You’d think because companies most likely know what they need done, they’ll automatically know who they need to hire to do it.
If you think so, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that the average client-agency relationship lasts less than three years! Where in the process of choosing a marketing firm to work with are you likely going wrong as a company?
The fact that most of the client-agency relationships end in failure and frustration is a good reason to revisit the process of how a marketing agency is hired in the first place.
Here are a few things to pay attention to:
What is Their Specialty?
What are your marketing objectives, and how are you prioritizing them? Knowing this will help you know which marketing agency best aligns with your goals.
Choosing marketing agencies that specialize in areas you also intend to focus on will help lower the possibilities of disappointment as they’re likely going to be skilled in the right areas. For a comprehensive list of some of the best agencies in the UK, you can shortlist those that best fit what you’re looking for.
Generating leads and optimising your website are connected tasks that require different skill sets. Look for those kinds of nuances as you’re looking through the profiles of your potential marketing agencies. The team’s skills will have to be even stronger if you require an agency that can handle your whole marketing function or handle skill-specific techs like marketing automation.
Just make sure your goals align with the skills they bring to the table.
Appropriate Understanding of your Sector
You’re not looking for an expert in your industry. An agency’s expertise is marketing. Your industry is your forte.
But, while you aren’t looking for experts in your industry, marketing agencies need to have a good understanding of it. They shouldn’t be clueless about who your target market is and the best channels and messages to use.
The Right Size and Culture
If you’re a small to medium-sized business, choosing a big agency will probably affect your intended results adversely. The reasons are almost obvious: There are bigger companies that want the same services from the same agency and are willing to pay more. In this case, you might find that a big company will not prioritise you that much.
A disadvantage of choosing big agencies is the that they tend to use the bait and switch approach. Not always, but you should be careful when they do.
This is when they bring you the big bosses for the pitch and switch to the juniors when it’s time for the actual job to be done. Working with a small firm might be advantageous as you usually get to work with the whole team from the bottom all the way up.
It’s important, too, after all this has been said and done, to consider if a marketing firm will be a good cultural fit for your business. You’re not just hiring a team. It’s coming in to become an integral extension of your company. How best does the team’s values reflect yours?
Were you impressed by your intended hire’s website testimonials? Well, you’re better off taking those with a grain of salt. Those are, after all, posted there by the very people the company is supposed to evaluate. In some cases, those testimonials are results of deals between agencies and clients for clients to give good testimonials in exchange for free work!
Here’s a better way to go about it: Ask to see what they’ve done before. In this era of accountability, metrics are always key. What have they achieved in similar or slightly similar circumstances? Do they seem aware of trends in the industry that your business might need?
For good measure, you can even ask for any of their previous clients’ contact details so that you can hear what a third party might have to say.
How They Measure Client Success
As a way of measuring client success, what key performance indicators (KPIs) does the marketing agency use? Examples of KPIs are:
- Click-through rate – Click-through rate is the number of clicks you receive divided by the number of times your content is displayed (impressions)
- Time on page – This one refers to how long it takes for a visitor to move on to the next page after arriving on a specific one.
- Bounce rate- This calculates the sessions that begin and end on the same page.
- Cost-per-click – This will focus on measuring how much you’re paying for every click made on your ad.
- Returning, unique, and new visitors – This will analyze the nature and composition of your website visitors. Has it changed or grown? Is it broadening to touch a new market segment?
Fees Vs. Your Budget
What’s their monthly, hourly, or per-project fee? How close is it to what you had in mind when you thought of hiring a marketing agency?
Remember to always let your budget reflect the rigor your project requires and the goals you set for the project. When dealing with top-tier marketing agencies, even though the fees might be higher, there will still be discrepancies in every agency, and you best consider those differences in your decision-making.
Take care not to fall into the trap of choosing a firm simply because it charges less. In marketing, as in almost everything else, you usually get what you pay for, so you should pay for what you need!
When looking for a marketing agency, it’s best to do so with the bigger picture in mind. The longer you keep your agency, the better. Hiring a new agency is both tedious and expensive, so you’ll want to get it right the first time.
You can limit the chances of your failure in making this decision through how well you plan for it. The first thing you should do is to look at your goals. These goals will help you choose a firm that has the right skill set to deliver.
Your ideal marketing agency will also have an adequate understanding of your average customer, the media through which to connect with them, and the messages they’re most likely to respond to. Size is also a factor to consider. Smaller agencies are preferable, especially if you’re a small business.
Check if their track record supports their claims and the metrics they intend to use to measure their results. Then lastly, in light of all these factors, do their fees reflect the level of expertise they expect to bring? Does the amount match your budget?