7 Key Considerations for Pharmaceutical Companies When Choosing a Marketing Agency
Before you can build a successful client-agency relationship, you have to start with a solid foundation. These 7 pieces of advice can help pharma companies choose a marketing agency that’s the right fit.
As a pharmaceutical company, you know the importance of getting your products and services in front of the right audiences. But with so many marketing agencies out there, how do you choose the right fit?
An agency’s accolades and accomplishments only matter when they align with your own company’s goals. That’s why the best place to begin when choosing a marketing agency is with your own team. Start by assessing your goals and zeroing in on what it is you’re looking to accomplish before you begin interviewing pharma marketing agencies.
The digital agency landscape is crowded, however the majority of agencies are considered general interest, which means they support a wide-range of businesses. The number of full-service agencies working specifically with pharmaceutical companies is actually quite small, and among those firms, only a select few stand out by offering comprehensive services, like web design, development, and SEO.
Most marketing managers at pharma companies will select an agency based on a short-list of recommendations taken from colleagues or industry peers. It’s also common for marketers to pick from the agencies listed on their procurement department’s preferred supplier lists. While personal referrals are a good place to begin, it’s important to go a step further to select the right pharma marketing agency.
When examining agency proposals, pharma marketers should consider which proposals display the strongest mix of both strategic and creative thinking. Another factor is cost. How cost-effective is each agency’s proposed solution, and does the agency have the technical skill required to implement its proposals?
As you work your way through the process of selecting the right pharmaceutical marketing agency for your own organization, here is a list of seven things to keep in mind:
- Expertise in the healthcare industry: Look for a pharma marketing agency that has a track record of success working with pharmaceutical companies and understands the unique regulatory environment in which pharma companies operate. It is important to choose a marketing agency that has experience working with pharmaceutical companies and understands the unique restrictions that can limit advertising and marketing opportunities for businesses in the healthcare industry.
- Strong creative capabilities: Digital marketing is an ever-changing field, and pharma marketers in particular need to be able to cultivate an adaptable mindset. Yesterday’s hottest marketing trend might be obsolete next week. The marketing agency you choose should be able to develop compelling and effective pharma marketing campaigns that effectively communicate the value of your products to target audiences based on information that’s relevant today, not last week or last year. Especially if you are hoping to partner with a pharma marketing agency for the long-term, it’s critical that you consider an agency’s ability to incorporate the latest trends into its marketing strategies on an ongoing basis.
- Ability to execute campaigns across various channels: Your marketing agency should have the capability to execute campaigns across a range of channels, including digital, social media, and traditional media. If you’re not sure whether an agency has experience with a particular channel, ask to see their results. Agencies that have designed digital experiences in healthcare and pharmaceuticals should be able to show you examples of the work they’ve done and the pharma startups they’ve helped grow.
- Strong track record: Look for a marketing agency with a proven track record of delivering successful campaigns for other clients in the healthcare industry. The marketing agency should have a strong track record of delivering successful campaigns for other businesses like yours. Agencies will often have previous clients who will act as references. This is something you should feel comfortable asking for. In fact, a list of references is something you should ask for before signing onto a partnership with any digital agency.
- Ability to meet deadlines: Surveys show that between one-quarter and one-third of marketing managers say their agencies struggle to meet deadlines and budgets once their projects are underway. Unforeseen delays can derail timelines and budgets. Another roadblock that can make it difficult for agencies to meet deadlines is lack of attention to detail in the campaign deliverables. When pharma brands have to go back to the agency for multiple revisions, that can add weeks or months to the timeline. Pharma brands can avoid these obstacles by selecting a marketing agency with a proven track record of meeting client expectations and delivering on projects on time, and on budget.
- Good fit for the company’s culture: It’s important for the marketing agency to understand your values and culture, and be a good fit in terms of working style and communication. Pharma startups are unique in a number of ways. In particular, pharmaceutical companies have standards and regulations that businesses in other industries aren’t required to meet. Digital agencies that have experience working with pharma companies should have no problem adhering to these standards and ensuring all digital media meets industry regulations.
- Cost: Don’t forget to consider the marketing agency’s fees and overall cost of their services, weighing them against the potential benefits they can provide to your company. The marketing agency’s fees should be compared against the potential benefits they can provide to your company. Instead of looking exclusively at the startup costs, pay attention to the overall expected return on investment (ROI) based on any campaigns the agency is recommending that you run.
Know How to Pick a Pharma Marketing Agency for Your Business
The key to selecting the right agency is understanding the fundamentals of digital marketing yourself. By considering the factors we’ve outlined above, you can be confident that you’re choosing a marketing agency that will be a valuable partner in helping your pharmaceutical company grow and succeed.