You’ve decided to take the next step in growing your business and work with a marketing agency. Maybe you’ve put out a request for proposals, or you could be getting recommendations from other businesses.But there may be lots of agencies in your area, and they might specialize in very similar services. It’s a tough choice to make. And it’s one that you want to get right. That’s why we’re happy to share some pointers on what makes a good agency partner.
You value the same things.
We like to say that an agency is an extension of your marketing team (or that it’s your marketing department, if you don’t have one of your own). Either way, your agency should feel like part of your business.Ask the agency about their brand values. If they don't align with yours, you might feel like the agency doesn’t “get you,” and a strained working relationship might be in your future. If they do align, though, you can trust your agency to do the right thing for your business because they’ll feel like part of it.
You get along.
Getting along with someone in a professional setting isn’t about being friends, although that’s a nice side effect. It’s about being able to work together toward a common goal where no one feels left behind, unheard, or out of sync. In short, you’re partners.The right agency will work hard to understand your business and your needs. You’ll get to meet the people you’ll be working with early in the project. You’ll have a dedicated point of contact who works with you to achieve your goals. They’ll keep you updated about budget, deliverables, and timelines, and they’ll be realistic about all of those things.
They have a good track record.
Your agency should have plenty of experience doing what you want them to do for you. This doesn’t just mean being able to name-drop recognizable brands, though. They should have measurable results to back up their projects and prove that each one was a success.The best agencies have plenty of case studies available online that you can review, as well as a roster of happy clients with good things to say about them. If you’re seriously thinking about working with an agency, they should be able to give you client references, employee resumes, or a portfolio of similar project work.
They have the resources to do it right.
When you’re planning a project with lots of moving parts—say, a rebrand, a new website, and a marketing campaign—it’s easiest to do it all in one place. If you go to a different agency for each part of the project, you’re less likely to get the cohesive result you’re looking for. So ideally your agency would be able to do all the work you need, or at the very least manage it for you.An all-in agency may also have relationships with media buyers, event planners, PR folks, and influencers who can make your job easier and open up opportunities you hadn’t thought of before. For example, media buyers could be able to hook you up with any discounts they get from buying ad space in bulk. That can come in handy if you’re on a tight budget.
They’ll work with your budget.
Price is a factor in any business relationship, but it shouldn’t be the only factor. If one agency checks all your boxes except for the price tag, talk to them. They might be able to make the most of your budget, reduce the scope of the project, and help you in the way you need.For a website, this could mean prioritizing what you really need and building out fewer custom features. With a marketing campaign, the agency could check in regularly to see what’s working and what isn’t, then reallocate your budget for better results. For design, it means getting multiple quotes from vendors and working within print constraints to get the best value.But don’t ask them to simply charge less for the same amount of work. Like any business, the work costs what it costs. If they know their stuff and they’re doing a great job, the agency’s work is well worth the price of admission. And the value in a good working relationship means fewer mistakes, mix-ups, or stressful situations, which saves you money in the long run.
They have a solid process.
You shouldn’t need to worry about the success of your project when you’re already focusing on running your business. Your agency should be able to handle complex projects with ease and make you feel like you’re in good hands. Usually they can prove this in advance by telling you about their process and how they’ve applied it to other projects in the past.Knowing how they approach a project—and why—can give you insight into how they operate and how they’ll be spending your money. Ask questions about their process up front. For example, what does their discovery process look like? Do they allow for design revisions and feedback? How do they handle challenges or conflict? Will they give you tangible results that you can feel good about?There’s a lot of pressure to pick the right agency partner. By knowing some of the questions to ask and the considerations to watch out for, you can feel a little more confident going into your selection process. Good luck, and happy hunting!If you want to learn more about working with an agency or think a partnership with Habit sounds right up your alley, give us a shout.