a healthcare marketing agency, follow these four simple steps and you’ll be sure to find your next great agency within a few weeks.