Switching Ad Agency

Insights on switching your healthcare marketing agency

If you are reevaluating your marketing or advertising agency, you aren’t alone.

The process of hiring and firing of agencies is an ongoing aspect of a brand marketer’s world. Nearly half of all companies with 500+ employees use 2 to 3 agencies to support their marketing and advertising efforts, according to research by Statista. In April 2021, one third of brands surveyed were considering a change of agency, according to Setup’s annual Marketing Relationship Survey™.
So why all the switching?

How to Switch Healthcare Marketing Agency

More budget for digital marketing in healthcare

Some companies simply have more budget. The recently published MM+M Healthcare Marketers Trend Report 2022 suggests 23.5% of marketers surveyed increased their use of consultancies due to an increase in available budget/resources for outside partners.

Setup’s 2021 study suggests this opening of budgets leans heavily into the digital space. They reported that brand marketers were increasing spending by 50% in 5 areas, from 2020 to 2021. Those trending areas included “content marketing, video, digital media, website/UX, and social media/influencer marketing.”

The 2022 MM+M study confirms this as an ongoing shift. They state “40% of respondents are funneling more money into nonpersonal promotion, splitting funds more or less equally on different ways to help sales reps and boosting non-rep-delivered digital tactics.”

“The increase in digital tactics isn’t exactly surprising, especially coming out of a global pandemic, states Clay Daniells, CEO of QooQoo. “What is surprising, however, is the number of new clients coming to us specifically for micro-targeted digital campaigns.”

Beyond available budget and digital capabilities, there are other considerations marketers have when they are selecting a new agency.

How to Choose a Healthcare Advertising Agency

The 3C’s criteria: what companies want from healthcare advertising agencies

In addition to an increasing need for digital capabilities, it seems there are some other top considerations for agency switch. Today marketers are looking for the 3Cs: Creativity, Chemistry, and Cost.

Creativity

According to a 2020 Agency Trends Survey conducted by survey by Ascend2 and Research Partners, marketers most value creativity as a key differentiator when searching for a new agency partner. Their research indicated 55% of survey respondents ranked creativity as a most desired agency attribute.

of survey respondents ranked creativity as a most desired agency attribute.

“QooQoo considers creative as more of a force, than a specific talent in art or copy,” says Bob Comoglio, Creative Director, QooQoo. “We are creative in our insights, our strategy, our people, our processes, even our toolsets. Sometimes, creativity simply means a breath of fresh air.”

Brands continue to look to outside agency partners to spur creative disruption within their teams and their market. Along that line, 41.2% of marketers increased their use of consultancies due to a “desire to shake up existing thinking/teams” per the recent MM+M report.

Chemistry

“Chemistry is #1 for both brands and agencies,” states the Setup findings.

“Chemistry is the indescribable but very real connection you get when brand and agency teams just click,” say Daniells. “QooQoo is constantly moving toward higher levels of transparency and collaboration; seeking innovative ways for our teams and our clients to set each other up for success.”
According to a 2021 Forbes article, Jonathan Schwartz, member of the Forbes Agency Council, suggests that mutual respect, trust, and transparency are at the foundation of successful client-agency relationship. He suggests that “if you’re currently in a client-agency relationship that lacks transparency, take a step back and ask yourself why.”

While chemistry and creative are on the rise, it’s interesting to note what considerations no longer mean as much to marketers. Research shows seniority of team, client experience, agency awards/recognition, and specialized capabilities declined in importance from 2018 to 2020. In a post-COVID world, it’s easy to speculate that location is no longer a deal breaker either.
“Chemistry is the indescribable but very real connection you get when brand and agency teams just click.”

Clay Daniells, CEO of QooQoo

Cost

The proverbial bottom line is, of course, an integral part of every healthcare marketing RFP these days. Your agency should be able to tie their performance to your revenue. According to a 2020 Agency Trends Survey, 45% of marketers reported “Attributing revenue to marketing” as a top barrier to the success of a client-agency relationship.

QooQoo also encourages marketers to consider brand team productivity as a less obvious, but important cost consideration. “At QooQoo, we believe a healthy agency partnership should streamline our client team’s work flow, lessen their burden, and improve overall productivity,” says Daniells. “If your current agency isn’t doing that for your side of the fence, it may be time to consider a switch.”

The cost of switching agencies: Is it worth it?

As Setup’s study summary so poignantly stated, “Nobody has time to invest in a relationship that isn’t moving in the right direction or taking care of necessary business.” If there’s no value to your agency, you cut them loose, right? Well, here’s where the “but is it worth it?” question kicks in.

An article titled When Marketing Fails: The Real Costs of Switching Agencies, which interviewed over 100 marketing professionals, suggests that there are four top costs of switching agencies

Four top costs of switching agencies:

Costs to switch advertising agencies

Within the money cost category, they identify 3 financial pain points:

Marketing Agency Switch Budget
Onboarding is particularly interesting consideration as this also captures the potential lag in results you may experience during an agency transition period. Among their respondents, 60% of marketers said they expected it would take 1 to 3 months for their new agency to produce results. A third (33.3%) of survey respondents said it takes 4 to 6 months to achieve results.

The moment of truth: When you’re ready

Only you and your team can decide whether an agency switch makes sense for your business. There is some consolation in knowing that switching to a healthcare marketing agency that meets the 3C criteria (Creativity, Chemistry, and Cost) while minimizing disruption to results might indeed be worth every penny.

As far as when to switch, it’s prudent to look for windows of opportunity that minimize disruption to budget or workflow. Keep your eye out for the time of year your team starts whispering about annual brand planning and fiscal year budgeting.

QooQoo is an independent, full-service agency dedicated to healthcare marketing.

We invite you to evaluate where you are now, where you want to be, and who you need with you along the way. Contact your QooQoo healthcare marketing agency here.