Some qualities of a healthcare advertising agency are crucial: strategic depth, conceptual creativity, experienced medical copywriting, excellent design, great chemistry. But other qualities that many agencies have–and try to persuade their clients are important–are meaningless and, actually, may lower the value of the work they deliver. In choosing an associate to aid with pharmaceutical advertising, medical device advertising, hospital advertising, or some other forms of Medical Practice Marketing, four qualities are particularly unimportant.
A “cool” office
Many ad agency principals love having a “cool” office. They look at it as proof of their agency’s creativity. A few clients may even look at it this way too.
By all means, an advert agency should provide a comfortable and stimulating atmosphere for his or her staff. But a majority of clients know who’s investing in the agency’s ping-pong tables, stocked refrigerator, and other amenities: the customers are. The cool office is protected inside the agency fees.
Don’t get hung up on the “edifice complex”–many outstanding agencies have very modest offices. Some excellent “virtual” agencies have no office in any way. Their overhead is low, their people don’t have to commute to work (and this alone generally makes them happier-and potentially more productive-compared to the average worker), along with their clients acquire more for his or her money: more value, cheaper overhead.
A large staff
An agency’s biggest expense is its people. But too many agencies have way a lot of people. It is important to retain the critical mass required to meet clients’ needs. But layers and layers of staff-account supervisors, account executives, account coordinators-not just add to the costs; they could enhance the confusion.
If they’re lucky, a client will continue to work closely and consistently with one agency team fulfilling the core functions: account service, copywriting, art direction, and traffic management (overseeing the scheduling and flow of your own jobs from the agency). One other functions–consumer research, media planning, digital programming, print production, etc–tend to be shared across teams inside an agency. So even when your agency has 500 personnel, you’ll likely work most frequently with not more than a half dozen. The key is to keep up continuity inside your team. A lot of agencies use a “revolving door,” with personnel frequently coming and going. As a client, that creates your advertising higher priced-your agency constantly has to bring new associates as much as speed.
A “traditional” structure
Mad Menis swell, but it’s a period piece. The existing-fashioned agency structure–account service in just one department distinct from (and often at odds with) the creatives in another department–is archaic.
In today’s environment, an excellent copywriter is another good strategist and is also regulatory-savvy. Likewise an excellent art director. As well as the account executive is more than a “messenger” ferrying client requests towards the agency and agency requests for the client-the AE is strategic-minded, tactical-minded, and working in concert with all the creatives as well as with media, research, as well as other agency functions to create the very best communication solutions possible.
The lowest rates
Choosing an agency for the reason that their rates would be the lowest can be a costly mistake. Instead, request references. Then ask the references concerning the agency’s cost structure and the value they deliver–satisfied clients will probably say, “They’re not cheap, but they’re worth it!”
Pinching pennies compromises the standard of your agency’s work. Advertising agencies aren’t cheap–good, experienced talent has to be compensated accordingly. But take into account the consequences of the decision–compromising on the ahvowl in the branding and marketing of your healthcare product or service compromises its chances for success.
In hunting for a healthcare advertising agency partner, position the greatest focus on those qualities you will need most: strategic depth, creative talent, and good chemistry. De-emphasize the four least important qualities: an excellent office, a big staff, a “classic” structure, and the lowest rates. Choosing an agency is a major decision. Make sure that, for all of the right reasons, you choose the best healthcare advertising agency.