I wasn’t always a healthcare technology marketing consultant.

I didn’t start my career as a consultant. In fact, my career didn’t begin in marketing, at all. I came to marketing through a Master’s in Epidemiology and International Health, followed by a segue into sports apparel manufacturing. Selling fitness shorts is actually how I got into marketing. So, unlike many of my profession, I learned everything from the digital perspective first, and I learned by applying it firsthand and seeing if my sales went up or down.

By the time I took the position as Marketing Director for a healthcare scheduling company, I had a very wide-ranging wheelhouse and, I admit, cast a critical eye over the consultants they had already hired.

And I still think I was right to do so. Here’s why.

A marketing consultant who gives you branding without strategy is a waste of money.

Branding is essential – you aren’t going to make an impact without it. But, if your consultant goes on and on about how amazing your logo and image are without giving you anything in terms of concrete actions to take, you are in trouble.

I still remembering reading a description of the brand’s meaning that went on for PAGES and sounded a lot like hot air being blown somewhere.

Moral of the story: never get so caught up in your branding that you forget about your strategy.

Beware of marketing consultants who give you what you want.

Another example: the company wanted a brand new website. They had all kinds of ideas for how it should look and exactly what should be where – all of which the consultant gave them.

Except, oh yeah, the design was completely inflexible. So, a few months later when they wanted a page that didn’t have so many distracting links and images on it, they couldn’t get rid of them.

The cost was $20,000 and I had to re-do the entire site in less than two years.

Moral of the story: a good consultant will help you figure out what you need, as well as listen to what you want.

A consultant without a backup plan should make you nervous.

At the time, this company really wanted to get published in a radiology trade journal. We brought in a marketing agency that specialized in healthcare, specifically due to their connections to the trade media.

We gave them a bunch of background information, they crafted a pitch, it got rejected – and they told us.

That’s all they did. They told us.

They didn’t make another pitch, they didn’t suggest we consider an alternate topic; they just presented it as a done deal.

In contrast, when I later crafted a pitch, submitted it to that same trade journal and also got rejected, I countered with a different pitch.

The trade journal published it.

Moral of the story: marketing does not come with guarantees; you need a backup plan.

Run if you get blamed for not fitting into their process.

After the healthcare tech company, I worked for a marketing agency. They presented themselves as the most modern of inbound marketing experts but a lot of what they did was cold email outreach.

This would have been fine – in fact, I tried to get them to see it as a differentiator they could use – except that they talked about inbound.

This created some confusion for clients who expected leads to be funneled to their sales team, which is how inbound is supposed to work. When they didn’t get that result, it was suggested they cold call everyone who had opened their emails.

I am sure plenty of salespeople have success with that strategy, but it is a very different thing than inbound. And if you thought you were getting inbound, that response sounds a lot like being told you aren’t doing it right.

Moral of the story: marketing consultants should adapt to your needs, not make you adapt to their process.

While we’re on the topic …

If you’re considering hiring a marketing consultant, here’s why you should work with me:

  • I specialize in the healthcare technology sector.
  • That means my learning curve is shorter and I can understand the needs of your company faster.

  • I have been both the in-house marketing director of a healthcare technology company, and director at a marketing agency.
  • That means I know what you need, I know how agencies operate and I can give you the attention you deserve.

  • I focus on the essentials of your marketing strategy.
  • Every business needs to define its target market and audience segments, develop content, create a solid funnel and design a reporting system. With that in place, you will be able to adapt to any new app or social media that comes down the pike.

The right consultant can position your company for years of growth. They can strengthen your existing team, provide valuable expertise and help create marketing strategies that lead you to long-term success.

If they aren’t doing that, let them go.

Even me.