When partnering with a marketing firm, it can be difficult to determine which of your available options is the best fit for your business. If you are looking to outsource your marketing, you will need to be able to filter out the firms that can’t meet the needs of your business and differentiate them from the ones that can deliver the marketing strategy best suited to you. By asking the right questions during your search for a marketing agency, you will be able to find the perfect partner that can deliver the marketing solution that elevates your business above the competition. Asking about the firm’s experience, their project management, expectations, and their marketing teams will give you a clearer view of which firm is best for you.
A firm’s experience gives you an idea of their strengths and what kinds of solutions they provide. Their previous clients and capabilities are important to know so you can get a picture of what sort of solutions they usually deliver and what industries they typically serve. If all of an agencies previous clients are B2B, they may not have the right experience to deliver the best possible B2C solution. Ask about who their previous clients are and what kind of relationship they had with the client. Were they partnered with the customer themselves, or are they a client that was managed by an employee while they worked somewhere else?
It is also important to find out if they have any current clients that operate in the same or similar industry to you. Working with one of your competitors presents a conflict of interest that may prevent them from delivering the best possible outcome for both clients. In this case, it is best to find a different marketing firm to partner with.
Example questions you could ask are:
- Who are your previous clients?
- Are they clients this agency has served, or have your employees served them at different firms?
- Can you provide examples of your firm’s contributions to successful marketing campaigns?
- What are your firm’s capabilities? (Be specific to different areas of marketing e.g., Web design, SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing)
- Do you have any current clients that are in a similar industry to ours? Are there any conflicts of interest that you should declare?
Project management and expectations
Knowing what you expect out of a marketing firm is key to choosing the right partner. But it’s important to know that firms will also have different expectations of clients, with each agency handling accounts and projects differently. You should find out about the details of how your account will be managed and who will be managing it. Having your collaboration run smoothly is dependent on knowing what that collaboration looks like and understanding the responsibilities of each party. You should also be asking for details about communication. When will you meet? Will it be in person or online? How often will this happen and what will be discussed? These are all great questions to begin communicating the expectations of both parties and understand how the project will be managed.
You should also discuss revisions or changes to work. In some of the creative aspects of your project you will have a certain vision that their designers may not nail the first time. Discuss how revisions are made and if there are any limitations to the requests you can make.
Pricing is another factor you need to discuss with any potential marketing partner. You should know not only the total cost of hiring a firm but also when payment is expected and if any additional costs or discounts are possible based on results. Most firms will provide one clear price, but it’s always good to ask to make sure you are getting the best price possible. The firm should provide clear details on what is included in the price.
Some possible questions to ask are:
- How will we communicate?
- When will we meet?
- How often will we meet?
- What form will these meetings take (online, in-person)?
- Who will be working on our account?
- What can I edit for creative work?
- Are there any limitations to revisions or requests?
- What is the cost of hiring your firm?
- Are there any additional costs or fees that we may incur? How are expenses invoiced?
The Marketing Team
It is typical to hire a marketing firm for around 8-12 months, so you are going to be working with them for a while. It’s important to make sure that the people you are going to work with are a good fit for your company. Good work relationships lead to greater chances of success. Questions about the company culture and asking to meet some of the team can help you determine if the firm will be a good fit for your company.
Many marketing firms will outsource part of the work they do to contractors or freelancers. You should know what kind of work is being done by employees of the agency and what work is done by people that aren’t on payroll.
Possible questions you could ask are:
- What is your company culture?
- Can we meet some of the people that will be working on our account?
- What skills do you have on payroll?
- What services do you outsource to contractors or freelancers?
- What sort of relationship do you have with your contractors? How long have you known them?
When hiring a marketing firm to help with or take over your marketing efforts, its important to ask the right questions to find the perfect match for your company. Asking about the firm’s experience, their project management style, expectations, and their marketing team will enable you to make an informed decision about which marketing agency can deliver the best solution for your business. It can be daunting to try and sift through the many options when hiring a marketing firm, especially if you don’t have much or any marketing experience yourself. But by asking the right questions from the beginning of your search, you can put yourself in the best position to partner with the right agency for your needs.
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