Question Time

Your marketing is crucial, the way you represent yourselves as a company, your brand, everything. Using a marketing agency at first can be tricky, and trusting somebody else with your brand and reputation can be a difficult task. We have devised a few talking points for your agency briefing.

Who are some of their previous clients?

Ask to see a portfolio of work. Now, some people are new to the business, and if you can get a real sense of quality without seeing work, then you’re a stronger person than we are! Seeing a portfolio of work, and more importantly noticing some of their work that you’ve seen in the field is a bonus!

If you’re checking out some of the agency’s work and notice that all of their clients have been B2B manufacturing  companies and you are a trampoline park, you might want to take notice. Not to say that agencies can’t be extremely versatile, but it’s nice to see proven results from previous clients within your industry. At the same time, watch out for agencies that work exclusively in one industry – they may have conflicts of interest with your competitors.

See if you can find a case study or blog post featuring one of their relevant clients, and ask how well the agency understands your business. If they don’t have recent work in your industry, find out how they will gain the knowledge they need about your company’s industry, revenue, and sales goals.

Will the agency work with me to set and achieve goals?

Every deliverable and action item should relate back to your company’s overall goals. Ask them how they tie marketing activities to site traffic, lead generation, and revenue.

Outsourcing global agencies

Yes, you’re likely to find a cheaper alternative on the internet for marketing services, but you have to ask yourself some serious questions, a local marketeer is much more likely to know about

  1. The local environment that you wish to do business in;
  2. Your business;

More importantly they will be able to spend time with you and meet you, in some cases sitting down with the designer and talking through the creative stages, there is so many advantages to using a local agency.

Of course there are anomalies, such as if you’re venturing into a niche market and you find a professional in that industry, then of course they’re probably the better partner to work with, but most cheaper ‘online’ agencies will be using templates.

How will the agency measure the success?

If you view marketing as a giant black hole where your company dumps thousands of pounds every year, this question is especially obvious. It can take months to test what works and then amplify these results, but the agency needs to be able to demonstrate the ROI from marketing campaigns and ad spend.

Why are you leaving your old agency?

If you’re moving from a previous marketing agency, make sure that the reasons you left the old agency will definitely not crop up in this new relationship.

Specialist? or One Stop Shop?

Who are you hiring? The Spielberg of PPC ads? or the jack of all trades?

The different services an agency provides is one of the most important factors to consider. Every agency is better at some things than others, so you’ll want to have a good idea of what your company needs to ensure that it’s the right fit.

A few capabilities that are important to consider include:

  • Web Design
  • Web Development
  • Website Hosting
  • Branding & Logo Design
  • Digital & Inbound Marketing
  • Video
  • Copywriting
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media Strategy
  • PR

It can be a huge advantage to work with an agency that can scale with you. As your marketing budget grows and you strive to compete in a digital world, can you add a video to your website without needing to hire another firm? Or explode your social media strategy without having to hire someone internally?

Another benefit of agencies who are all-encompassing is that the branding, web design, video, and digital marketing will all flow together cohesively.

Make sure the agency’s different offerings and capabilities match your company’s short and long-term goals.

How much of the work will be outsourced?

A marketing firm might offer web design, but will these designs be outsourced, or is there an Art Director and Design Team on staff? It’s okay to outsource some things, but if you’re revamping your company’s website or doing a complete rebranding, it’s much more comforting to know that there are experienced designers or web developers on staff.

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Who will you be working with on a regular basis?

You probably know from different work experiences that the people you work with have a huge impact on your day-to-day happiness and success. When you hire a marketing agency, you’re essentially gaining new teammates. For marketing to yield any concrete results, the typical minimum retainer is from 8 to 12 months. Make sure these new co-workers are good people who you look forward to collaborating and communicating with over the next year or longer!

Start off by checking out the agency’s website – How approachable do they look? When you go in for a visit, ask if you can meet some of the team members who would be working on your project.

Does the team fit with my company’s personality?

You want to work with a company that has similar values to your own. Are they fun and friendly or cold and analytical? Maybe a bit of both is a great alignment to your own company culture.

What project management tools do they use?

Now that you know what type of work they do and who’s doing the work, it’s time to take a look at the how.

A good marketing agency should ensure that you’re always in control, and shouldn’t bombard you with information and spreadsheets, the information you need should be at your fingertips whenever you require it.

How frequently will we meet?

It is important to nurture this relationship, as you will be working very closely with your agency, and having a great rapport is crucial!

That’s a wrap!

So, what we’re saying is, make sure you’re 100% happy with the agency you’re about to start working with, have they got the skills you need, or are they flogging a dead horse (or outsourced overseas work marked up)

If you’d like to quiz us about any of the above, or perhaps need a simple no nonsense marketing agency, get in touch!