Merchant Capital

What to look for in a Marketing Agency

Looking for the right marketing agency to take your business to new heights is certainly not an easy task. You’ll want to ensure, as best as you can, that you’re getting your money’s worth. So, with all the pitch meetings that you’ll find yourself in, how can you go about determining which agency is right for you and your business? Let’s look at some determining factors to consider.

Their experience

You want an agency that has garnered a good reputation over the years. In today’s business climate, it’s not only about the number of years an agency has been in operation but also about the kinds of relationships they have with their clients. Many agencies have been around for decades but what are their working relationships like? Have they worked with companies in your industry before? Do they have a high staff turnover? Do they lose their clients before contract terms are up?

Understandably, you’ll find agencies that aren’t keen to divulge information that can potentially cast them in a negative light, so looking on social media (comments on the company page, for example) and third-party review sites could help you gain a better understanding of the agency's public perception.

Value

Investigate what value the marketing agency will bring to your company. If they’ve worked with companies in your industry before, what impact did those working relationships have? Look into how they approach their work: is their marketing generalised or specialised? A generalised agency tends to focus on broader aspects of marketing while specialised agencies focus on certain areas of marketing like only on social media, for example.

Simply put, you want to ensure that the marketing agency you choose, will focus on what matters to secure growth for your business.

Measurability

You need to ensure that the agency you choose, can correctly and objectively measure its marketing efforts. A great agency knows how to analyse their performance, determine what’s going wrong, why things are going wrong and how to pivot towards better results. Discuss what tools they use to determine these results and what data they use to help them understand whether they’re moving in the right direction or not.

Pay close attention to how they explain their process of determining measurability. A great agency knows how to explain even the most complex of tools and concepts to you in a way that you’ll easily understand. Be wary of the agencies that throw around buzzwords without providing any context because if they’re vague about how they hold themselves accountable, your business could land up paying them a retainer without getting anything in return.

Cost-effectiveness

The cost of hiring an agency essentially depends on what you’re looking for. Generalist agencies tend to have a bigger headcount, with more services and skills available to you but this can result in quite a hefty retainer. On the other hand, specialist or boutique hotels have smaller teams and only focus on certain aspects of marketing. So, if you’re only looking to boost your digital marketing, a specialised agency is a better choice.

You also need to assess whether your business is better off paying per project or a monthly retainer. Retainers are more predictable because you’re securing an agency’s time for the length of your contract term, but they are costly. A project-based agreement allows you to test out the agency without a long-term contract, but this means that the agency must fit your work in around their clients who are on retainer.

Time

Compare what you want the deliverables to be and what the company can realistically provide. There’s no point in paying for an agency with a quick turnaround but the quality of work is poor. It’s also important for your business and the potential working relationship that the agency is transparent with you about how they will support your business.

The bottom line

You’re going to spend a lot of time interviewing different agencies and you need to keep in mind that the right agency will add value to your business. The right agency will be transparent and honest with you while ensuring that you’re spending your money to get results that matter to you.

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