You've hired a marketing agency or are at least considering it. That's great; it means that you can see the business value in investing in marketing activities. That's no easy first step, especially for a traditional B2B business that relies heavily on its sales team.
That said, it's important that you discuss what you are looking for from an agency and compare that to how they operate and add value. This isn't just a one-time conversation either. Relationships with external vendors need to be managed on an ongoing basis, so make sure you're communicating what you need from each other to do the best work you possibly can.
A Good Marketing Agency Gets Stuff Done
If you are hiring an agency, there's a good chance you have some great ideas but don't have the internal resources to make them come to life. A marketing agency should be chosen based on the skill-set they provide; let them step in where you have gaps. Common competencies that you would expect to see in a good marketing agency include:
- Project management
- Campaign management
- Creative design
Beyond what they're capable of doing, you also need to look into what the agency knows. A good marketing agency will have specialized expertise in running campaigns, whether that's on various digital platforms like Google AdWords, email, or social media, or offline media like print publications and out-of-home.
A Great Marketing Agency Integrates Into Your Processes
It's one thing to tell an agency what you need, but a great marketing agency will get in the weeds with you and see what you need. If an agency can understand how you work (the good and the bad), they can adjust their approach and deliverables to better fill those gaps we talked about earlier. A great agency will make your job easier, and take things off your plate.
There's also a technical aspect to a great integration: a marketing agency should have access to data to inform their best work. They also should be closing the feedback loop and bringing data back into the organization to advise future decisions, even outside of marketing.
A great agency will crave being more than just an external vendor. Don't forget that you're giving them your business, and so your success is intrinsically tied to theirs. If that doesn't get them excited to create a closer working relationship, that should be a sign.
An Excellent Marketing Agency Provides Strategic Direction for Your Business
The best agency relationship any company can hope for is one that makes your business more successful and enables your employees to do their best work. At this point, your agency feels less like an external vendor and more like they are an extension of your team. And like any team, the advice and feedback flows both ways.
An excellent marketing agency will point out areas in your business that could be optimized. They will extend their thinking beyond the tasks at hand and look to what is coming in the future so that, together, you can prepare your business for success.
This requires not only the right skills, but also the insight that comes from close integration. A client-agency relationship can't reach this level without the first two areas and a great amount of respect and trust in each other. So in your quest to find an excellent marketing agency, make sure you're asking the questions to see if they can provide these services, and also be open to the possibilities they can help you realize.
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