Ask Kate: Help! I need to justify campaign costs

Client-agency relationship advice for healthcare marketers


Dear Kate,

Help! I’m the Marketing Director at a regional hospital and am currently working with a wonderful agency—one that does great work but comes with a hefty price tag. Being in marketing, I understand the time and effort that goes into our campaigns, but I’m having a hard time justifying the costs to my management team. I realize that it is hard to measure certain aspects of a branding campaign, like brand awareness, but my team wants to see a proven return on investment. How can I get my agency to show me data that will satisfy the management team?

-Challenged in Chicago

Dear Challenged in Chicago,

It’s all about the money, honey! Some things are inherently hard to measure, but your agency should identify metrics at the outset of the campaign so that you have quantitative (hard number) metrics, as well as qualitative (meaningful, but anecdotal) evidence of your results.

An adage that I like to consider is this: the cost of a campaign equals the amount of energy it takes for a team to bring an idea to life. If you’re working with the right agency, every element, every detail is thoughtfully considered by a team of highly skilled and passionate experts.

Communication is key in every relationship. Work with your agency to set goals, identify metrics and report results for each campaign. Your agency should be focused on providing you with meaningful data for you to share with the management team. At the end of the day, both your management team and agency are working toward the same goal—a solid return on investment.