The 7 Best Health Care Marketing Partners Post-COVID

March 3, 2021 | blog | By Corie Stagner
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In our last blog, we outlined the five things health care companies can do to thrive in 2021. Successful health care providers will make it easier for patients to find them, improve their patient experience, build their brand by embracing the role of health care thought leader, recognize there is no “back to normal” following COVID-19, and they will put their employees first. For even the savviest health care companies, focusing on those five initiatives alone would be a tall order. That’s why finding the right marketing partner to help shoulder the challenge is one of the smartest moves health care providers can make. To help with that search, here are the seven marketing partners we believe can best help health care providers prosper post-COVID:

Marketing partners with diverse experience.

While it may feel like an obvious choice to search for a marketing partner with heavy health care experience, finding marketing experts with a wide breadth of experience could be even more beneficial. Agencies with great thinkers and solid strategies can apply their talents to countless, diverse sectors of business and just because they haven’t worked on certain types of brands doesn’t mean they can’t, or shouldn’t. In our experience, not coming into a client with previous knowledge can be a blessing. In fact, in sectors where we have great experience, we often employ a tactic called “intelligent naivete” where we pretend we don’t know anything and are viewing the sector for the first time. The best agency for you may have decades of health care experience. But don’t rule out those on the lighter side. You just might find the smart, original, creative thinking you’re looking for.

Marketing partners who understand the customer journey.

As you know, there are literally hundreds of touchpoints in the “customer journey” of any patient. From what we’ve seen, the most successful health care companies have marketing partners who understand that journey and how to address every step of it. Some marketing problems are simple. Health care is not. The path from symptom to appointment to diagnosis to treatment to cure can be long and emotional, with myriad opportunities for clear, effective communication. Or not.

When choosing your marketing partner, make sure they understand how to reach your patient at every step of their journey. In health care, anything less simply isn’t enough.

Marketing partners with robust omnichannel expertise, especially digital.

Corollary to choosing a marketing partner that understands the customer journey is choosing one with extensive experience creating and placing work in every media channel. While some brands can significantly narrow the number of communication channels they utilize, those in health care don’t have that luxury. The story being told and the customer journey are just too big. The marketing partner you choose should be a media Swiss Army Knife with digital representing one of the largest blades. As we discussed in last week’s blog, an overwhelming number of people are utilizing digital resources to find, contact, and interact with their doctors, dentists, and hospitals including more than one billion Telehealth visits just last year. Now, more than ever before, the customer journey flows through computers and phones, and that makes having a partner with strong digital capabilities an absolute must.

Marketing partners with multi-unit distributed network experience.

If you’re part of a multi-location health care network, or think you could be in the future, choosing a marketing partner who understands how to work with multi-unit distributed networks like franchise organizations and brands with multiple offices could be extremely advantageous. Working with decentralized leadership and understanding how to answer to multiple voices while satisfying disparate needs and wants is a unique skill set that only those who have worked with multi-unit networks will understand. It’s not simply keeping multiple balls in the air. It’s juggling a ball, two apples, a scalpel and a chainsaw. Having spent more than 20 years in this space, we love it. But it’s not for everyone.

Marketing partners with insight-driven strategies.

Great creative solutions start with insight-driven strategies. Whether you’re in a pitch, or simply reviewing the work of a potential marketing partner, look for the insights driving their creative and campaigns. If you don’t see any, ask them about it. If the agency’s answer is, “there really weren’t any insights,” or anything else that doesn’t add up, consider it a major red flag. Clever creative for creative’s sake might work here and there, but for sustained growth, start with great strategic thinkers who have shown the ability to research your brand, your category, and the current landscape to uncover smart, strategic insights. That kind of deep, intuitive thinking makes for consistently creative work. Anything else is throwing darts.

Marketing partners with senior leaders working on your business.

Pitches are precious to agencies and when you afford them the opportunity to share their capabilities with you and your colleagues, you are sure to meet the best and brightest the agency has to offer. The question is – and it’s a fair, necessary question – how many of those strategic, creative stalwarts presenting will actually be working on your business? The answer is… it depends. For some larger agencies with exclusive “pitch” teams, the answer is none. Once your account is secured, it will be passed along to another team, and, in many cases it’s a less experienced one. For other smaller to medium-sized agencies, you may see those from the pitch on a regular basis. The bottom line, you deserve to know who will be working on your business before you commit to a marketing partner. The president of the agency, head of strategy, and executive creative director may not be intimately involved on a daily basis, but you deserve to know how often they will be. If it’s everyone you met and liked in the pitch, all the better.

Marketing partners with a solid company culture.

More and more, companies are realizing that building and maintaining a great internal culture matters and that, actually, they can create distinction by thinking culture first.

One of the best ways to build and foster your culture is to partner with an agency that values culture the way you do.

There is a lot to be said for working with people you like. People who share your values. People who can help you build the kind of culture that will attract both employees and patients. In his best-selling book Becoming A Category Of One, marketing author Joe Calloway says your brand is “what people think it’s like to do business with you.” Your culture informs every inch of that. Imagine what your brand could be with a partner as invested in building your culture as you are.

CORIE STAGNER is managing director, strategic initiatives at  LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising and marketing, leadership, culture and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.

For more about LOOMIS, or to discuss how we can help your company succeed, CLICK HERE

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Corie Stagner

at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency

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