3 Steps to Choose the Right Marketing Agencies
For a lot of companies and organizations, hiring with a marketing agency is or was their solution or alternatives to a crucial development or growth. With the right hire, an agency can help you reach your audience effectively, augment your engagement and messaging, and double, triple or quadruple your marketing dollars in return of your investment.
But to do so, one cannot expect magic to happen without doing some homework. For those who are planning on working with an agency, the following simple 3 steps will give you a clear direction that guides you along the hiring process.
Know Your Marketing Needs, Budget, Timeframe
The very first thing you need to do is to know your marketing goal. Do you need to launch and maintain a website or social media? Are you looking to create or refresh the brand of your company? Or have you been thinking about targeting a certain demographic such as the millennials or the baby-boomers?
Knowing what you want to accomplish help you start and gives you something to look forward to. Not knowing what you are trying to achieve will basically throw you into an abyss of money-wasting services where everything seems to make sense.
You also need to know your budget and your desired time frame to achieve the goal. How much can you afford to hire an agency for service? How long do you need to hire them for? Do you really need an agency to do your work? Or can you hire a management level contractor if you have a team at hand? And how much expertise does your team have?
These questions are important whether you are a small organization/company with limited budget and little room for adjustments, or a large organization that has a marketing department but need specific outsourced marketing activities.
As you look at your budget, don’t forget to gauge your organization or department’s marketing capabilities. What’s your marketing knowledge level? And your co-workers’? Knowing the limitations along with your goal, budget and timeframe will help you through the search process and start more effective communication with agencies you choose later.
A general rule of thumb is that the more marketing activities you need, the more you need an agency for. If what you need is just a logo, a promotional video or a website, then finding contractors to do the work might suffice. Your budget will also determine the agency hire later.
Identify the Agencies
Once you have asked yourself all the questions regarding your marketing goal, knowing your budget and timeframe, you can start looking for agencies that feed your aspirations.
Now if you google search “marketing agency types,” you will render results with various explanations of the types. There are blog posts written for marketing service seekers, such as the 11 types of marketing agencies by Amalgamated Marketing. There are also posts written for marketing professionals, such as the hybrid marketing agencies by content marketing institute.
These posts are useful in getting entry knowledge on the types of agencies that you might hire but the truth is there are several ways to make distinction over the industry because marketing has become so integrated and is constantly changing.
You can use these resources to understand the services, but what you really need to do is look for actual agencies and browse through their website over the service or portfolio page.
For bigger agencies, you usually will be able to see everything that they offer. With start-up companies, they sometimes do not have enough work to exhibit, but it is reasonable to see their online presence as an evaluation. Look at the specific items that your organization needs and choose those that also fit budget.
Evaluate Your Top Candidates
Let’s say now you have narrow your search down to specific agencies or if you got some recommendation from others. The next thing to do is to reach out and make contact.
Make sure to evaluate their passion in what they do and what they think they can do for you. Typically, agencies will submit a proposal according to your needs. If not, you should always ask for it. With the proposal, notice their deliverable and raise questions if need be.
As you compare services from different agencies, you should also evaluate based on their culture, professionalism, current projects, past works, vision and pricing. Some agencies charge a fee by project and some by hours. Getting the proposal with a price quote is a must in your evaluation.
If you find agencies that have similar capabilities and quality of work, bigger agencies might not have as much time for you if you are a small client. Smaller agencies can probably work closer with you on the items you need. Bigger agencies might have more resources and manpower while smaller agencies might struggle with producing collaterals within a short amount of time. In addition, a big agency might not think that $5000 a month is a very big client and make you a very low priority. You want the agency you choose to make you a priority. You should look at other clients and see if you are in their league. Make sure you consider these details so that you will have a smooth collaboration process.
Also, for the don’ts, Business Marketing Institute puts it best: Don’t “select a partner as a crutch or a boost to your or your superior’s ego” and “don’t forget that the buck stops with you. Your partner will perform only as well as you let them.” Both these advice are golden and help you be objective through hiring process.