Qualifications are Everything
When choosing your marketing partner, it is absolutely imperative you do your research just like you would in the process of hiring an executive level employee. Throughout the pitching process, agencies will give you their top-tier, high-quality work, but it’s important to ask questions beyond their prepared deck to ensure the agency you’re considering has the qualifications and depth of experience needed to best market your brand and lead you to success.
Take a look at qualifications
In every successful marketing agency, there’s a diverse team making the wheels of the agency turn. Likely, a marketing team is comprised of professionals in the following fields:
- Account Management
- Creative and Design
- Marketing Strategy
- Digital Marketing (Web, SEO, Apps, etc)
When meeting with a potential agency, ask them what departments they have in-house. If they leave off any of the above, be sure to clarify if the agency has solid relationships with accomplished professionals in that field. That way, you’re able to confidently know the agency has the means necessary to fulfill all your marketing needs without outsourcing overseas or to unknown resources. When asking about an agency’s team, having key leaders in the company with marketing education AND experience makes a big difference. This combination produces agencies that know what they’re doing.
Check individual resumes
Another important piece of advice is to never let relationships keep you from checking out qualifications. Don’t take the easy way out just because you have an established relationship with someone in the agency. Take the time to research individual team members, their background and experience. Pay attention to the number of relevant years of experience each team member has as well as that team’s tenure. In addition to years of experience, advanced degrees and experience outside their current agency can pack a powerful punch in the work they do. Double-check that they carry the qualifications necessary to deliver high execution that will truly move the needle for your company.
Established processes are key
Don’t be afraid to ask your potential marketing partner what their internal processes look like. Many people say they “do marketing” but in reality, marketing has become a trendy term used by freelance graphic designers, writers, social media dabblers and videographers as a promotional tactic. If they really “do marketing” then they will be able to walk you through each step of their marketing process giving you clarity into each discipline, what they do and how they do it.
In every marketing process, strategy needs to be the starting point. As I mentioned in the first blog of this series, marketing should begin with a long-term goal in mind. Once you’ve identified and settled on what success looks like, then the marketing experts can provide you with a strategy to reach it. But, if there’s execution without a strategy, you may be spending a lot of time and money on tactics that will never lead you to your end goal.
Examine their work portfolio
Similar to hiring an employee, an agency’s resume matters! Researching and examining beyond work samples provided by an agency allows you to truly grasp the type of work they do. Visit their website and social media channels to learn more about the clients they work with. Then, consider the following: Do their current and past clients align with your business at all? Are their design and content unique to each brand, or does it all look and sound the same? Do you believe they have the expertise and talent needed to deliver on your vision? These are all important questions to ask yourself when you reach this stage in your search for a marketing partner.
When picking the marketing agency that best fits your business, qualifications are everything. Click to read Part One and Part Two from this series, and be on the lookout for Part 4 & 5 coming soon!