In my previous two articles where we looked at “Whether your business is ready for a Marketing & Advertising Agency” and “The Different Types of Marketing & Advertising Agencies”, we tried to lay foundation for business owners to understand whether, why and when they need to engage with a Marketing & Advertising Agency.
In this article we will close the series with 6 important questions to ask before hiring the agency.
In order of priority
1) Are they current?
It’s a known fact that technology and in turn marketing techniques are evolving rapidly.
With the recent change in social media algorithms, the organic reach is on a steady decline. Since this change, organic reach of unpaid posts of businesses on social media has dropped by almost 75% (various sources).
Look at their recent work, study whether they adopt multiple channels, latest apps & tools, have fresh new ideas. Look at their case studies, what was the problem statement and how did they tackle it, did it help the client stand out from their competitors?
2) Do they use multiple marketing channels?
This usually is a given and most of them do, but no harm in finding out whether they do so. In this rapidly changing technology environment, an agency should be utilizing every possible channel or be capable of utilizing them when needed. An agency that is not familiar with certain tools, apps and channels should be a point of concern. Multiple channels allow you to
- Reach a wider audience
- Increase brand awareness
- Target potential customers
- Increase sales opportunities
- Help you create a consistent coherent marketing strategy
- Identify and fill gaps in marketing reach
3) Do they’ve proactive reporting?
Reporting the progress of every project or campaign without you having to chase them is supreme. For your business to run like a well oiled machine, you need timely reports and inputs from all departments, especially when its a third party.
The agency should not only send you regular reports but suggest methods to optimize current practices, if any, to improve results.
Connect with few of their clients to understand how they work and interact.
4) Do they’ve internal accountability?
When you usually hit a road block, its due to an internal miscommunication. Some agencies resort to blame game internally and wash their hands off the problem saying, they’ll solve it. This occurs due to lack of a hierarchy in small to medium agencies. Despite having a client servicing team and a proper structure, they falter in communicating internally and in turn to you.
The agency you hire must have a proper structure in place with people accountable for each step. And for every roadblock, there has to be one person accountable. If they have multiple resources pitching in, that’s a red flag.
This unofrtunately is a latent issue and surfaces only once you are deep into the partnership, so talk to their clients, spend sometime with the team, get to know them, see how they operate and if possible, manage a project. So the earlier the better.
5) Are they excited about your business?
This is a trait very few agencies possess. Most of them work with clients and treat them as just another customer. Whereas really good agencies, are;
- Excited about your business, industry and offering
- Go the extra mile and give you insights you never knew of or didn’t expect them to share
- Suggest a strategy in the very first meeting on how both entities can work as a family to take your business to the next level
That should be the team you want to work with. Someone as fired up as you to make this a success.
6) What does your gut say?
Finally, your gut feeling. Entrepreneurs and business owners possess a strange quality when it comes to business decisions. Majority of the actionable decisions are made based on insights, facts, KPIS, market data and measurable metrics, but besides this, the most successful companies in the world are built on the gut feelings of the respective entrepreneur.
All the best.
By Mithun Chandra
Business Head – Tatopo Digital