Crucial tips for choosing the right Marketing Agency

So you’ve just Googled ‘marketing agency’ in the location you’re looking and pages of results pop up. All types of agencies specialising in different areas of marketing or offering the ‘full service’ – but where do you begin? You click through and most of them seem to have nice websites showcasing images of past work and the ubiquitous ‘funny’ team photos demonstrating what a creative bunch of people they are. Creativity is essential of course, but there’s much, much more to consider before you appoint…

1. Results
An agency that cares about results is an agency that understands the business aspect of marketing. Ultimately as a client you need return on investment, not just pretty advertisements. To see how business focused an agency is ask them about how successful past campaigns and projects were. What did they do? How much did they accomplish? You’ll learn a lot about what an agency thinks is important by what they measure.

2. “Funny” Does Not Always Mean “Money”
Don’t be swayed by a marketing agency just because they produce humorous marketing materials. Just because a campaign is funny doesn’t mean it got any results. It’s always easier to make funny ads than ads that really work. An agency’s portfolio could be full of humor without ever having one piece that was on-strategy and achieved the intended results.

3. Is the ‘Chief’ at the initial meeting?
If senior members of the agency don’t take the time to get to know your business and you as a client from the off, then you’ll know you won’t be an important client.

4. What ‘s their Experience?
Experience is the single most important factor. Not just experience that is suitable for the industry that you operate in, but experience in marketing. A lot of agencies startup with next to no experience in marketing in the ‘real world’ and unless they understand what it’s like to manage a brand or product how are they ever going to come up with the right strategy and thinking behind your next marketing campaign?

You will probably benefit most by working with an agency that has worked in your industry before – ask if you can talk to other clients they’ve worked for in your industry. But have caution when an agency spends too much time working in any single market — there is a very real risk of burnout.

5. Local vs. Long Distance Relationships
The right combination of things you’re looking for in an agency partner might not always be available in your work location. In fact, to find a well-balanced, integrated marketing agency with any significant experience in your industry, you may have to open your search up and look further afield. But if you prefer a more interpersonal, face-to-face interaction with your agency, then look closer to home – sometimes it can make life – an building a strong working relationship – a lot easier.

6. Find out about the agency’s Processes
Ask to see concepts they came up with for another client. How many do they typically come up with? Have them explain which concept was picked and why. See how they feel about revisions. You want to get a sense of their process, and how adept they are at translating strategies into ideas with results.

7. The Account Manager
Who will be your primary point of contact at the agency? Are they a detail-oriented person? How do they manage budgets? Schedules? How will they keep you updated? Do your personalities gel? If you don’t like your account manager (or vice versa), the relationship is doomed from the start.

8. Integrated Marketing Capabilities
If you have a competent in-house team, you may not need a full-service agency for everything. But you definitely want an agency that — at the very least — thinks about all this stuff. Offline media is not dead. In fact, it is very much still a central part of most successful campaigns.

9. Balance
Make sure the agency doesn’t favour one approach or communications channel too heavily. If you deal with an agency who is strong at online marketing, you may, for instance, find that all their solutions include a microsite. But what about traditional media? Will they know how to promote their microsite through offline channels?

10. The Portfolio Isn’t Everything

Beware of agencies who live and die by the “power of creativity,” especially their creativity. There are many agencies who expect to be hired on the strength of their portfolio alone. But you need to remember that their creative output is only one component in creating a healthy, productive partnership.

Need a marketing agency that wants to help your business to succeed?

Cocktail Marketing has been built on a strong strategic ethos which has been earned as marketers in various industries for more than 17 years. The perfect mix of marketing know-how and creative originality, we can help you get to where you want to be. Talk to us today.