Choosing a marketing agency to help you develop and execute a smart marketing strategy is a critical decision for your business.
But how do you know if a new agency is right for you? And how can you avoid making a mistake?
In a recent post, I shared seven warning signs to help agencies avoid the wrong clients.
Here’s some advice for advertisers about evaluating agencies, from my experience on the agency side and as a former client.
The High Price of a Bad Choice
Before I started my marketing consulting business in Cleveland, Ohio, I spent many years in Washington, DC as creative director for a large agency and later as advertising manager for a B2B publisher.
I’ve seen the best and worst of agency/advertiser relationships, from both sides of the table. When the fit is bad, it costs both companies time, money, and frustration. That’s why the right match is so important.
7 Questions to Ask About a Prospective Agency
So let’s say you’re interviewing potential marketing agencies and you’ve found one with the capabilities and experience you need. They have an impressive portfolio, a solid client list, and an award-winning creative team. Should you hire them?
To find an agency team that will be a true marketing partner to your business, I believe you need to look beyond skills and awards and dig deeper.
Ask yourself these seven questions to evaluate a potential relationship:
- Does the agency love marketing? You want a team that wakes up every morning excited about their work, even if it’s for products and services that aren’t especially sexy. You should feel their passion, excitement, and enthusiasm.
- Are they focused on your business or theirs? An agency should be more interested in learning about your company and products than in talking about themselves.
- Have they done their homework? An agency should research your company and market before they meet with you to gain insights into your needs and marketing challenges.
- Do they understand how your business makes money? Marketing is about creating opportunities for sales. A smart marketing agency will understand your business model and how companies like yours use marketing to drive sales.
- Can they show you measurable results? Be wary of agencies that dwell on creative concepts but can’t give you facts about how well their campaigns met their clients’ objectives.
- Do they follow through? If you ask for a proposal, references, or samples, they should deliver as promised. If they can’t meet commitments or schedules before they’re hired, you can be certain they won’t once they’re on board.
- Do they genuinely want your business? You should always be an important client to the agency you select. Look for an agency that can’t wait to work with you.
The Value of a Real Agency/Advertiser Partnership
Marketing is a significant investment and a long-lasting partnership between a marketer and an agency can pay big dividends.
If you’re in the market for a new agency and the ones you’re talking to fall short on these criteria, trust your gut and keep looking.