Healthcare vendors are often puzzled about when to bring on a consultant to help with their marketing. They may think that a consultant is only necessary if they don’t have an in-house team. So here are five times to hire a healthcare marketing consultant – and one important time not to.
1) Your marketing team lacks experience.
Young marketing teams are often full of creativity and passion but may not know what they don’t know. That’s a dangerous situation for your company and it’s something you want to remedy as soon as possible. In my experience, young teams are very good at individual campaigns but have not had the practice to see how they should all work together. This can keep prospects from building trust steadily with your company, and even cause them to drop out of your funnel.
A better option is to bring on an experienced healthcare marketing consultant who can work with your team to build an overarching strategy. I have even been asked to train a young team on certain aspects of marketing research, which was not in their wheelhouse.
2) Your VP is overly involved in daily marketing tasks.
If your VP is doing more than managing your marketing team, you would benefit from outside support. When I am approached by clients in this situation, they are usually already losing out in two ways. First, they don’t have someone who can pay attention to their marketing full-time. Second, and even more vital, their VP is continuously being pulled away from their strategic duties. That means the entire direction of the company suffers.
In these cases, I work as a marketing director for my clients. I create plans and campaigns, set up the calendar and cadences, and develop any content that is required. This frees up an enormous amount of time for my client – and gives them back their ability to focus on long-term growth.
3) Your marketing team is stretched too thin.
Even the most stellar of marketing teams can only get so much done in a day. Typically, what falls off the list is writing, especially anything longer than an email. If you need regular blog posts or a new white paper, that can be a great time to bring in a consultant. The consultant doesn’t get pulled into team meetings and last-minute urgent priorities. They are there to focus on the specific tasks you have laid out for them, and that takes a lot of pressure off your team.
One of the main ways I support a client’s marketing team is by taking on the writing and download campaigns. I work with them to determine the best content for their audience and then create the content. I also set up their download automations and help them develop campaigns to get their new content out to their audience. These are the kinds of time-consuming tasks that can weigh a marketing team down.
4) You are faced with new competition.
When a new competitor comes on the scene, it is easy to get nervous. Clients often reach out to me at this stage to help ensure they are strong enough to hold onto their market share. After years of building a community and developing a process, no one wants to lose it to a new player. This is when competitive intelligence becomes important. You need to know where your new competition is aiming and how much of an impact it will be on your bottom line.
In many cases, improving your understanding of your customer can make a huge difference. Your customer already knows you so working to strengthen your bond may be all you need to keep them on your team.
5) Your messaging is off-target.
New clients often come to me because their campaigns simply aren’t working the way they’d hoped. More often than not, the problem comes down to their messaging, yet they can’t see it. Typically, they will be using jargon and phrasing that is commonplace to them but nothing like how their customers think. The result is predictable – the vendor thinks their campaigns make great sense and the customers don’t bite.
By coming in as an outside consultant with a fresh perspective, it is easy for me to see where they are missing the mark. Then I can help them find an approach that will resonate better with their target audience – and land them more clients.
And when not to?
Yet there is one very good time not to hire a healthcare marketing consultant. And that’s when you are bootstrapping your start-up and haven’t a penny to spare. In that situation, your primary goal is sales. All you need is clear messaging on a simple website and a way for prospects to reach you. Once you land your first couple of clients, then you can bring in a consultant to support your growth.
Do what is best for your company.
There are a variety of times when your business can benefit from outside help. If your team is lacking experience, overtaxed, or faced with new competition, you can do well to bring in some outside support.
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash.