How to Identify the Right Marketing Agency in Today’s Digital World
Preparation is Key
When preparing for choosing the marketing agency that would provide all of your business needs, you have to do a good deal of preparation.
First, the preparation includes laying out your budget, setting a bracket, and identifying a limit.
Second, if you cannot manage the process yourself, you may have two options. One, you can look for an in-house expert or someone from you team. Another option is that you may outsource this part of the process to a professional outside of your company. The important thing is someone needs to be accountable for the project. It can be you, or you may delegate it to someone who can devote the much-needed attention and commitment.
Third, set a timeframe for this process. The whole process may take a long time. It is essential to identify, meet, analyze, select, and be certain of a clear timeframe for the process.
Lastly, consider if you are going to need or involve a procurement department. Including this department would provide you with greater support and may fast track your process. However, also consider that a procurement department might add specific constraints and processes. It is really important that you know this upfront as it might have an impact on your budget and timeframe.
Ponder on Your Business Issues
As a company, it is almost normal to encounter challenges ever so often. It is a common experience for entrepreneurs. The only difference among business people is how they handle them and how the problems get resolved. It is first important to assess what difficulties you are trying to solve. Along the way, be open to the possible solutions or remedies that can address the issues.
After identifying the business issues that you are trying to solve, you have to think if the solutions are the key or are they merely distractions and would not help in the overall resolution of the problem. Next, consider the marketing agency you are working with. When you are already sure that you are working on the real issue, inform the marketing agencies you will be working with of the issues that you are dealing with.
Talk with them and make sure that they understand the problem. Lastly, you have to be confident that they are helping you by giving you relevant solutions. They can only give you that if they know the problem fully. Talk with them and be truthful about the weaknesses you are facing. It is only then that they can provide you with helpful solutions.
Help Them Help You
Again, it is important that they understand your company, your type of business, and your goals and challenges. The marketing agency has to understand your sector. Some of this includes understanding if there are any different activities. They have to know how you address and relate to your customers.
The agency has to have a sense of you competitive landscape because only then can they help you in making you better than your competitors. Lastly, don’t forget that it is also important that you orient the agency of the technical terms you are using in your business. It will prevent any misunderstanding in the process.
Also, do not forget the legal aspects of this partnership as this will clarify many questions on the responsibilities and commitments of a business and a marketing agency.
One-Stop-Shop vs. Specialized
Now that you’ve thought about some of the preliminaries, the next thing to do is to think about the type of marketing agency you prefer or need. The first thing to consider is, again, your budget. You have to be honest with yourself about the limit of your resources and if you can afford a particular marketing agency. If for example, there is no problem with the budget and you can afford the best of the best, you have to think about who among the best specialists in what discipline are you going to get?
Beyond the expertise of these experts, it is essential that you can communicate with each other, that you as an entrepreneur are comfortable and compatible with working with them. There are different agencies to choose from. You can go to a one-stop-shop, an agency that will manage everything in-house. It can be less specialized, but the plus side is that you will need less coordination. You can also go to different specialized agencies where there are experts but you may need to manage them, you may have to consider if you have enough resources internally. Whichever among these types of agencies you will choose, it something only you can truly feel and assess for yourself. Do not be afraid to meet new people and get a feel if you will have a good working relationship.
Once you have some agencies and specialists in mind, it would be good to scrutinize a bit and know more about them. One of the things you want to know is the previous projects that they have accomplished.
By now, you may have narrowed down the agencies into the specialization that your business requires at the moment. So among these experts, you can look further into the things they are best at. Lastly, you have to ask yourself if you want to work with an out-of-the-box agency or with a rather classic one. These all depend on your preferences. Take your time and thoroughly assess your needs and what you are comfortable at.
Now that you know the marketing agency a little better, the next thing to do is to feel your experience on their client service. By now, you have already gotten a feel of how they communicate and how transparent the agency is to you. Observe how they communicate and the tools they use. Also, you may consider if you will need a dedicated account manager. There is also a need for you to balance your in-house task force with agency work. You have to get the right mix with this one so as not to have any conflict about the usurpation of function, or any other problem that may arise later on. Lastly, make sure that you are well taken care of.
By this time, the most important thing to ask yourself is this: “Are you happy with what they are doing?” The agency must have promised and committed that they’ll do this and that but are they giving you those things? You ought to set milestones to check if things are going as planned or better. Set up a key performance indicator or (KPI) to better help you with this assessment. Lastly, prepare on how to assess your return-on-investment or ROI. It is important as it will show you if you are getting the most out of your money’s worth.
Agency Staff and Size
Further, into your working relationship with the agency of your choosing, you also have to know who will be working directly with you. Assess if you are comfortable with the setup and that you will have a productive interaction together. Again, when choosing the people, you will be working with, see if they are certified or even awarded. The minimum requirement would be that they are experienced, and they know what they are doing so you know you will surely get the results that you want.
With all the people you will be working with, are they going to be nearby or will they manage the work remotely? It’s one question that you should ask. If they will be working remotely, are you comfortable with that? Try to look into the logistics of your meeting if you will ever need one and see if all the people in the team can attend. It’s one of the things to consider.
Last but not the least, the people you are working with should be able to understand you and your needs above all. They should be interested in working with you and making your business better. You ought to be able to share the same values and principles so as to move forward as one and achieve your goals as you want them.