Before you begin
Before embarking on a search for a new marketing agency it is important to answer some internal questions first:
What budget can we realistically allocate for external marketing support?
A ballpark budget will assist the marketing agency to put together their proposals and give you an idea what each agency can offer within your budget. This will help you to evaluate what you are likely to achieve with from your investment.
What marketing skills and resources do we have internally?
Knowledge of the gaps and the available resource within the business will give you a clear idea of what marketing support you need from the marketing agency.
What do we want to achieve?
A clear brief will ensure that both parties know what the marketing agency is expected to deliver and be measured against.
Is this a short-term or long-term need?
Do you require ongoing support (effectively an outsourced marketing department) or assistance with a specific project?
Finding a marketing agency
During the research stage it will help to ask the following questions:
Does the marketing agency have relevant industry sector experience?
Previous experience of working with clients in your industry sector will mean that the marketing agency understands your market place and can make appropriate marketing recommendations.
Are there any possible conflicts with your business/industry?
On the flip side you might not want to share the same marketing agency as that of one of your competitors.
Does the marketing agency offer the services you need?
There are many types of marketing agency, each offering a different service. Ensure that the agency can deliver everything you need or can partner with other agencies/consultants to meet your needs.
What do existing clients say about the marketing agency?
Glowing testimonials from past and present clients are the best form of endorsement and reassurance. Ask to speak to past customers so that you can seek their feedback for yourself, three will give you a good indication.
Does the marketing agency have any case studies?
Case studies demonstrate the work of the marketing agency and provide evidence of past success.
Selecting a marketing agency
When you have conducted your research and arranged to meet with the short list you might want to ask the following:
How will the marketing agency manage your account?
Establish how often the agency will meet with you and how contact/progress updates will be maintained. Understand how projects will be managed and initiated.
Who will be your day-to-day contact?
With larger marketing agencies you might not meet the person who will be working on your account at the initial meeting. It is important to meet the person who will be working with you.
How will the marketing agency charge you?
There are various options depending on the nature of the work and the arrangement that suits you both best – e.g. fixed fee, ad hoc fee (hourly rate) or a monthly commission fee.
How does the marketing agency measure effectiveness?
You need to know that there will be a definite return on investment and that this will be measured and monitored.
Making the decision
When making your decision on which marketing agency to appoint consider the following:
Did the agency listen to what you say?
Did they demonstrate relevant expertise and past success?
Does their portfolio impress you?
Did you like them and would you like to work with them?
Selecting a marketing agency is a crucial decision for your business. Your choice should be made easier if you have the answers to the questions above.
Here at Straight Marketing we can assist with all aspects of marketing planning/strategy and marketing communications. We can provide outsourced marketing support on a long-term, retained basis or with specific projects. You can read what our happy customers have to say about working with us, review our case studies and if you like what you see, get in touch.