Evaluating a Healthcare Marketing Agency in 4 Questions

Choosing the right marketing agency can be a difficult decision for any healthcare company. Given numerous challenges (seasonality, innovations) and sea changes (healthcare reform, changing patterns of patient behavior), working with someone that understands your industry as much as you do is imperative.

  1. Do you intimately understand my organization’s challenges?

The agency you want is one well-versed in the challenges of both fostering internal cooperation within healthcare organizations and also handling the external issues they face on a daily basis. This can encompass phenomena such as Health Care Reform, HIPAA, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and the “retail-ization” of healthcare. Read the recent article from Fathom’s Bill Balderaz in Ragan’s to learn more about what’s ahead in 2015.

  1. Do you have the depth of knowledge and experience to apply cross-system insights?

For example, in Fathom’s case, over 10% of the U.S. population get healthcare products and services collectively through our clients. They represent more than 45 million patients, 800 hospitals/care sites, and 24,000 physicians nationwide. In any agency, PPC specialists should know what negative keywords to add to nearly all PPC campaigns. The social team should understand what type of content generates the most engagement. The email team should know which newsletters have the highest open rates. A smart agency can and should share all of this information across non-competing healthcare organizations.

  1. Can you back up your organizational mission and promise?

References, case studies and testimonials prove what empty promises can’t: That an agency will deliver. You should choose whichever agency best fits your culture and needs (it might not be Fathom!), but just consider as a reference point: Fathom currently works with 68 healthcare clients. Their average tenure is 42 months. And the average return on their marketing investments is 1,154%. Major and regional health systems, health insurance companies, healthcare IT, senior and assisted living companies, and pharmaceutical companies all look to Fathom for answers to vexing questions of how to grow in a digital age. Your agency should be serving the same role for you.

  1. Are the people who work for me established leaders in the marketing community?

Look for the people at your agency to display outward signs of credibility. For example, contributions to leading digital marketing blogs such as Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal, as well as healthcare-specific publications like Becker’s, Ragan’s, and Medcity News. Consider also their professional popularity on social media, speaking credentials, interviews, and whether/how often they’ve been cited or quoted as authorities. This external validation should reinforce the knowledge and charisma they convey personally in your own dealings with them.

These 4 questions will get you started in determining the best agency for your organization. Good luck with your selection process, and may you choose wisely!


To get more ideas about what to look for in an agency and how to envision the future of marketing in healthcare, download Fathom’s Patient Engagement magazine.

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