In part one of this blog series, we presented six key questions to ask your marketing agency in the early stages. Today, let’s look at five more discussions to have before signing the dotted line.
7. What do you consider success?
A good agency has the ability to assess a situation and explain, in clear language, what success will look like in your specific case. Furthermore, a legitimate agency will explain these considerations up front so that you can clearly see and understand the value of your investment. A good agency will explain that the definition of success varies tremendously depending on a host of factors. In some cases, where competition is fierce for instance, a 0.5% increase in sales could be considered a substantial achievement. In other cases, a goal of increasing brand awareness by 40% may be aiming too low. In each case, a good agency will walk you through the factors that affect your definition of success and explain why the goals you set are too high, too low, or just right.
8. What do you see as my role in this partnership?
How active would you like to be in your marketing campaign? Some clients want daily contact with their agency. Others prefer the hands-off approach and let the agency work with minimal client direction. In either case, a good agency will work with you to determine your preferred style of partnership. Agencies realize that, ultimately, things will be done according to the specifications of their clients. However, all clients need to recognize that a legitimate agency will tell you when your ideas are askew or less effective than they could be. Good marketers are professionals with experience in their areas of expertise. Developing a good, healthy partnership may take time, but it is worth the effort. Decide how involved you want to be, and leave the rest to the experts in your chosen agency. In short, ask yourself if you trust the marketing firm. If not, find an agency that you know will tell you the hard truths and share in the victories.
9. How long before we start seeing results?
A variety of factors will determine the strategic timeframe, such as preparations, analyses, and refinements. Most marketers will need some time to compile your message, set up a plan, and begin creating all of the tools necessary for your success. Your agency should tell you what they expect this “ramp-up” period to be. Some of this will be determined by the amount of work you want the agency to do on your behalf. Other factors are more volatile: Actions of competitors; the national, state, and local economy; changing governmental regulations; and even cultural events all affect when you may see results. Furthermore, remember that even the best marketing agency cannot predict the future. This is why it’s best to select a marketing partner that exhibits the flexibility and creativity to continually assess situations and make changes when necessary. While no one knows what may happen in the forthcoming months, a good marketing agency observes trends, researches likely and possible problems, and anticipates issues before they occur. Consequently, a legitimate marketing group will be able to summarize the situation and provide a basic overview of which results you should expect and when. They will clearly explain the rationale behind the decisions and the expected timeframe for success. If your agency can’t answer these questions, look elsewhere.
10. How long will the proposed strategy take to roll out?
A good marketing partner should clearly explain timeframes for roll out. Some marketing strategies are multi-tiered and require collaboration with programmers, web designers, researchers, and media outlets before full implementation. Other strategies require a few hours of graphic design and a simple request sent to a printer. If you make changes to the scope or requirements, help reset due dates and internal expectations at your own company. A good agency will leave you confident and knowing that your organization’s marketing needs are in good hands.
11. What elements will be required from me (the client)—and when?
Some clients like to take a hands-on approach and be heavily involved with the entire marketing process. For some nuanced strategies, this might be necessary. Yet other projects involve very little client involvement. Whichever description best suits your situation, you should never feel blindsided by requests for material. A good partner will discuss the level of client involvement ahead of time so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Undoubtedly, even the best laid plans suffer disruptions—the best agency/client relationship is one of symbiosis, built on open and honest lines of communication. Even after agreements have been reached, you should feel free to call or email and ask about the status of your project or share concerns or new ideas. And you should be able to walk away from a conversation feeling reaffirmed and confident that your chosen marketers are professional and have your best interests in mind.
Choosing a marketing partner is a big step. 212 Media Studios wants to help make the decisions easier. Whether you are unhappy with your current agency or are looking to outsource your marketing for the first time, give us a call. We’ve developed a reputation for operating with honesty, professionalism, and integrity.
212 Media Studios is a fully equipped marketing agency—we can take on any size of project from a single brochure to a multi-level, multi-year strategy. We work with large companies, small companies, and everything in between. We can do as little or as much as you want and will involve you at a level of your choosing. We will offer advice for your own marketing plans or take on your entire project. We will be forthright about what we expect to happen and explain why our recommendations are sound and backed by research into the latest technological, cultural, and sociological trends. We are strategic, and never make decisions by guessing. We will explain, with as much detail as you desire, why we believe our strategies will work and result in positive outcomes for you and your organization.
Most importantly, our track record speaks for itself. There is no substitute for experience, and we have decades of proof. Marketing is serious business, and we are serious marketers. Give us a call today to learn how a partnership with 212 Media Studios can set your mind at ease by knowing that you have a friendly, professional, legitimate agency working for you.