Finding a marketing partner with whom you can build a collaborative and lasting relationship is no small feat. What constitutes a “right fit” is different for every company or cause, just as it is for every agency. Whether you’re looking to engage a marketing agency for the first time or looking for a new marketing partner, following these easy steps can help you find the marketing agency that is best suited to meet your needs.
Define your needs
The more clearly you can articulate your marketing needs, the better a prospective partner can respond. When figuring out what role you want your marketing agency to fulfill, ask yourself:
- Do I want an agency to handle all of my marketing?
- What specific services am I looking for an agency to provide?
- What internal resources can I allocate to working with my agency partner?
- During what time period am I looking to work with an agency?
- What do I want the marketing agency to help me achieve?
For example, if you know that you need an agency partner to provide services for a 12-month term during your company’s centennial year, and that you have design handled internally but are looking for outside support with copywriting, PR and social media marketing, you immediately know to probe about an agency’s ability to fill that need.
Tap into your network
Word of mouth referrals are still an important marketing asset despite an increasingly digital world. Do you have friends and colleagues who recently contracted with a marketing agency? Do you know someone who recently switched marketing agencies? Do you know someone who is always raving about your marketing agency? Oftentimes, people who know you and your business well can provide helpful recommendations regarding agencies that you should research and interview. And, remember, your network includes the people you know from business events, the people you’re connected with on LinkedIn and friends with on Facebook and even your neighbors.
Review case studies
You want an agency with a proven track record, one who has worked with other clients to successfully achieve goals similar to those you are looking to achieve. Case studies alone are not enough to inform your decision, of course. If you like what you see, you’ll want to schedule a call or meeting to understand some of the environmental factors around those campaigns – timeline, budget and additional resources used, to name a few. Case studies will also help you better understand the agency’s expertise pertaining to both your industry and the services for which you are looking to contract.
Understand the working relationship you are looking for
Some companies and causes are happy to collaborate virtually with a marketing partner while others prefer face-to-face communication. This will, obviously, impact the geographic parameters of your search. Beyond geography, know if you want to work with a marketing agency that updates clients via phone or email, what frequency of communication you are looking for and what level of interaction you desire between your organization and your chosen agency.
When looking for a marketing agency, it is important to do your homework and carefully vet your prospective partner carefully. Marketing is an investment and one you want to make with a partner who has the strategic foresight, creative genes and commitment to executional excellence needed to help achieve your marketing goals.