The world is constantly changing, which means consumer buying behavior changes continually. To ensure that your business is always connected to your target audience, you need to ensure that you are marketing to them most efficiently and effectively. Having your finger on the pulse of your industry is a full-time job, which is why more and more companies are hiring marketing agencies to help them. While this is a great way to ensure you are staying up to date with marketing trends, choosing a marketing agency is not as straight forward as one may assume.
The marketing industry is growing, especially as more advertising budgets have been pivoted to take advantage of the multitude of digital platforms available today. While 20 years ago selecting the right marketing agency might have been straightforward, in 2020 there are more than 5,000 marketing agencies to choose from and the industry is poised for further growth. So, how do you find the right agency for your specific needs?
Establish Your Goals
It is important before you begin shopping for a marketing agency to know what your specific goals are. Do you want more brand exposure? Do you need help building a digital presence? Do you need help with advertising? Every agency has different strengths and approaches to marketing. Having clear goals for your marketing initiatives will help you align with a like-minded agency. Don’t feel you need to approach an agency with a plan for how to get things done, rather you just need to approach them with what your marketing goals are.
If you are looking for help with marketing, you need an agency that has the experience that is relevant to your goals. Experience is important in marketing because it ensures that you are being given appropriate guidance. Marketing agencies with experience will be able to learn about your business, discuss your goals, and present a marketing strategy that is based on experience and industry standards. Experience in the industry allows for the agency to present the data with confidence and with results they can duplicate.
When searching for the marketing agency that is right for your business needs, ask for references and to see examples of work they have done before. This again comes back to your goals: you want to be able to see work or engage with references that have similar needs as you do. This will allow you to ask honest and open questions of the references to determine if this is the right agency for you.
References, also called referrals are important for businesses but they are also important for you, the prospective buyer of any product or service. They are an important part of all businesses because people are more likely to buy when they have feedback from referrals, reviews, or references. Just think about your buying behavior in your everyday life. If you hear from a friend that they have purchased a product and love it, and it is a product that you are interested in, you’ll be more likely to buy the product because someone has already vouched for it.
Determine Your Budget
Your budget is an important part of choosing a marketing agency. You need to determine how much you can reasonably afford, as a business, to spend on marketing. Break it down by month and for the year and base those budgets on what you can afford right now, not on what you hope your profits will be in the future. Knowing your budget will help guide you in your quest for the right agency because some agencies are more costly or limit their clientele only to budgets above a specific dollar amount. Yet, it is important to remember to stick to your budget, even if that means you can only tackle one area of your marketing plan and goals at a time.
An important part of choosing the right marketing agency is knowing that they can deliver on your vision. While you need help with marketing and that is why you are hiring an agency, you probably have a vision. When you meet with prospective marketing agencies, you need to determine if they can fulfill their vision. Any marketing company you meet with will likely have their unique processes, but you need to ensure that they can fulfill your vision with their processes. When interviewing prospective agencies, be sure to ask them whether their processes can fit your vision.
In-House or Outsourced Work?
Another great question when interviewing marketing agencies is if their work is done in-house or if they outsource their work. In-house means that the work that the company will be doing for you is all done by their employees. Outsourcing means that the agency works with contractors and vendors who are not employed by them but are contracted to get the work done. There is not a right or wrong answer here, just ensure that if there is work outsourced that timelines will be met and language barriers will not be an issue.
When you turn your marketing over to an agency communication is very important. Ask the agency when interviewing them how they approach client communication. Will you be assigned a specific person to contact about all of your needs? Will you have to contact different people for different needs? Do they have weekly or monthly meetings? Knowing how you will be communicated with and how often is important, because you need to ensure that your needs are going to be met.
Bigger is Not Always Better
When researching your options for a marketing agency, it’s important to know that bigger agencies are not always better. Sometimes the best agency is one that is small but has the experience and can make your goals a reality. This is, again, where knowing your goals and your budget is going to serve you well as you can match your needs with the capabilities of a marketing agency regardless of their size.
Consider the Ability to Create a Relationship
When meeting with prospective marketing agencies, you also need to keep the relationship in mind. Consider whether the agency is one that you can have a great relationship with. When you hire an agency they become an extension of your internal team, which means there needs to be open lines of communication, mutual respect, and a shared vision. In other words, you need an agency you can “click” with on all levels. If you had to choose between agencies that can deliver on all levels but you only click with one, you should always choose that one. A great working relationship with the agency will influence the performance of your marketing initiatives, so it’s a consideration that should not be overlooked.
Convergent1 Wants to Be Your Marketing Agency
With more than 20 years in marketing, Convergent1 understands that every client has unique needs, goals, and visions. We have a unique approach to marketing that starts with taking the time to really understand our client and their industry so we can help to ensure success. We have worked with clients of all sizes and in a variety of industries including business to business and business to customer. We would love the chance to chat with you and allow you to see if we are the right fit for your marketing needs. Feel free to contact us today or schedule a free consultation. We look forward to meeting with you and exceeding your expectations!