It’s perfectly normal for companies to seek outside help for their marketing. Internal marketing departments are usually short-staffed and don’t have the resources to pull off really big projects and campaigns. Dedicated agencies can provide this, as well as expertise on modern marketing trends and tactics.
But like anything involving your brand, you have to be careful who you pair up with. Some agencies will be an “okay” fit, others will be terrible. But if you can find a marketing agency you can trust, the experience will be incredibly satisfying.
1. Relevant Experience
Take a look at the agency’s past customers. Are they in a similar field to yours? Do they have the same audience, or have a familiar message? Rate your agencies based on their experience in your industry. Specializing on big name car brands is all very impressive, but it doesn’t do you any good when you’re trying to sell dairy products.
2. Multi-faceted Marketing
Great marketers don’t stick to one approach when promoting a product. They’ve got a variety of tricks and tactics to promote their clients, and know how to use them effectively. They also know which types of clients and industries are more suited to certain types of marketing promotions. This kind of flexibility is perfect for your company, so you can reach the maximum number of people without seeming too redundant.
3. They Do their Homework
Think back to the agency’s pitch from when you first met. How prepared were they? Did they know your company and its product well? Or did they stumble through it making wrong assumptions? Do they come prepared during meetings?
If the answer is “yes”, then you’ve probably got a winner. They’re more likely to bring this level of preparation and professionalism to your marketing campaigns and events, which will greatly increase your chances of success.
This trait depends a lot on how you work. Do you prefer someone who keeps you in the loop all the time, and gives you updates unprompted? Or would you rather they leave you to your work and only communicate when there’s something significant, or whenever you ask for information? Good agencies will tailor their response times to their customers, and adapt to how you want to do business.
5. Modern Tools and Methods
It’s critical for marketers to keep up with their audiences. New media such as social networking, the Internet, and mobile marketing pop up and fade away all the time, and a great marketing agency will be quick to understand the pros and cons of each; when to adopt it and when to drop it like a hot potato.
6. Questions, Lots of Questions
Smart marketers never assume they know everything. Even if they have long experience in an industry, a client will always have qualities that make them unique from everyone else. Your agency should be digging for information, for stories or scraps of trivial knowledge that will be the key to building your next big brand or marketing campaign.
7. They Take the Long View
A good agency will never sacrifice the long-term health of your brand for a short-term gain. They will eschew tactics like black hat SEO techniques, fire sales on luxury brands, and sponsorship deals with flash-in-the-pan celebrities who don’t fit your brand. They want to build you a brand that will last a lifetime.
You want an agency that won’t hesitate to give you bad news. Not because they want to, but because you need to know. These are the agencies that have your welfare in mind, and not that of their company. They know that you need to be armed with up-to-date information if you’re to succeed, and that covering up bad news will only do you harm.
Have you found a marketing agency you can trust? What did they do to win you over? Share your stories in the comments below!