In my last post, The Age of B2B Marketing Agencies: Are We Approaching The End?, I discussed whether marketing agencies are still a relevant solution for today’s b2b businesses’ marketing needs. If you are convinced that they are read on, if not, go check out that post first.
This post is for anyone out there that has decided a marketing agency might be a good option for their company, but are unsure of what to look for in an agency. I want to lay out the different things that you should consider in your agency search.
Many agencies focus on serving one industry/vertical or a few. Don’t pick an agency that’s too broad, many times, choosing an agency that’s focused on only your vertical will ensure a better fit. Ask the agency how much experience they have working in your vertical.
Marketing is an increasingly complex practice comprised of a lot of different practices. Some agencies only handle one aspect of marketing. Every agency is going to be stronger in some areas than others. Figure out what your company needs most. While an SEO only agency will most likely be able to produce good results in that one area, successful marketing requires a unified strategy that takes all channels into account.
If you have a specific problem or need, one of these hyper specialized agencies will probably be the best choice. In other situations, find an agency that has a broader understanding of marketing in general, but isn’t spreading itself too thin. In other words, find a T-shaped agency.
Before you hire an agency, you should have a clear idea of what your brand and company culture is and it should be similar/compatible with the agency you hire. If you’re company culture and brand isn’t well defined or needs to be changed, find an agency that you want to model your company after. Chances are if you like they way they handle their company, you’ll like the way they handle yours.
What culture resonates with you? Straight laced, creative, cutting edge, traditional, experienced, something else?
4) Ability to work with others
Many times agencies have to work together to get the best results. If you have one agency handling your overall marketing strategy, you may also need an agency that specializes in social media, SEO or something else. Established agencies will usually have affiliates that they can work with to help them do things outside of their core competencies.
In the process of courting an agency, pay attention to how they communicate. Are they quick to respond? Understand your emails the first time? These things are important to a productive relationship.
How many employees does the agency have? How many affiliates? Have they ever worked with a company of your size? How many people will be working on your project?
Before choosing an agency you definitely want to take a look at their track record. How long have they been around? Have they worked on a project like yours, with a company like yours before? What were the results? Look for measurable results (not just “created a more attractive logo”), and creative problem solving. Who are the people that are going to work on the project? Are they experienced, or brand new to the company?
What software does the agency have experience using? Today, marketing is impossible without software. You might do research on what software you want to use and use it as a criteria for choosing an agency. For example, if you want your website to be built in WordPress for various reasons, and an agency has never built a website in WordPress, maybe they aren’t the best fit.
Every agency will have software that they prefer and software they are unfamiliar with.
8) How results will be measured
Are you hiring an agency to get you more website visits? Higher conversion rates? More leads? More customers? More revenue brought in by marketing? All of the above? Whatever the case may be, the expected deliverable needs to be made clear.
Keep these things in mind when looking for a b2b marketing agency. Want to see what agencies are ranking highest in the search results? Start your agency like everyone else: google “b2b marketing agency” and see who’s ranking highest in your results.