Does your marketing need a makeover? Is your advertising agency’s research in need of a refresh? Does their effort feel more lackluster than legendary? Whatever might be prompting your pursuit of a new partner, the onus is still on you to find a good fit based on the unique challenges your business faces.
Unlike some types of hats, socks and ponchos, marketing agencies aren’t “one size fits all.” They come with specialties and specific skill sets that make some a better fit than others.
The vetting process starts by asking the right questions of a prospective partner agency, so you can quickly glean who warrants serious consideration. To assist with any upcoming sit-downs, we’ve compiled must-ask questions to get the most out of the meeting.
What types of clients do you have? Do you have experience in our industry?
A strong pair of opening questions that drive right to the heart of an agency’s relevant experience. If the company has, or has had, clients within your industry, their employees will come to the table with data-driven insights and a strong grasp of what makes for compelling content.
Though, it’s important to not be too selective about what kind of experience your potential partner must have. For example, you may be seeking an agency which has worked with hardware or builders supply stores, but finding a solid team that’s worked with building contractors is likely to provide just as much value.
What have you learned about our business?
Ask the prospective marketing partner to share their research. Find out what they’ve learned about your industry, products/services, competitors, target audience, etc. Have they done their homework? How motivated are they to make you a client? If you ask for a quote after the meeting, note how closely they paid attention to the needs and challenges you communicated. Look for evidence that indicates the strategy was copied and pasted from previous work.
How do you manage client communication? How does your agency operate?
You want a marketing team that prioritizes communication, stays on top of all the latest practices and delivers on its promises. It’s important to learn as much as you can about a marketing agency’s operations from the very beginning. How do they ensure deadlines are met, or projects are kept under budget? The goal is to align expectations as much as possible as you enter into the business relationship.
What marketing tactics are you using to advance your own business?
Step back for a wider view and ask the prospective agency about their business and marketing goals.
Have the team explain why they deployed a specific strategy for their own success. What lessons did they learn? How do they keep tabs on trends and adjust tactics going forward?
When a marketing agency practices what they preach and can explain in detail how they’ve cultivated and sustained their own success, it points to their belief in the services they are selling.
How do you measure success?
Ultimately, the desire is for both sides of the potential partnership to achieve success. But, success is a broad and loosely-defined term, and any successful marketing agency must be able to detail how they measure and define it. If the answer you get is fraught with industry jargon and analytics you don’t understand, patiently ask for an explanation. It’s less likely the company is trying to baffle you with big words, and merely just excited about their standards of measuring success.
Make sure to find out how often you’ll receive analytics reports, what changes can be made if the data shows a campaign isn’t hitting the mark, and when results can be reasonably expected. Note that campaigns worth their salt, especially inbound strategies, can take time to produce results. Be quick to question any marketing agency that promises significant ROI in a short time frame. Any “get rich quick” scheme you might be told is just that: a scheme.
This list is intended to be brief and serve to point you in the right direction when it comes to starting the conversation with a new marketing agency. Don’t be shy and avoid being hurried in making a decision. Hiring a marketing partner involves plenty of nuance, but there are tangible goalposts to follow as you narrow down your choices. Pursue all interested parties with diligence, and if you arrange a meeting, make sure to ask all the questions you have. If you can walk away with a full understanding of how an agency will work as a partner, it provides the confidence necessary to take the next step to an active relationship. Then it’s time for them to show you what they can do!
Armed with these questions, put what you learned here to good use by starting a conversation with Baer Performance Marketing today!