10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Marketing Agency
Hiring a marketing agency can help you sharpen your message and overcome immediate sales challenges to take your growth to the next level. You get to work with top creative and strategic talent without the huge overhead costs, and keep your core in-house team focused on the tactics and projects that only they can handle.
But it’s critical to choose the right advertising and marketing services partner. The right marketing agency can breathe new life into your goals and even bring more fun and inspiration into your everyday projects.
To help you with the search process, here are ten questions you should ask before signing an agency:
1. What are your goals?
Start by identifying your purpose for hiring a marketing agency. Is your team overworked? Do you have competition in the marketplace that’s demanding your attention? Do you need to increase the visibility of your company, increase your revenue by 10%, or get the market to think differently about your product? When you bring your goals or challenges to a prospective agency, they can better assist you in driving change and growth than if you simply bring a list of projects.
2. Do you understand your real marketing budget?
Are you transferring the same marketing spend from your old agency to the new one? Be sure your spend aligns with your goals. Growth or an intensely competitive market typically requires more dollars in order to reach a greater audience. Reviewing your budget can also clarify which strategies are viable for your business now, and where your growth plan should lead as your budget increases.
3. What type of agency do you want or need?
Different agencies have different specialties. Industry experience, work samples, and agency size are simply not enough to help you make informed decisions. Ask questions about philosophy, aligning with sales, as well as their approach to learning your business and crafting the right message. If your product or service is technical or complex in nature, you may need to consider a B2B marketing agency that is well versed in sophisticated sales cycles. Finally, what are they passionate about? You’ll want to make sure you get as much attention as they give their biggest client.
4. Does the marketing agency understand your business environment and organizational structure?
Understanding how your customers interact with your organization is of immense importance. Great B2B marketing is woven throughout the full life cycle of a customer relationship and is consistent with the human interactions that people have with your team. Be sure when you hire a marketing agency that they can get to the heart of your culture and your industry.
5. Will they be able to focus on your needs?
You have a personal relationship with the marketing agency you choose, so it’s important to understand the processes they have in place for healthy communication, deadlines, revisions, and last-minute project requests. Process can protect relationships for the long-term and create the appropriate space to focus on the important decisions of strategy and messaging.
6. Does the agency’s point of view align with yours?
Truth is, all agencies are capable of producing beautiful work—after all, you are hiring professional artists. But not all of these artists have the ability to understand your business needs. Seek the agency that can look through your lens, identify real opportunities and make effective, profitable marketing decisions. Moreover, ask them to give examples of how they were proactive for their clients.
7. Will the new agency be able to become a strategic partner?
Strategic partnerships are crucial in a hypercompetitive market. You should not only aim to solve your immediate issues, but also to gain competitive advantage as the business relationship grows. When businesses grow, the ensuing workload can cause even the most strategic leaders to miss the forest for the trees. The right marketing agency can balance this by staying on top of insights and provide a beneficial outside voice to help you stay focused.
8. Do you feel like this could be a long-term relationship?
Being in a mutually beneficial, long-term working relationship has many benefits. It increases efficiency and improves communication which are both essential in producing successful marketing outcomes. Long-term relationships are also cost-efficient as there is no need to onboard and train a new agency annually or per project. When the relationship goes beyond one-time projects, it then becomes an opportunity for continual improvement as each party benefits from the growth of the other.
9. Does working with them look fun?
In a sense, hiring a marketing agency means having additional employees. You want to work with fun people, right? Choose the team that fits with your company’s personality. The personal chemistry is one that has great alignment to your own company culture. When you have a fun and positive working relationship, you will be able to come up with brilliant ideas, enabling your business to grow and develop as a result.
10. Is there any proper paperwork in place?
Make sure the agencies you speak to have the proper paperwork in place to cover ownership, changes in scope of work, clarity around the creative process, and more. This is not simply a formality, but a means of protecting your business. No matter the size, your agency has to clearly define the scope and dynamics of their involvement and set proper expectations for the whole duration of the relationship.
Hiring a marketing agency is not a decision that you make lightly. These questions will not only help you find the right fit for your company, but also lay the groundwork for a more productive relationship and a new phase of growth.
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