No matter how good your product or the service you are offering is, it will not build up the profile it deserves unless it stands out amongst its competitors in the marketplace. In fact, a good marketing campaign can be such a boon to your business that having the right marketing agency working for you can make all the difference between success and failure. As such, it is worthwhile spending some time reviewing several agencies in order to select one that matches your business needs best. In order to do this it is a good idea to determine exactly what kind of marketing you need. Here are a few areas to consider:
# Whether you are seeking a total re-branding of your image or concentrating on specific areas. Equally, whether you want to make adjustments to already well established products and services or create a slogan or logo for new brands. Issues such as the size and pedigree of the agency play a part here, as a large agency might be better equipped to create an entirely new image for you while a younger, smaller agency could have more imaginative ideas for a new product launch.
# Decide whether you are looking to branch out into a new market or generate greater awareness in an existing market. You might, for instance, want to appeal to a younger or more sophisticated audience or feel your existing market share could be increased in areas where you have traditionally done well. In either case it is worth reviewing the marketing agencys experience of working in your particular field and whether the agency has the sufficient number of contacts to be able to reach your audience. If you are looking to increase consumer awareness of a new range of soaps, say, will the agencys experience of launching a wholescale campaign for a bathroom fitting company have any relevance? What works for one audience might not necessarily work for another, so ask questions about what sort of campaign suits your product and try to discern whether you are given generic answers or your particular needs are taken into consideration.
# Identify whether it is the content or the form of your marketing that requires attention. In other words, are you trying to develop particular associations for your products or services so they become immediately recognisable to consumers? Or do you feel the channels by which your message is being broadcast are inadequate and need improving? It is no good hiring a marketing agency fizzing with great ideas but without the infrastructure to be able to implement them.
The above points should help you identify which services you want the marketing agency to perform. Inevitably, different agencies will have different strengths and weaknesses, so pay close attention to how much experience they have of the kind of marketing you want done and the amount of success they have had in similar campaigns in the past.
It is always a good idea to keep your eyes open for campaigns that impress you and call up the marketing department of the company to ask who handled their campaign and what it was like working with them. Equally, ask ex-clients of marketing agencies you are particularly interested in what their experience of working with the agency was. Was the agency proactive and did it tailor the campaign to suit specific needs, or was there an impression that the agency provided standard generic solutions to specific problems?
Once you have narrowed your search down to two or three marketing agencies, there are a number of more specific questions to consider:
1. Identify who would be in charge of your account and establish whether the account manager will stay with you for the duration of the campaign or a more junior account manager will take over once the campaign is up and running. Ideally you want to be working with the same team from start to finish.
2. Ascertain how frequently the account manager will give you updates about the progress of the campaign, including the costs incurred and any customer feedback received. Before the campaign even begins make sure that there are no hidden expenses and there is a system in place to determine how the campaign is going.
3. It is a good idea to ask the prospective marketing agency to formulate a trial campaign to determine how well you work together, what procedure the agency follows, how closely it listens to your requirements and how proactive it is. For instance, assess how the agency would handle the possibility of handling specific customer promotions and loyalty schemes that would give your company more personality, or request that they develop a sales strategy for one of your latest products.
Once you have taken the steps outlined in this article you should have a better idea of the kind of marketing agency that is suitable for your kind of campaign. All that remains now is to be diligent when drawing up a contract about what you are getting and what you are not and whether the terms of payment include any performance guarantees. The very best of luck, and heres hoping you choose a marketing agency you can have a long and fruitful partnership with.