Consumer brands are great at developing personal relationships with their customers. And as we’ve written recently, healthcare systems and community-based organizations can follow that model of engaging, building trust, and establishing long-term connections with the patients they serve.
Let’s flip that conversation around to focus not on you and your constituents, but on you and your agency partners. If we’re encouraging healthcare clients to build great relationships with the folks in their community, shouldn’t we likewise build great relationships with our clients? (You know: practice what we preach.)
Absolutely. And yet it’s common for us to talk with marketing folks who have worked with agencies previously and didn’t feel heard or respected or valued or adequately included in the process. Every agency talks about their customer service and how great it is, but what does that really mean? What does great service look like, and why does it matter to you and your team?
Here’s what you should expect from a marketing partner in handling your projects — whether you work with us or another firm.
Most of the organizations we work with have small marketing departments, a handful of people at most. They wear many hats and are inundated with tasks from all sides. So, yes, you certainly need help getting the work done.
More important, though, you need help getting the work done right — strategically planned, smartly executed, focused on results, on time and on budget. That means you’re better served by an agency that does more than the work itself but adds value as a manager, partner, advisor, counselor — one that functions as a trusted extension of your marketing department.
You know your organization and your audience better than anyone, and you have great ideas on how to solve a communications problem, craft a message, or promote a new service. Your agency should amplify your own knowledge with their expertise.
We’ve worked with a range of clients in the healthcare and community-based organizations fields, from large medical centers to small grassroots activist organizations, and we’ve helped solve countless marketing and business problems. And every one of those engagements builds the knowledge base that we bring into each new client partnership. Our superpower is marrying what you know with what we know and creating solutions that exceed expectations.
The true value of an outside partner is the independent, unbiased view of your needs and a fresh approach to the problem at hand. And sometimes, the problem isn’t what you think it is. Working together, for example, we might discover that what’s needed isn’t a new website, but clearer positioning. It’s difficult to read the label when you’re standing inside the bottle; an outside perspective is invaluable.
Listening also means getting to know your organization — its structure, values, and people. We collaborate with our marketing partners to gather stakeholder input, navigate approvals, and build internal support for the work we’re doing together, so your team can shine.
Speaking of expectations, the destination has to be clearly established or you’ll never figure out how to get there. As advisors, one of our essential early tasks is to unify the team around a set of expectations: project goals, deliverables, timelines, and metrics. Skipping this step results in chaos, where there’s misalignment on creative direction and nobody can agree on what success looks like. That final checkpoint, metrics, is critical too because it generates feedback that helps us continually improve our work together.
Establishing a clear project roadmap also allows us to manage additional projects or requests that might come up. What happens when we discover that a website relaunch requires a social media campaign to roll it out? We’ll have an open conversation about the work, so you can manage resources and priorities. It’s common that project scope changes, but you should never be surprised by it.
A real partnership is mutually supportive. That’s why we work hard to anticipate and be proactive – not only in the immediate project but also knowing that you have initiatives coming up. We’re constantly thinking about our clients’ businesses and the healthcare and community-based organizations fields in general, helping you keep abreast of marketing trends, sending resources, identifying more resource-effective tactics, analyzing results of our work together and using that data to improve.
Serving patients, keeping people healthy, and empowering communities is important work — and the people engaged in healthcare and community-based organizations generally have a deep personal commitment to what they do. Like you and the clinicians and support staff you work with, we’re inspired to make meaningful change to the health of individuals, their communities and the world. Why does that matter? Not only do we have deep expertise in this category, but we’re passionate about helping our clients create positive outcomes and fulfill their missions. It’s our why.
If you’ve had a not-so-great agency relationship in the past, or if you’re looking for a partner who can walk alongside your team, let’s start a conversation. We’ll be here for you for the long haul.
Tenth Crow Creative is a communications agency that creates, aligns, and promotes the external and internal messaging for organizations that support living healthier lives.
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