mHealth Marketer Podcast
Sam Stern

Sam is the Founder and Chief Marketing Technologist at Modallic. Modallic specializes in brand development and marketing for Mobile Healthcare Technology (mHealth) firms. As a life-long entrepreneur, Sam directs the mHealth storytelling and mHealth agile marketing process unique to the Modallic approach.

Is shopping for professional marketing help for your digital health business the same as buying a new copier or office furniture?

Many naive businesses have the wrong perspective about the costs involved in hiring a marketing agency. Taking the wrong approach in an effort to find the lowest price, just might be the riskiest thing you can do when hiring a marketing agency. 

Listen and find out why…

About This Show:

Each Wednesday, Sam Stern, founder and Chief Marketing Technologist at Modallic, an mHealth marketing and brand development firm reveals his winning Mobile, Digital and healthcare IT marketing strategies, shares real life Mobile Health marketing success stories, and offers breakthrough marketing tips and tactics so you can lead the field with your Mobile Health and healthcare IT solutions.

Discover how to craft compelling stories to open doors with key health care system decision makers. Understand how an agile marketing mindset and approach positions you to create a profitable, sustainable business.

Gain insights into Mobile Health and healthcare IT marketing strategy, how to tell your unique mHealth and healthcare IT marketing story, creating your mHealth buyer personas, how to integrate an agile marketing process, mobile health and digital health brand development and market positioning, and learn what really works in attracting and landing mobile health and healthcare IT clients.

Show Notes: 

If I own an office furniture business, and you ask me how much it costs for 12 work stations, if you provide the size and product specs, I could tell you. I know the cost of the furniture. I know my labor costs. I know my overhead costs. 

However, when a potential client asks…

“How much does a marketing program for my digital health business cost?”

It’s impossible to answer. And it reveals a lot about you as a prospect.

Here’s why.

If you’re looking for an exact price to write and distribute a press release to a targeted list, most marketing agencies could give you a firm price with asking you a few basic questions.. But they will hesitate to do it.


Because they know you’re simply shopping around for the lowest price. Most agencies won’t invest much time and energy in this kind of request.

Marketing agencies aren’t products. They are teams of specialists looking to deliver ongoing value. Simply putting out a single press release at the lowest bid accomplishes little, so why would the agency bother?

Here’s the thing…

You’re not looking for a low-price vendor. You want a strategic partner who can deliver ongoing value for your business.

So, to know how much it costs to hire a marketing agency, ask and answer these questions first.

1. How much should I invest in marketing my digital health business?

To answer this question, you must know the answer to two other questions.

1. What is the current cost of client acquisition? Or, how much are you willing to spend… and able to spend… from a cash flow and profit standpoint to land a client?

2. What is the Lifetime Value of clients for your business?

Here’s a simple example of this. Suppose it costs you $25,000 to land one health IT enterprise client. It costs $10,000 a year to maintain and keep this client. Your clients on average stick with you for five years. You bill clients $35,000 per year for your services.

In the first year, this client nets you $10,000, and then $25,000 for 4 years. Total lifetime Value is $110,000.

Without knowing these two metrics in your business it’s impossible to know how much to reasonably budget for marketing. Without knowing this you send the message to the agency:

“I don’t really know how my business works or what to do on my marketing. I hope the agency can figure it out.”

2. Have you pointed and fully assessed your marketing problems?

If you ask a marketing agency to “increase brand awareness”, or are looking for an agency to “get your business off the ground”, or “take it to the next level”, or “get more website traffic”, or “generate more leads” you really haven’t diagnosed the specific problem.  You’ve expressed a marketing pain point.

In the same way that a doctor will conduct an exam and run tests to completely diagnose a health problem, a professional marketing agency takes the same approach. 

Expect to pay $1500- $10,000 depending upon the scope of assessment for a diagnosis.

3. Have you prepared a detailed, written strategic marketing plan?

A strategic marketing plan is a collaborative effort. It requires time, research, thinking, creativity, and organization. It provides the blueprint for marketing execution and marketing decisions.

Again the price to produce a strategic plan will vary. It depends upon the scope and areas addressed. A plan focused on search engine optimization strategy options is less expensive than a comprehensive brand, positioning, content marketing, and public relations strategic plan.

Be prepared to invest $3000 to $20,000 for a strategic marketing plan.

4. What parts of the marketing plan do you want to execute? Who will do the execution? What quality level of creative work is needed for your market? How fast do you need the execution?

Perhaps a pre-launch content and social media campaign is the right move for you. You have time to develop the content in-house, but want the marketing agency to manage the strategy and train your staff on content creation and social media promotion.

Or, you have a major conference coming up in a month. You need a website landing page, a free download, and email follow up. You need print collateral for the event. You need press releases and public relations support. 

Or, you need a logo and brand refresh…

Or, you’re getting lots of leads, but aren’t converting them to sales. Your proposal and follow up needs help.

Or, traffic to your website has fallen off…

The point is, executions come in all sizes and shapes. There are thousands of options and variables.

No one size or pricing for marketing execution fits all. Each execution strategy and plan is customized.

Typically, we see ongoing strategy and execution run between $5000-$30,000 per month.

A top-notch marketing agency will have a process to direct you towards the proper strategies and tactics. Don’t expect them to “bid” on what you think you need. Imagine going to a doctor with sore back demanding a “bid” on a back surgery. Isn’t it as equally foolish to expect a marketing professional to offer you a “bid”.

If you’re serious about hiring a marketing agency, be ready to make an appointment to assess your needs. Allow the agency to fully diagnose your problem. Expect the agency to present you with strategy and execution options.

If you have an assessment and strategy plan share it with the agency. If you don’t have an assessment and a strategic plan, that’s where you need to start. Expect to pay $1500-$10,000 for the assessment, and an additional  $3000-$20,000 for the complete diagnosis in the form of a strategic marketing plan.

While these up-front marketing investments may seem expensive, in the long run, they will save you money in spending on marketing executions that don’t work.

Or, even more costly to your bottom line… imagine the missed sales opportunities because you short-changed your marketing strategy thinking.

Will You Help Me Get This Message Out There?

Want to get more tips and strategies for marketing your digital health firm? There are three ways you can enjoy these tips and strategies, share them with friends, and help me grow this movement to end the lack of innovation in healthcare:

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Finally, if you have a question you’d like answered on a future show — or if you have any feedback in general — please let me know:

Thanks again for your support!


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