What to Look for in a Marketing Agency

by Emily on February 6, 2012

in Marketing

As an SME, or even a large business, it can often be difficult to stretch your resources far enough to cover the costs of an inhouse marketing team. And if you already have one, more often than not, they will be completely overrun with projects and tasks, so new campaigns and urgent marketing work can’t be undertaken as urgently as it needs to be.

If this is the case in your business, likely you are considering outsourcing to a marketing agency – whether just on a project basis, or retaining their ongoing services so they become almost an extension of your business. The difficulty is – how do you select the right one for you? Ideally, you want to get your selection right the first time so you can build an ongoing relationship with the agency, and save time later re-briefing  company details and other general information for future projects.

So what should you consider?

Size and spend

First and foremost, try to match the size of your business with the size of the agency you are commissioning – this is especially essential for small businesses in order to build stronger relationships. Unless you’re just after some business cards and letterheads, it is vitally important the agency grows to understand your business, aims and objectives and also the culture.

Similarly, the size of the agency will often have some bearing on the cost. If you’re inclined to go with a big, top five agency, you need to be aware your marketing costs will reflect this. In contrast, a boutique agency may be more affordable.

Strong pitch, thorough understanding

When the agency pitches to you, it should be evident not only that they’ve done their homework, but that they’ve taken the time to analyse what they have found in order to build a thorough understanding of your business. Look for a pitch that resonates with you, and that speaks to the ideals, goals and values you see represented in the business. The more your agency understands you, the less time and money you will waste.

New media specialisation

Of more importance than ever, is making sure your selected agency is up-to-date with current trends. You will want them to have digital experts on their team so they can advise you of the best and latest technologies and channels you can use to communicate. You will need an agency not only with web experience, but now perhaps more significantly, one that knows its stuff when it comes to social media as well as SEO.

Previous clients and work

While many of us generally skip over the testimonials page, take the time to have a look at it. First, read all the testimonials so you can get an idea of what work the agency undertook and how satisfactory it was. Next, get more in depth – ask the agency if you can possibly speak to previous clients they have worked with so you can gain and honest and open understanding of how the agency works with its clients of all sectors.

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Comments & Leave a Comment

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott February 6, 2012 at 21:41

It may sound weird, but in a down-economy, companies should put more money towards R&D and marketing.

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Joanne February 7, 2012 at 17:32

I liked this post, having worked with a range of agencies over the years, brightermarketing.com I have found that building a good relationship with them is key to success on both sides. If there is no mutual respect or in some cases the agency or the client gets complacent then the level of creative work goes down and there is no synergy to create some really great campaigns.

And always take up references, ask to speak to previous clients not just examples of work. I have found out a lot about a potential agency doing this, usually good stuff, I don’t do it to catch the agency out, I genuinely want to find out what they are like to work with and want to hear good things.

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Alan Smith February 15, 2012 at 05:36

Form previous clients and work will help to estimate that particular marketing agency is suitable for you or our business.

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Rizza Gamutan February 28, 2012 at 02:41

This is a good post! You will want to know a matching marketing company vis-a-vis your business. And you need to know exactly what good marketing strategies can be implemented with the present economy we have these days.

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