What to look for in a marketing agency
Posted By Joanna Drake
Choosing the right marketing agency for you can be fraught with difficulties. After all, every agency you’ll meet will be on best behaviour as it seeks to win your business. So, what are the key things to look out for and the important questions to ask as you go through the appointment process? Whether you’re looking for PR, social media consultancy, design and development or more, this guide will help you navigate the waters and find the right agency partner for your business.
First impressions count. Whether you find the agency by word of mouth, their website or another channel, pay attention to what your gut tells you. Look at the language it uses on its website. How does it describe its work for clients? How does it describe itself? This is your first taster of what you can expect from your marketing agency, so make sure it’s in-line with your own outlook.
It may seem obvious, but choosing an agency that already has experience in your sector has a number of advantages. They’ll be familiar with the issues impacting your business, know the media and understand the landscape.
However, we also wouldn’t recommend that you discount agencies who haven’t worked directly in your sector before. If the agency can demonstrate good results in the area of marketing you’re seeking support for, it’s worth meeting with, as experience in delivering relevant projects is just as valuable as experience of working in your market.
How does it measure return?
Ask questions about return on investment and don’t be afraid to push the point. A good agency will be able to talk you through best practice and will be able to deliver a reporting structure that works for you. Be prepared for the agency to challenge you on what constitutes a return for you as, without a clear understanding of this, the agency can’t deliver an effective campaign. For most businesses, a bottom line impact is the crux of the matter – but there are lots of other indicators affecting brand perception and customer experience that should not be discounted.
Is there a spark?
Whichever agency you choose, you’ll be working closely together to deliver your marketing, so there needs to be a personality fit. Ask to meet the people who will be working on your account, not just the new business team, and make sure you have a good rapport with those people.
How do they approach your business brief?
In order to properly advise you on what you need, the agency will need to take a thorough brief from you. An agency that takes time to ask questions and even have a pre-pitch meeting with you is one that’s committed to doing a great job. When it comes to the actual pitch, look for an agency that approaches its plans in a clear, methodical way – and make sure you understand how it plans to achieve the things it mentions. The devil is in the detail, so don’t be afraid to push the agency on its methods.
Are you committed?
This is a really important question which is often overlooked. A successful partnership with a marketing agency requires two-way communication and a time commitment from your side. If your team isn’t geared up to enable this, you’re setting the agency up to fail. No matter how good the agency is, it can’t progress work without your direction and feedback – so any investment you make will be wasted and will doubtless leave a sour taste in both parties’ mouths.
Appointing an agency is an important decision for any business, so allow ample time to find the right partner. Of course, we’d love to be the right agency for you – so why not have a look at some of our past campaigns and, if you like what you see, get in touch!