In a recent blog, we detailed the importance of branding among consumers who now have a greater power of choice in the healthcare marketplace. As the market becomes more consumer-driven, it is increasingly important for organizations to anticipate what’s next and to respond to ever-shifting consumer needs. Though the future is uncertain, what is certain is the present need for hospitals to capture patients today.

Choosing the right agency partner—like one with unmatched healthcare expertise—is an important strategic and financial decision on the path to marketing communications success in this new marketplace. Your ability to find a long-lasting agency relationship, with professionals you can rely on to help guide your complex organization through complex situations, will impact your future success.

Your agency should be a power source that provides you unlimited access to resources needed to make your brand shine the brightest. So when you find the right partner, your organization will want to “plug-in” to all that an agency has to offer.

For an agency to be a power source, there are four key things to consider:

  1. Understanding all the stakeholders. Healthcare is different than most industries because of the numerous audiences that must be addressed in your marketing efforts. From consumers to employees to faculty to referring physicians to board members to business and civic leaders to managed care professionals—only an agency with healthcare expertise, including deep-rooted knowledge and understanding in the industry, can truly “talk the talk” and help affect change in perceptions and preference.
  2. Understanding the healthcare consumer. Consumers are a complicated bunch when it comes to healthcare decision making. Unlike “product” choice, choosing a healthcare provider is a difficult decision that can have a profound impact on someone’s life. An agency with healthcare expertise that understands the perceptions, behaviors and motivations of your audience can help you extend your limited marketing dollars further. That’s why resources such as The SPMSM Health & Life Study are crucial to consumer marketing (for more information on this study, see our previous blog post.)
  3. Being in it for the long run. Choosing an agency requires commitment and trust on both sides. That means meaningful, two-way communication, full disclosure of information, straight-forward goals and objectives, and teammates who truly want to win in the marketplace. Short-term relationships typically aren’t successful. Be prepared to make a long-term commitment.
  4. Strategically driven creative solutions. Sounds simple, right?  Not so fast. Don’t be fooled by agencies that create beautiful executions that don’t pack any punch. A strong, strategic foundation should guide every step of the process from creative to media planning and buying to public relations and promotions. Your agency should be able to prove the success of their work through strong return-on-investment.

No doubt about it, the healthcare market landscape is changing fast. Finding ways to stay ahead of the competition with successful marketing communications is a tough road. Choose an agency that electrifies your organization and empowers your brand to stand out—and is packed with healthcare expertise.

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