What should I be aware of when hiring a marketing agency?
I have a translation agency. I am doing all the marketing, like the website and some mailings myself. I would like to start a professional marketing activities and I am meeting with an agency next week. I have a budget and CI. What else should I prepare? What should I ask them and what should I pay special attention to when talking to them?
Make sure they ask you a lot of questions about what results you want to achieve and what the tone and personality of your brand is. When you can see they they are taking an interest in the way you want to be presented and the outcomes you want, it is a good indication that they are thinking ahead to how they can make sure you will be happy with their work. If they focus on the "close" and spend a lot of energy on trying to hustle you into committing to a contract on the spot, this isn't the right attitude for a positive ongoing relationship.
As Robbin noted, choose an agency of a compatible size to your business or you risk being the least important client on their roster. If you're still quite small, an individual contractor might suit you better, as Hannah pointed out.
Best of luck finding the right partner. Trust your instincts. If you don't feel comfortable, you don't have to commit.
The first thing to do is decide what it is you want the "agency" to do for you/your business. Then you must learn what marketing is (everything you do in your business to get, and keep a customer) and that there are two major divisions to marketing that must be addressed (strategy and tactics). If your prospective agency urges you to undertake a "branding" effort beware because branding is a gargantuan expense. Nike, Coke, McDonalds and others spend, quite literally billions of dollars to establish a brand. You don't need a cute frog or kitty cat singing some ridiculous ditty that drives potential clients to distraction.
Don't spend a nickel on tactics until you know intimately and in detail what your strategy is (there could be more than one).
Your agency needs to focus on your target client's problems and then educate them on how your service solves those problems so well, that price becomes a non-issue. Learn about the "reticular activator" and your industry's "educational spectrum". These are the things that will be your guide to generating the highest Marketing ROI possible.
Richard Stern-The Marketing Agency should be servicing companies in your industry.
They should provide a Plan and defined costs along with a Time and Action Calendar.
The Plan should define targets for their efforts along with audit features so you can measure the positive impact on your business.
Furthermore, a Plan for growth,.
Great question! In my book 10 Ways to Screw Up an Ad Campaign, I answer this question as follows: 1. View the bio's of the agency principals 2. Determine who will actually service your account, and his/her level of experience 3. Get a handle on how multi-dimensional the agency is 4. Find out how much work they perform themselves and how much they outsource 5. Ask what the agency's policy is on handling competing accounts (your privacy matters) 6. Ask for client references 7. Review results, not awards
You can check following things while hiring any marketing agency:
1) Ask them for their work portfolio of related services.
2) You can contact their previous clients and ask them how much they are satisfied with their services.
3) Check the overall online presence of the company.
4) Ask them for the free website analysis report of your website(you can judge them by this.)
We at FATbit, whenever receive any query for website marketing, we first review and provide all insights related to the website. If our client likes our proposal, we proceed further. You can check our Internet Marketing Page here : http://www.fatbit.com/website-design-company/Internet-Marketing-Company.html
The first question I would ask them how much experience they have in terms of working with your type of business. Do not let them try to sell you on a package of services that they claim will help grow your business. The reason is that it is like giving them a blank check to do what they feel like doing. Ask them how do they measure results and how is it reported back to you.
I've worked both agency and client side. Here are a few tips:
Be a big fish in a little pond. In other words, try to find a firm that matches your business size, so you get the attention you need.
Don't pay for more of an agency's overhead than necessary. You may not need a "full service" agency, when a boutique, freelancers, free agents or consultants will do.
Understand the different roles people may play, from marketing strategist through graphic designer. Do you need all of them?
Define clearly what it is you're looking for and your goals (in qualitative and quantitative terms).
Make sure you meet with the actual people (or team) you'll be working with, not just the head of the agency. Share your marketing plan with them; if you don't have one, share relevant parts of your business plan.
Get a good idea of their process or how they work, how they bill, how they communicate.
Have you thought of using a local team, rather than an agency?
I do know an awesome group of people who offer amazing services, including web design & management, SEO, social media (which I do some of, I know, personal spokesperson here cheering about myself!), illustrations & newsletters.
If you would definitely want the agency, I'd say ask a few key questions to see if they get your brand message, see if they have researched you before they met you - that is so important.
I know someone who asked the potential marketing company that she was interviewing "So, what is it I do?" - and they had to answer. You'll know then if they get you, if they actually looked you up and wanted to work with you, I know I do that for all new potential clients as I need to know if I can become their voice.
Let us know how you get on, and message me if you'd like an introduction to the other lovely business I know.
The marketing services should help you to get more customers.
My suggestion is to get referrals of some marketing agencies, check their customers, and try to know what scope of the marketing services they provided for these customers.
Note that website, emails, brochures are results of marketing actions that should come from a marketing plan. A strategy should be defined in order to provide objectives and goals. When you take actions and you measure the results, you can check if your plan will achieve the goals.
Back to your question, I recommend the following points:
- get referrals of mkt agencies you would like to work with;
- interview each of them and get your first impression. I have a real case when I need to hire some mkt servies and the speech of one of the marketing companies doesn't fit with my objectives or with I expect to hear;
- pay upon each deliverable- plans, emails templates, etc.
Hope to help you.
Make sure they understand your tag line, mission& vision statement