Smart business owners know that you hire for skills or abilities you don’t have, or for tasks that can be offloaded so that you and your staff can focus on what makes your business great.
Marketing is one of those tasks that is often outsourced, and with good reason: It has a lot of moving parts to it. You have an image you want your company or brand to convey, a group of people you want to reach, and a message that has to make sense to your audience. You also need a means to convey that message — such as social media posts, blog entries, TV spots or other vectors — while making sure that the form of your message best fits its medium.
So how do you find the right agency to hire, especially when you consider that marketing is their specialty? What traits are preferable in an agency, and which are warning signs that they’re not the best fit for you? Below, members from Forbes Agency Council share what they recommend people value or look for, as well as why. Here are the specifics:
1. Make Sure They Can Deliver
Know the difference between a retainer versus a result. It doesn’t matter how many hours or resources an agency spends on your company if they don’t have the track record to deliver results. Ask the agency to present multiple case studies showing similar results. If you’re still interested, talk to some of their current clients.- Lisa Arledge Powell, MediaSource
2. See If They Are Looking For A Partner
They should be looking for someone who can be a partner to them and their business. Too often, businesses are hyper-focused on cost. Yes, cost of services is important, but it should not be the most important. Working with an agency that ends up not being a good partner can actually end up costing you more money than you saved in the long run.-Steven Willi, Rankings.io
9. Evaluate Your Team, Not The Agency
Evaluate your specific agency team, not the agency as a whole. Though the caliber of an account team and the agency they’re a part of are highly correlated, there is a clear distinction. Vet for cultural fit, team chemistry and the overall literacy around the needs of your business. Vet each agency team member as if they’re prospective FTEs of your organization.- Eric Dahan, Open Influence
10. Prefer Firms Who Provide A Customized Proposal
If you don’t receive a customized proposal, then you’re not going to receive personalized service, nor a thoughtful plan, and there will always be a delay in their true service-start date. A customized proposal means that agency can and wants to start working for you day one. You want an agency willing to do the research on you ahead of the close.- Faithe Dillman, Marbaloo Marketing
11. Find Out How The Agency Judges Success
How does the agency judge success? It’s often easy to get swept up in innovative creative and the promise to increase a brand’s number of impressions, and then forget the goal of supporting sales. The creativity and metrics do not matter if the results do not impact the brand’s business. Would you be happy with a less exciting campaign and half the impressions that lead to twice the customers?- Elliot Schimel, Mission Control Marketing
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