In our survey of 47 Healthcare Marketers, “Poor Value From the Agency” was one of the top concerns. Paying blended rates for inexperienced agency people who learn on the client’s time and dollar doesn’t seem fair. Marketers also pointed to invoices filled with layers of people who seem to be involved with their business – billing lots of hours – without adding measurable value to their business.

While we can’t do much about your current agency’s structure or billing practices, there are some things you can do to ensure you’re getting maximum value out of every dollar in your budget. Here’s what we recommend…

Four ways to ensure you’re getting maximum ROI from your agency.


Share information early and often.

Think beyond your brand and your objectives. Your agency needs to know what you know. It’s not just information about the science, the marketing plan, and the brand that is helpful. Share information about your company’s history, organization dynamics, and the team members your agency will be interacting with. Additionally, knowing what’s happened from a medical, legal, and regulatory perspective to save time and budget.

Consider giving your agency access to cross-functional areas of your organization so they can meet with medical professionals and other members of your team. If appropriate, send your agency personnel on field visits and let them attend training sessions. The more your agency knows and understands your brand, the more effectively and efficiently they can do their work.


Give clear direction on everything.

Clear communication is essential for any partnership to succeed. Engage in open dialogues with your agency to ensure mutual understanding of your vision and goals. Empower your agency to come back to you with what they heard, what they think, and any other thoughts they have about the subject. The process of refining your brief and confirming alignment with your vision is crucial to successful outcomes. The job of ensuring that there is clarity shouldn’t rest entirely with you so expect and push your agency to ask good questions. This collaborative effort of defining and understanding expectations ensures that your agency’s deliverables are precisely aligned with your objectives.


Treat your agency like a partner, not a vendor.

A collaborative partnership can significantly enhance the value and efficiency of agency deliverables. Encourage an environment where drafts and ideas are shared openly. Many of the marketers we work with find it valuable (and fun) to be more involved in the creative process. Working this way ensures that you and your agency are aligned, and ultimately this should save money by negating the need to repeat work. One red flag to look for, however, is the unwillingness of the agency to work in this iterative way. Unfortunately, there are agencies out there that won’t show you any work unless it’s been through a series of approvals internally and has been run through an editorial check.


Don't be shy about feedback.

Be specific about what you like and don’t like about the work the agency is sharing with you – and tell them the “why” behind your feedback. Be sure to confirm their understanding of your feedback by having them “play back” what you’ve said about the work. We have seen many instances in which feedback is given but not truly understood leading to revisions that require more revisions which only costs more time and money.

If you really want to maximize your budget, talk to the people who are reinventing the healthcare marketing agency model.

When we created The DEFY Collective, we wanted to address two of the biggest pain points of working with healthcare marketing agencies:

  • Blended rates with too many “junior” people blended into the team. At DEFY, you only work with senior-level marketers – people who have been on the agency side and the client side of the table. Of course we invest in new talent…we just don’t expect you to foot the bill.
  • Invoices with line items from people who don’t add value. We approach every project with a fresh perspective. We only bring talent to the table who are actually needed to accomplish the task at hand. This allows us to move faster and more efficiently than just about anyone in the business. You won’t see line items on invoices from people you’ve never met doing jobs you’ve never heard of. We guarantee it.

Want to know more about our approach? Contact DEFY—All of the agency. None of the aggravation. And be sure to sign up for our blog and get insights and ideas about working smarter with your agency partners.

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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