Marketing Agency – what should you look for?

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First of all why choose a marketing agency?

Being a marketing agency in Darlington, we thought we would look at the things your business should consider when searching for a marketing agency. The day to day of running of a business is time consuming. As a business owner or manager you thrive in honing your business offer and reaching more customers.

There are so many “need-to-do’s” that sometimes you don’t get around to the “would like to do’s”. Or at least do not get enough time to give them the attention that you would like too. At this point companies may bring in external organisations such as marketing agencies. They may develop a website, lead their social media or deliver a marketing campaign. Here are some pointers on what to look for when engaging a marketing agency.

1. What are your customer’s needs?

Before approaching a marketing agency, list your “would like to do’s” and identify how this will help your potential customers. For Example: You may want to develop your website. This would help your customers by making it easier to find via search and providing them with a positive user experience (also known as UX) when they use your site. The key consideration when speaking to a marketing agency is to discuss what their capabilities around website design. What technical expertise can they put into your site to improve it in those ways. (also see SEO featured in “4. Track Record” below)

Another example would be: you want to develop customer relations in the hope developing a good relationship and potentially increasing your rates of repeat purchase. This route could look at social media marketing, an agency will post content and engage with your customers on your behalf. The key consideration here is to ensure that the agency have a clear grasp and understanding of your business, products and/or services. Also how would they engage your new and existing customers and what would be their strategy?

If your customers (or potential customers) attention is in a particular space, platform or location you need to identify this with the agency. The agency will be able to develop a strategy and identify ways in which they will reach this audience.

Make sure to question the agency on their recommendations. A good start point is checking to see if their answers focus on how their services will best serve your customers rather than themselves.

2. Budget

Whether you want to approach the agency with a budget, that is up to you. However, before you engage an agency in discussions regarding their services make sure you have some ideas in mind in how much budget you are willing to spend. Equally consider what your expectations are once the work is ongoing or complete. Bear in mind the different types of services will result in different types of cost. For example daily social media services will differ to a website and build and therefore a logo design. All of these elements hold different value to different businesses so consider where the different marketing elements sit within your own priorities.

3. How many recommendations are too many?

Many agencies can offer a plethora of marketing options and solutions. Many people may also tell you need to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr and the list can go on and on – you get the idea. Commissioning these platforms with a company is great and can really build your business. Take a moment to consider whether you do need to be on all of them. Do you have capacity in the long term to deliver on these platforms? A few social media platforms done well is better than a lot of social media platforms done poorly.

Equally do you need the latest “SEO package” for your website or would just weekly, monthly or quarterly website updates do the job? All of these answers in short are subjective; it depends on your circumstances, priorities and customer’s needs.

4. Track Record

When meeting with marketing agencies ask them to give you examples of work they have done. If they are offering you Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) package, they should be able to support this with evidence. They should be able to talk you through their process in a simple way that leaves you with a clear idea on how the do it, ask them about their results. Many marketing agencies are unseen as they are work under a client’s brand and use their channels and platforms. Whilst they may not be able to share confidential client information they may be able to show you examples of clients they have worked with, so you can look at the content produced on their channels.

5. Legacy 

Legacy can seem like a daft thing to say when looking at an agency. Marketing is an ongoing activity for a business, consider whether you would like to work with the agency in the long term rather than just the short term.. If a company build you a website you may need or want to make periodic changes how will that relationship be in the long term and what are the fees they would charge. Is this relevant for you? It may not be, but it is still worth a consideration

There is a lot to consider when recruiting a marketing agency, no business, situation or solution is the same. Stick to the core principles of your business. Think how to best serve your customers and you will certainly be in the right starting place to take your business forward.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does a Marketing Agency do?

A marketing agency supports organisations and businesses with their marketing. This can range from logo and graphic design to website design and delivery of marketing activities. The may run a client’s social media channels to support the business marketing.

Marketing however is not just digital, a marketing agency will look at your business and customers and will put strategies in place to support business growth.

What is Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is where social media channels are used for the promotion of business/organisations. With a high numbers of the population using social media it is a great place to raise awareness about your business.

A marketing agency will run your social media channels on behalf of your organisation. A marketing agency will create a social media strategy and develop the creative – images and pictures to go with it.

What is Marketing collateral?

Marketing collateral is the materials that support the marketing activities. This could be anything from a range of images, to leaflets or even digital content such as a website.