Choosing the right marketing agency for your business is one of the most important decisions you can make. Whether you are a new business trying to get established in your niche or an existing company wanting to grow, knowing the right questions to ask when making a decision about marketing can be the key to a successful campaign. Your money is important, and “the budget you set aside for any strategy needs to be spent in the most productive way possible.” says Jenny Yang, general manager of Magnolia Marketing Communications. Think about what you want to achieve before starting the process of interviewing marketing companies.
When you are ready to launch the search, make sure to ask these questions:
1. Who are the members of the marketing team?
Your business is important to you, and you want to spend your money efficiently, and that means having the right team working on your marketing campaign. Depending on the size of the company, your team should consist of some collaborators from senior to brand new. You should always have a primary point of contact with some expertise and experience that you can phone or email with any questions, but having contact information for everyone on your team is preferable. Ultimately, your decisions are the most important ones, and it is your money being spent, so make sure you ask about the collective experience of your team and make sure you are comfortable trusting them with your business.
2. How is success measured?
Before asking that question of your marketing team, you need to answer that question yourself. What does success look like? Is it the number of leads generated from this campaign? Or are you seeking to create a unique brand in the marketplace? Communication between you and your marketing team should be collaborative on this point. Being the experts in their field, they should be able to tell you what type of success you can expect with the budget you are working with, and also the best way of tracking that success. Ask about software based tracking systems that you might be able to check remotely to keep you in the loop. If part of the campaign is online, then you should be able to track the number of hits your site gets, or the number of clicks a particular link has.
3. What type of marketing suits my needs?
Your marketing strategy should match what your ultimate goal is to enhance your business. Are you planning on doing a marketing blitz for one particular product in the hope of generating quick sales like a holiday promo, or are you looking at a more long-term strategy of educating the public and building their trust gradually? Your target market is the key to how your marketing campaign unfolds. If you are appealing to a younger generation, then social media will need to play a large part. If you are catering to senior citizens, then a paper campaign will be the way to go. Baby boomers can go either way, but their electronic savvy will lean more towards traditional websites than Instagram. Your marketing team should always be consulted when making these decisions as they are the experts. Different techniques will differ greatly in execution and cost, so ask as many questions as possible about the process, so you aren’t surprised by a hefty bill.
4. How much is it going to cost?
Regardless of how large your budget is, you need to answer the previous questions before tackling the issue of cost. You always want to discuss this with your marketing team in the context of your end goal. How can you achieve the success you want with the budget you have? It may not be possible, so these discussions are vital at the beginning of the process. You don’t want to find that halfway through the work, you need to shift gears because you ran out of money. There are several different types of rates a marketing company can charge so ask a lot of questions to find the payment rate that suits you.
Hourly – if you are embarking on a long, education-based campaign, paying for the hours worked on a campaign could get quite costly. If you are looking at a short term campaign that will only take a few hours of time, then it is preferable.
The rate for the whole project – this might be preferable if you have a complex strategy in mind and a team in place to execute it. Depend on the expertise of your marketing team to tell you their experiences with similar campaigns and what the project is likely to cost overall.
Paying by retainer – if you are planning on building a strong partnership with your marketing team over a long period with several campaigns, then a retainer is the best option for payment. The retainer will come at a discounted price, and it involves the promise of both parties to develop a working relationship over a set period. This method develops the collaboration between parties and the campaign is enhanced overall by building on the relationship.
Your relationship with your marketing company can make or break your campaign’s success, so choose wisely and ask a lot of questions before taking the plunge. Consider all of your options regarding the type of marketing strategy and relationship you want with your team. These are important when choosing the right company. Smaller companies tend to develop closer bonds and will usually have one or more senior members working on your campaign, while a larger company will give you the benefit of a wide range of experience to provide advice on. A strong indication of a marketing company’s reliability and quality are past customers, and “any reputable company will have a group of happy clients eager to share their experiences with you. Take the opportunity to reach out to these people and ask them questions about time, cost, and communication. Regardless of the size of the company, make sure there is open communication with everyone involved so that you all understand the goals and the most cost-efficient way of achieving them.