Hiring a marketing agency is one of those things you need to get right.
To acquire the expertise you want, whether you are a tiny company or an established brand, employing a marketing agency is an excellent option. There are several marketing agencies to select from, but which one is the best?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix. When it comes to finding the right customer, ask these ten questions throughout the sales cycle.
Ask The Agency: What Is Your Specialty?
Specialization is what sets top marketing firms apart from the others. Even products that seem to be “generic” have a specific target audience.
If you’re hiring a marketing firm, the first thing to consider is if the agency specializes in B2B or B2C enterprises. To be successful, you need a different mindset, approach, and skill set for B2B marketing than you need for B2C advertising.
Transactional B2C marketing (“Buy now!”) and purchases driven by emotion dominate B2C marketing practices today. Long sales cycles, various influencers, and purchases based solely on return on investment are among challenges faced by business-to-business marketers. Branding, analytics, and design all take quite distinct approaches.
In your first enquiry or request for information (RFI), don’t merely inquire whether the agency is B2B or B2C-focused. To find out how much of their company is B2C, just ask. To be sure, go back three, five, and ten years in the Wayback Machine to examine how the agency positioned itself at those times.
Ask Yourself: What Do I Need from an Agency?
Make sure you know exactly what your agency partner is expected to perform. Unrealistic expectations and disappointment are the result of a vague scope.
Do you need a full-service marketing team or only a team with a narrow set of skills? This is important since you don’t want to overspend or pick a company that isn’t capable of doing the job you need.
How important is it to you to locate specific leads inside specialist areas, or do you just want a large number of leads? Is marketing automation and analytics anything you’d want assistance with? Work in a highly regulated, extremely complicated industry?
Successful projects begin with a thorough grasp of the client’s requirements and a well-defined division of work.
Ask Them: What’s Your Culture Like?
The success of every agency-client relationship hinges on “fit,” and culture is where it all begins.
You may get a good sense of an agency’s culture by looking at its social media profiles on Facebook and Instagram. Is it a blatant attempt at self-promotion, or an indication of a productive team having fun? Employees that are engaged are more likely to go above and above for their customers.
Inquire about the agency’s culture and how it manifests itself specifically. Most people won’t expect this line of questions; yet, it will assist reveal whether or not your teams get along well.
Ask Them: How Transparent Are You?
Ask about analytics and reporting early in the screening process — what you receive and how frequently you get it. You’ll be better educated and more effective as a team if your agency is honest. You’ll be more successful in your engagement if you work with a transparent agency partner who isn’t hesitant to provide all the facts.
Here’s a general guideline for reporting by agencies: PowerPoints that are nothing more than a collection of cut-and-pasted graphs and lists are a waste of time. They’re easy to manipulate and pick and choose from. Make use of non-human connections and APIs to bring in data all the time. Anything other than the unvarnished truth from a marketing firm is not acceptable.
Ask Them: How Do You Communicate with Clients?
One of the most common reasons for failed client-agency relationships is a lack of communication. This means that you should inquire about the agency’s communication method before employing them.
Ask Everyone: How often and what type of communication you can expect?
Do you have access to an account manager exclusively? In other words, do you engage directly with many different people depending on who you are talking to?
Daily contacts may be desirable if your requirements dictate it. Others may be content with a status update once a month.
Ask Them: How Much Experience Do You Have?
Because they are familiar with your market or can make an accurate comparison, the agency will be able to increase marketing efforts rapidly.
Do they have any prior experience selling to or working with the kind of customers you’re trying to reach in your industry?
See whether they speak the language of your sector or if they can offer a few experiences that give you confidence that they understand your area during the early conversations.
Ask Yourself: What Is the Buying Experience Like?
When looking for an agency, think about the whole process and how it compares to your requirements.
If you need assistance with SEO, paid digital advertising, marketing automation, copywriting, or creative, look at how the firm promoted itself.
What method did you use to locate them? When you went to the webpage, what happened? Was the message received as intended? If so, did you get an email follow-up from the company to make sure you were still interested? Someone followed up with you in the next day or two, right?
This is a positive indicator if it occurred, since they are the kinds of things you want from an agency.
Ask Everyone: What About Money?
When looking for a marketing firm, consider your budget first.
When it comes to money, individuals tend to avoid the subject. Prior to making any commitments, acquire an idea of the total cost of the engagement by doing two or three conversations, internal debriefs, and email exchanges back and forth.
Some agencies won’t accept your application unless you’re willing to pony up $100,000 in retainer fees. Others would be at a loss with that amount of money. Clear understanding of financial structure (retainer, project and/or combination), price ranges and the treatment of change orders and overages. You don’t want a nasty shock at the end of the month in the form of an unexpected cost.
Ask Them: Do You Have References?
While testimonials and case studies are helpful, nothing beats actually speaking with some of your potential customers.
Be specific rather than generic in your inquiries. Ask specific questions to find out about the transparency, communication, expertise, and focus of the marketing firm. Observe how the agency handled a hiccup throughout the engagement. Check to determine whether the answers you get are consistent by repeating the same questions with a second source.
Hiring a Marketing Agency: Conclusion
Ultimately, your marketing firm should be a solid, adaptable partner that adds actual value to your business. They’re supposed to solve your issues, not create new ones. Keeping these things in mind increases your chances of securing a successful marketing collaboration.