Choosing to engage or partner with a marketing company for most businesses is a big commitment. If you make the wrong choice, you can be left having invested precious dollars on marketing with little return.
It is not one-size-fits-all. Marketing companies have different specialties and skill sets that make some a better fit than others. By doing your research up front and asking these important questions, you can make sure you are choosing the right marketing partner:
Find out what process they use to get a good understanding of your business, target market, business goals, any industry research and expected outcomes from activity. Do they have a strategic workshop process and can they provide examples of that process and the outputs provided?
Who is the person in the business that you will be dealing with day to day? What skills and experience do they have? Will you have a consistent contact all the way through – and are they the same people who will work on developing the overall strategy? It’s not uncommon for marketing companies to use their top strategists to help win your business, but then once the contract is signed, delegate your marketing to a junior.
Ask them to give realistic estimates of results and evidence of results achieved with similar campaigns.
Get clear on what part you are expected to play vs your marketing company. How often are you required to meet – what briefing, materials, documents or information are you expected to provide on a regular basis? For example, if you are sending out a monthly newsletter, will your marketing company expect you to provide all the content and they just manage the design or will they write the content and has that been included in the cost? You need to be sure that your marketing company complements the skills and resources you have in-house.
Is there a minimum term in your contract? What process is there for reviewing work done for further engagement?
Will your marketing company provide a full service or will you need to work with other suppliers? Alternatively, how flexible are they if you want to work with your own suppliers for some elements of your marketing. For example, you have your own web developer, but want to work with their design team.
Do you offer fixed cost pricing? What do they deliver for the fixed fee if they do offer it? What additional charges are there and how are you made aware of these up front?
Find out what industries they have experience in, specifically what relevant clients they’ve done for and the results achieved. Ask for relevant client references to speak to. Reviewing their website for client logos or case studies and reaching out to these clients independently is also a good option. Also find out how they stay up to date with new developments in marketing. What professional development programmes do they have in place to makes sure that they develop skills in new marketing mediums and tactics.
Ask your agency for committed timeframes for key deliverables based on the work they are doing for you.
A good way to test a company is to engage them to work on a small one off project as a way of trialling them. An marketing company that really wants your business will be happy to prove their value even on a small project.
As companies look to streamline business operations to focus on core competencies, the decision to outsource marketing has become a viable strategic alternative.
Marketing is a partnership. For the partnership to work, you also need to do your part as the business owner. Start by being extremely clear about what you want. Communication is key to avoiding future issues.
If you are looking for an experienced marketing company to partner with , Marketing Angels may be able to help.