3 FACTORS FOR SELECTING A MARKETING AGENCY
Choosing a marketing partner can be difficult, especially when you look at the national statistics that state there are more than fifty thousand design, web, and marketing agencies in the U.S. That averages to a thousand choices per state if you were going to narrow your options down strictly by location. But let’s say you’re not, since technology has made it possible to work with just about anyone, anywhere. Who and how do you choose?
Here are a few observations we have made based on client relationships that worked and ones that were identified as not the best fit.
1. SIZE IS IMPORTANT – THE GOLDILOCKS RULE
Choosing an agency partner that has the bandwidth to handle your needs but is not larger than what you need is crucial. Choose one that is too large and you end up feeding the agency’s overhead monster just to keep them afloat. Choose one that is too small and you may find yourself missing crucial deadlines or opportunities to help your brand because they are juggling too many clients with not enough resources. You want a partner that’s not too big and not too small, but just right. If you really want to be picky and ensure you get the most out of your marketing budget, choose a partner where your annual marketing budget will place you in their top 5 clients based on revenue. This ensures you get the attention and dedication you are looking for.
2. VERTICAL, HORIZONTAL, OR PRODUCT/SERVICE: WHAT IS THEIR EXPERTISE?
You may have heard that if you choose a marketing partner that is experienced in your field, there is a much quicker learning curve. This is true. An advertising agency that already understands your business and your targets can quickly get up to speed. However, if the majority of their clients are in your specific field, you may be getting rehashed ideas that their previous clients turned down. Sometimes it is best to go with an agency that has clients with similar business models, not necessarily in your specific field, in order to gain a fresh perspective. Many of our clients have benefitted from our experience with a diverse range of clients. The reason? We are able to bring ideas and practices that may be common in one business category to an industry segment that never considered this type of idea. This can be highly beneficial if you want something new and are looking to disrupt your business category. It’s important to understand an agency’s methodology and philosophy when taking on a new client in a category they have not yet experienced. This will provide an indication if they have a sound platform to help your organization get the results you are looking for.
3. SELF-PROMOTION: WALKING THE WALK
Does the marketing agency treat itself like a client? That is the question to ask yourself when looking for an agency. If they cannot market themselves, how well will they market your brand? We’ve all heard the common excuse, “But we are to busy doing work for our clients.” Poppycock! A good marketing strategy is essential to any marketing, design, or web agency, and those that don’t make the effort to establish their brand or voice are essentially shouting, “Please use someone else. We are not worth our own time.” Look at their blogs, their social media, their videos, and above all, the elements that cost hard dollars; such as print or advertising.
To sum everything up, choosing a marketing partner requires research, a willingness to meet and talk with your top choices, and some internal soul-searching.
Your relationship with your agency partner is just like other relationships. The best ones are based on trust, mutual respect, and a willingness to help each other succeed. If your current agency relationship isn’t built on those, then it may be time to find a new one.