Deciding to use a marketing agency can be a bold step, but certainly one that should pay big dividends – providing of course that you opt to work with an agency that’s a great fit for your team and able to deliver results.
There are multiple advantages of utilising an agency rather than opting for an in-house marketing team, or to complement your existing marketing department; from a cost saving benefit (no holiday pay, sickness or pensions to factor in as with employed staff) to using expert resources that would be difficult to find in-house for the same cost.
Most agencies have staff working across multiple skillsets, who are experts in their particular skill. For example, a full service marketing agency might have a graphic designer, a copywriter, a social media marketer, a digital marketing specialist and a PR specialist. To hire all those skills in-house would be expensive, but by employing a marketing agency you can access all those skills for a reasonable monthly retainer.
But what exactly makes a good marketing agency, and what should you look for during the hiring process?
Building a good rapport with your marketing agency is key, as they’ll become an extension of your team and will need to work fairly closely with you and your colleagues in both the initial stages of getting to understand your business and as the relationship progresses.
During the pitching process it’s important to meet with the agency – and ideally the team you’ll be working with – to better understand how they work.
Perhaps even more important than a good rapport with your agency is their repertoire, or services offered. How will they help your business to grow, and what types of activity can they deliver to get you there? Is there a specific activity you’re looking for, e.g. social media or PR, and do they have proven experience and results in that area?
Can they advise you on which marketing activities will likely lead to the best results? For example, if it’s direct sales you’re looking for, a regular email campaign could be ideal, but if you’re looking to attract investors you might want to seek press coverage that showcases your company and adds prestige to your operations.
During the pitching process ensure the agency talks you through their skillset and the activities they feel would most benefit your company.
You’ll also want to decide whether to opt for an agency that specialises in your business area. If you’re a manufacturer you’ll likely want to employ a specialist B2B marketing agency that has worked with companies like yours, rather than an agency which typically works with B2C clients or consumer goods.
A great rapport and a great repertoire are important, but so too are results. Do ask the agency who they’ve previously worked with, and how they’ve helped their clients to grow.
Do they have any pre-prepared case studies they can talk you through, with details of KPIs like ROI, increased sales, or customer engagement figures? Will any of their existing clients offer a testimonial outlining their thoughts on the working relationship and results the agency has delivered?
When working with an agency it’s important to keep in touch with the team and also be kept up to date with the activity they’ve carried out for you and the results they’ve achieved. For example, if they’re delivering a PPC advertising campaign, what was the CTR? Or if they’re managing your social media platforms how many likes and engagements do the channels receive each month?
There are various reporting methods that can be used, but you’ll want to know the return you’re receiving on your marketing budget. Likewise a good agency will be totally transparent about the work they’re undertaking for you, how successful it’s been based on pre-agreed metrics, and will touch base with you regularly so you’re in the loop.
With a number of marketing agencies out there, it’s important to choose one who will benefit your business. Get in touch to find out if Sugar Marketing is the right fit to energise your marketing machine.