If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you fall into one of the following buckets:
- You’ve liked us on Facebook and were enticed by our post leading here
- You’re looking to secure some marketing support and I bought you a drink that one time at that one event
- You know you need to hire an agency but don’t know where to start
And while knowing someone that works in advertising is typically a good indication of who you’ll work with, let’s imagine for a second you have no idea where to go after hitting up Google and your own personal network for a referral.
Even if you’re familiar with a multitude of different potential marketing partners, how do you truly know the best one to sign up with? Well, have no fear, here’s a list of a few things to consider when choosing a marketing partner:
1. Personality Fit
Making sure that you can get it along with the group or individual that you hire should be of the utmost importance. Do they have similar characteristics to you? Would you be okay sitting down with them in a professional or casual setting? We each have quirks and traits that define us, you want to make sure that who you’re working with matches a style/personality and culture you’re comfortable with. You will have to work with them for the duration of the project, make sure you’ll enjoy it.
Nearly as important as a personality fit is the work that they’re capable of producing. Can they really handle the assets and workload you’re about to put on them without going over budget or over deadline? Dollars to donuts if you like the previous work they highlight in a newsletter or website, chances are you’ll like what they’re able to produce for you. Just make sure they’re really able to handle the breadth your project/needs.
We’ve all seen the listings for jobs that require three-years of experience for an entry-level position. Within marketing though, experience is a testament to an agency’s ability to produce work and do it consistently. You should look to their past work or previous clients to truly determine if they have the right experience to crush your project (in a good way).
Sometimes a list of projects on a website, or a scrolling collection of client icons can only go so far. If you’re not sure that the group you’re looking to work with can truly fulfill your needs, take a look at the accolades they’ve accumulated to date. Awards are a good indication that — even though you think you like what you’re seeing — other folks with a more discerning eye have agreed, the work was “worthy” of a distinction.
A friend of ours once lost an opportunity to work with a partner in the home & garden industry because they went with an agency that specializes in working with the home & garden industry. Nothing wrong with that. As there are several marketing partners out there, you may find one that works exclusively and specifically with your industry. We keep things varied here enough where we’re not ready to go steady with a given market segment, but bully to those who have.
We will say this, just because they focus on a given industry does not mean they’re any good with it or that what they produce for you won’t just be a cookie-cutter campaign with your logo swapped out for whomever was there first.
There’s a big hubbub within the marketing community as a whole about “does it matter where you’re located”. As affordable, reliable internet access becomes more and more prevalent, having a shop based out of Denver with clients based out of Bangkok is a more realistic business model. To us? For the most part, we want to be able to sit down with our partners; the value of a good handshake, a shared laugh over a cup of coffee, or pouring over a presentation at a local watering hole is paramount. If a personal connection to your partner is important to you, consider choosing one within train or flight distance.
As mentioned previously, we live in an increasingly connected and transparent world. Thinking the work day ends at 5 is an outdated pattern of thought. A good marketing partner will be there when you need them — early, weekends, nights, etc. (within reason, of course). You want to make sure that the partner you choose is a good communicator and can get back to you within a reasonable amount of time. If you need to be constantly reminded to do something, make sure your partner is happy to call you every day (or hour) until the situation is rectified. Slow and steady, trusting type? No problem there either, the partner should be able to recognize that and match the tempo of the relationship, on your terms.
With all that in mind, we also believe in the ol’ adage: Go with your gut. Instinct can’t be taught or quantified, but sometimes you just know you’re making the right decision and we applaud you for taking that first step in any marketing effort.