Ask Mia: The thrill is gone

Client-Agency Relationship Advice for Healthcare Marketers

Dear Mia – Our hospital has been in an exclusive relationship with a local advertising firm for over three years and quite frankly the magic is gone. Sure, they wooed us with flashy ideas and slick production at first, but now they’re just phoning it in. And worse, they expect me to tell them what to do. Sometimes I feel like they’re just taking orders, rather than contributing fresh ideas and original solutions to my marketing needs. I want a real marketing partner, not a lackey. How can I get them to take the lead? Is it unrealistic to think they can change? Signed, Tired of Hand Holding


Dear Tired – You’ve discovered one of marketing’s essential truths: there’s a big difference between flash and substance. Healthcare marketing’s thought leaders are always looking for new and better solutions. They follow current industry trends and thrive in a culture of innovation and forward thinking. They research new media and technology options and dedicate a percentage of available funds to experimentation and testing. Unfortunately, if your partner doesn’t exhibit these behaviors, and if their best ideas came three years ago, it’s unlikely they will take the lead now. Challenge them to solve some specific marketing objectives and bring you new ideas for your next cycle. If they can’t step up and deliver, it may be time to reassess your relationship. – Mia

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