Agency vs Employee: How to Choose the Right Healthcare Marketing Approach

Your business is ready for a big healthcare marketing push. But that’s when you need to be careful and thoughtfully consider your options. Because for most healthcare organizations, new marketing efforts force a decision: should you invest in new employees and build an internal team or partner with an experienced marketing agency to achieve results?

It might be tempting to look at signing with an agency or building an in-house team as two sides of the same coin. But there are significant differences in each approach, resulting in distinct benefits and drawbacks depending on the direction you choose. 

A thoughtful, data-driven examination of each approach can help you determine the best marketing choice for your healthcare organization. 

The In-House Approach

Establishing an in-house marketing team starts with making internal hires. Often, the first hire is a marketing manager. This individual would be responsible for developing your overall marketing strategy and vision. 

In smaller departments, the marketing manager may wear many hats, working to implement the strategy as well as conceptualize it. In other organizations, additional internal hires could help handle the day to day marketing activities. In either case, in-house marketing teams would be composed of internal employees. They’d be on your payroll in a way that’s no different from your front desk staff or medical assistants.

There could be several advantages to such an approach, though they are not necessarily exclusive benefits. In-house teams can be very responsive to your needs. And it’s very easy to coordinate with other areas of your organization.

But there are drawbacks, too. Internal marketing teams can be challenging to scale in a hurry–it takes time to hire people! Additionally, your organization is responsible for the full cost of salaries and benefits. Because marketing is a competitive field, these costs can be substantial, especially if you want to recruit the best talent.

The Agency Approach

An agency approach, on the other hand, means outsourcing marketing duties to a healthcare marketing firm of your choosing. Your healthcare organization would set the goals and the marketing agency would then develop strategies and methods to help attain those goals. 

The benefits of an agency approach are many, and include the following:

  • Significant expertise: By partnering with an agency, you gain access to all the skills of their staff: copywriters, graphic designers, web developers and more. And doing so means you benefit from deep knowledge and experience in a variety of areas without having to find and hire individuals yourself. This means you can hit the ground running with ambitious marketing plans.
  • The ability to scale up quickly: Sometimes success means your marketing needs grow in a hurry. When you partner with an agency, scaling is usually pretty easy. Most agencies will be able to quickly divert more resources to your account when you need them. This means you won’t waste valuable time or opportunities when your marketing strategy works.
  • Cost savings: When all the costs are calculated, partnering with a marketing agency can save you an average of $52,000 a year. For larger entities, this number can climb higher than $400,000 annually. There are many reasons why these savings accumulate, from contract negotiations to the simple fact that you aren’t directly paying salaries and benefits for a team of marketers. That’s a savings that accompanies a qualitative increase in marketing work performed.
  • Healthcare marketing expertise: One of the benefits of an in-house team is a kind of built-in expertise. But agencies can develop a similar knowledge. Healthcare marketing, after all, is a complex vertical, filled with ethical dilemmas and strategic quagmires. But there are marketing agencies which specialize in healthcare–meaning that partnering with the right agency can help your marketing resonate with patients. 
  • You don’t have to train a single person: It can take months for even highly qualified candidates to get totally up to speed. But when you sign with an agency, you don’t have to do any training–which means your marketing strategy can hit the ground running immediately.
  • Take advantage of cutting edge strategies: For professional marketers who are running an agency, staying on top of marketing trends is a key job function. That’s why an agency will be able to take advantage of innovative approaches and novel marketing methodologies.
  • A fresh perspective: Sometimes, you just need a fresh set of eyes on a problem. Marketing agencies can do that–avoiding the group think that can sometimes become entrenched among internal teams. This fresh perspective could be just what your healthcare organization needs to enjoy breakout success with your marketing initiative.

When you partner with an agency, you also enjoy a significant savings in time. You only have to hire an agency once to cover all of your marketing needs, even if you grow. But hiring your own team means you’re going to have to go through the vetting and hiring process repeatedly. 

As your agency partner handles the day-to-day marketing needs of your organization, you’ll be able to devote more time, thought, and resources to your medical clinic or healthcare company.

How Do You Choose a Healthcare Marketing Approach?

As you move forward with your marketing plan, you should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of both in-house and agency approaches carefully. You may even consider blending both approaches to suit your needs.

Most analyses suggest that for the vast majority of healthcare facilities and organizations, hiring a marketing agency is going to be the fastest, easiest, and most affordable way to achieve your marketing goals and encourage more patients to use your services. 

If you want to discuss the best way for your healthcare organization to move forward, contact PatientX to make sure your next big marketing push lands right on target. 

POSTED ON: August 27, 2021
By PatientX Agency | Marketing

About the Author:

PatientX is a healthcare marketing company that specializes in helping care providers create better patient experiences. While placing an emphasis on the patient experience, PatientX works with members of the healthcare industry to achieve higher standards of patient care and satisfaction, and helping them achieve their goals of growth and success.