When getting started with a communications or marketing agency, there are a few things every potential client considers. Scope of work, price of services, and experience of the team are all good to take into account – but what else should you ask?
Here are five questions to ask – your “Getting Started Guide” – when selecting an agency for your next RFP or project:
What experience do they have working in your industry?
There are many options when it comes to agencies who can perform public relations, marketing, social media, or digital services. But the list gets considerably smaller when you consider each agency’s experience working in the industry you serve. If your business is tourism, consider agencies that have worked with tourism clients in the past. Chances are they’ll already know the trends and have relationships with media covering that beat. So they’ll hit the ground running with a faster ramp-up time than a team that is new to the industry. With less to learn up front, their focus can be on learning the specifics of your business instead.
Is their client portfolio a conflict of interest, or a possible benefit?
While researching their industry, take a look at an agency’s client portfolio to see the current businesses they serve. Consider – could any of these companies be a conflict of interest to your brand, or is it a possible benefit? Agencies that work with multiple destinations, for instance, could use that to their advantage when pitching writers. It allows them to talk about multiple story angles and become a resource for writers comes back to. On the other hand, if you’re in direct competition with a brand already represented by that marketing agency, it might make sense to look elsewhere for your marketing needs.
Are you looking for a Generalist, or a Specialist?
There are agencies out there that work across multiple industries – and they are good at what they do. And there are agencies that specialize in a single industry or type of promotion with deep knowledge of that particular field. Know what you are looking for when you start your search, as both have their advantages. A generalist shop will have more single-client relationships less likely to be in competition with your brand. A specialist agency will have a level of in-depth industry knowledge that could provide added benefit to your business.
Is size a factor?
Size should play a role when hiring your next agency – but whether a small shop of, say, six people, or a large agency of 100+ is right for you all depends. Do you want everything done in house? This would allow one marketing agency to manage all of your promotions under one roof, providing consistency among all of your marketing efforts. Or, are you looking for differing perspectives and input? Contracting with several small shops who collaborate together could allow for more idea-sharing, and stronger campaigns overall.
What kind of relationship are you looking for?
Perhaps the most important of these factors, is to consider the relationship you want to have, and the personality traits of your next team. Will they be a fit for you and your business? At Break the Ice Media, we created a client avatar, outlining our ideal client and the relationship we would have with each other. We considered factors like the programs they run, how “hands on” they would or would not be, the kinds of work and results they value, etc. Consider these factors on the client side as well – what are the expectations and needs when it comes to your next marketing agency? Establishing trust and comfort with your marketing team is essential for true success to happen.