Talking to new client prospects is always enlightening as we learn about their needs, their challenges, and their vision. Hiring a marketing firm can be daunting, and it forces you to organize your thoughts and goals. The list of considerations is based on each business, and here are some key topics.
Can you build a relationship that is based on trust? This is an intangible asset that is hard to determine and may be based more on intuition. Do you get clear answers to pressing questions? Can you understand the answers? At its best, your agency is a relationship, and one that can navigate occasional bumps in the road.
Do you have one or two primary contacts who are responsive to your needs? Having one person who is your account lead is a best practice, with a secondary person as a back-up for specialized projects or vacation coverage. This enables you to achieve a level of continuity and maintain efficiency.
How many of your needs would be handled in-house, and how many will be sub-contracted? This is not to criticize subcontracting! Every agency has to seek outside help for something. What you want to consider is the percentage of that work that will be done in-house. If 80% of your needs are covered in house and 20% are subbed out, that’s reasonable. If it’s a 40%-60% split, it may not be a practical partnership.
Your Agency should:
Educate you. If you have concerns about your website performance, or are wondering how to manage Google reviews, these are topics your marketing firm should be able to enlighten you on. Depending on the type of support you seek, you may or may not want answers to all the burning questions. If you just want your agency to handle it, great! But if you want to learn the hows and whys, your agency should be able to give you coherent answers.
Partner with you. Does your agency care about the things you care about? Are they willing to meet you halfway in negotiating a budget? They should have a healthy appreciation for your goals while also providing feedback on the barriers.
Push you forward. Sometimes clients are addressing their immediate needs, and not necessarily envisioning growth. Spending a client’s budget requires zero ingenuity; an agency partner should be inclined to push you to the next level. If your agency provides tactics – and incentives – to envision a loftier goal, it’s a good sign.
Show value on your invoices. Whether you’re paying a monthly retainer or paying an hourly rate, there should be some indication on the invoice of what services you are being charged for. In general, you shouldn’t be receiving an invoice with a payment due and no description of services.
Hiring an agency to support your marketing efforts may feel daunting. Take the time to prioritize your needs and interview several firms. Ask all the questions. You deserve to have a partner who will help you realize your vision. Contact us at 316.262.6066 when you are ready to discuss your marketing needs!