We surveyed 47 Healthcare Marketers and “Lack of Agency Transparency” was a major pain point.

Sound familiar? The lack of agency transparency is a common thread that seems to be shared by most healthcare marketers. (See our survey results). Cost and timeline surprises lead to ongoing frustrations on both sides. You’re told to expect one amount on an invoice and a very different amount shows up. You’re promised a delivery date and the date comes and goes without an adequate explanation. You’re not alone. Agency transparency (or the lack thereof) is a huge problem.

So how can you help your agency improve transparency? We’re glad you asked! Here are the top three challenges from our survey and what you can do to reduce surprises.


Cost transparency

Always start with a well-defined project scope and estimate. This should include sufficient detail to tell you exactly what you are (and aren’t) getting. Make sure to anticipate everything upfront to allow for better cost management down the line. Details should include:

  • The type and size of the project (pages, posts, etc.).
  • Number of creative concepts being created.
  • Number of client reviews and revisions.
  • Number of rounds of MLR review and revisions.
  • Packaging and delivery (how is this going to be used and where it will go).
  • Level of effort desired – this is something that most agencies don’t document and take into account and this can lead to over-budget delivery. At DEFY we like to be very clear about the relative importance of the project — and the size of the effort — you expect.


Clear project definition

As a project progresses, maintaining alignment with the approved scope is crucial. Monitor that your expectations and feedback match what was originally agreed upon. You can certainly change your mind about scope, but any changes should be reflected in a revised scope.

Beyond individual project scopes, request regular budget reviews. These should be a conversation about what you are spending and the “whys” behind it. Everything should be supported by a detailed report. Make sure your agency is looking at your budget as a whole. There should be a clear understanding on both sides regarding budget management.


Timeline transparency

Your agency should provide comprehensive updates about individual projects, as well as “the big picture,” including integrated efforts and dependencies. Most importantly, if timelines come into risk or begin to slip, you should be alerted sooner rather than later.

Watch for your agency simply updating the timeline without telling you. That’s a red flag!

Key ways to maintaining an appropriate level of transparency into process and timing include:

  • Ask your agency to walk you through their process and have them provide it in writing. If you need to request changes to their process to better meet the needs of your business, work directly with the agency.
  • At the start of each project, ask to review the detailed timeline. See if there are areas in the timeline that can be modified to fit the needs of the specific project or to accelerate delivery time. There are often layers of agency processes that you can ask to remove to expedite the work and reduce costs.
  • Conduct regular, prioritized status meetings. Let the agency know which information is most important to you for tracking purposes.
    If you are senior enough to have delegated agency management to a more junior marketer, we encourage you to review the details
    with your marketer on a regular basis, and occasionally, attend the status meetings yourself to keep your finger on the pulse.


Performance transparency

Your agency should be able to track the performance of every tactic they implement for you, especially in the digital world we live in. When it comes to online performance, make sure your agency looks beyond misleading metrics such as impressions and clicks. They should be able to dig deeper for true indicators of engagement. If your organization is the one tracking performance, involve the agency as much as possible. The agency should be active participants, suggesting ways of monitoring performance and presenting ideas for improvements.

You Deserve Transparency From Your Agency.

If you’re not getting it, you deserve a better agency. At The DEFY Collective our people have been on the agency side and the client side of the table. We know how important transparency is to a successful partnership and we promise total transparency from day one.

We’re reinventing the healthcare marketing agency model for the better. Give us a call and see for yourself.

Contact DEFY - All of the Agency. None of the Aggravation.

Need Support Now?

Call the DEFY helpline and connect with agency leadership for free advice on just about anything related to your agency relationship. We will help you get the most out of your agency, guaranteed!

Look out for more of our blogs full of experience and advice!
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