4 key questions to ask when hiring a recommended marketing vendor
I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of water cooler discussions in which a colleague mentions a vendor who worked wonders for their brand. Perhaps the vendor was extremely easy to work with, required minimal direction and generated perceived results. When you get a positive recommendation from a colleague, there may be a lot to perk your interest—especially considering how time-consuming it can be to find a new AOR. But don't make that phone call just yet.
Just because a vendor worked for a colleague’s brand doesn’t
mean it will be a good fit for yours. Each pharma brand has a unique market situation and faces specific market challenges that may not hold true for other brands. Just as there’s no “one size fits all” MCM strategy, it’s risky to assume that your colleague’s vendor is the right fit for your brand—even if you’re in the same franchise and disease state.
Consider these important factors to determine whether or not a vendor is the right choice for your pharma brand.Lifecycle Stage and Market Situation
Before you sign on with that vendor you’ve heard so much about, think about how your colleague’s brand compares with yours. Are you in the same life cycle? Do you have similar market situations? If your answer is “no,” then it’s highly likely you will require different tactics to make the most impact.
A vendor tactic used at a particular stage may show lift for one brand, but it’s unlikely that the exact same tactics will work for your pharma brand. Even if you’re both in the same stage, a vendor will likely incorporate a new channel mix and cadence specific to your brand—which may not generate the same ROI as your colleague’s brand received.Match Rates
Match rates are crucial to the success of your MCM efforts. When choosing a vendor, one of the first things to look into is whether or not match rates of your brand’s targets and the reach of the vendor are in the same ballpark. If you spot major discrepancies, you’re better off looking elsewhere for a vendor.
Budget has a major impact on the ROI of a MCM campaign, because it determines both the duration and the types of tactics that can be utilized. Does your colleague’s brand budget match yours? Many tactics lend themselves to “quick-hit” types of success, which may or may not be right for your brand. Regardless, your budget will ultimately dictate whether or not a vendor is the right fit.
With the rise of MCM and increase in pharma marketing vendors, a streamlined onboarding process becomes more important than ever. Even if a vendor has performed well for other brands, it’s crucial to properly evaluate its capabilities. Does the vendor have expertise in your product? And equally importantly, does it have proven capabilities in the tactics you’re seeking? As more pharma brands mull consolidating vendors, it’s important to understand an agency’s core area of expertise.
Evidence of Success
If all signs point to “yes” in hiring a colleague's vendor, the last thing you should check is whether or not you have evidence of his or her success. Were KPIs defined and controls set? Were results linked to sales lift? These are important questions to ask, as they can provide insight into how successful a vendor might be with your brand. As data-savvy brands know, perceived results do not always equate to ROI or sales lift.
At Measurement Mojo, we often see vendor and tactic ROI vary widely across different companies, therapeutic classes and brands. We never dismiss a vendor after seeing a low ROI on their tactics one time, because that same vendor can go on to produce a huge ROI for another brand.
When choosing your pharma marketing vendor, ask the right questions about market situation, budget and capabilities to ensure your MCM campaign is in capable hands.