Impressions, engagement, attributions, SEM, SE—OH my! There are so many marketing terms that navigating the BS can be difficult. If you don’t know what you are actually buying, how can you hold your marketing agency accountable? I’m going to unpack some “marketing agency mysteries” so that you, the client, can hold your agency accountable or avoid getting taken advantage of.
Throw a rock, hit a marketing agency. We are almost as abundant as Starbucks these days, but what makes them different? How do you know what type of agency to pick?
Here are a few things to consider when working with a Marketing Agency
First, find out what their specialty is. There are digital agencies, media buying agencies, branding agencies, etc. Start at the top – the head of the agency is a good indicator as to what kind of agency you are hiring. If their experience is on data analytics or heavier on the creative side, it is highly likely their team is built around that practice area.
Be wary of an agency that says they can do it all. They may tell you they have expert SEO, PPC, branding on staff. Unless you are an enterprise organization paying out the nose for your monthly agency retainer, you are not getting an expert in each of those practice areas. I would also not be surprised that in a large agency you aren’t getting the executive expertise either. You are likely going to be brought in by the expert and passed to a fresh-out-of-college account manager to handle your account.
You deserve more out of your marketing retainer.
We’ve found, the best agencies are those that specialize in a practice area. At HAVEN, we have a small internal team of mavens, but we leverage the expertise of specific practice area mavens (experts) to pull in on retainers or projects as needed. With this method, our clients get expert strategic advice and avoid paying for overly inflated salaries and the enormous overhead from a big-box agency. Seriously, someone is paying for those creative pods, the in-house coffee shop, and the fancy grass walls and it’s not the agency owner. Our overhead savings is passed along to our clients.
How does the agency measure success?
KPIs (key performance indicators) are important. Set specific measurable goals when you first hire an agency. Know what you need out of the investment to get a return. Identify success actions (website form downloads, increased engagement) that lead to a closed deal. Then ask your agency how they can help you to reach those goals. The right agency won’t promise they can double your lead count, they might even push back on the goals you’ve set, but that is good because you want your agency to be a trusted advisor and do what is right for your brand. Be wary of an agency that promises unrealistic expectations it’s likely they won’t be able to deliver.
Check out their work, ask about their process, discover how they communicate and how they manage multiple projects. How do they ensure on-time delivery? What industries do they work with? Do they have knowledge in your market?
Have more questions? Shoot me an email. I’d be happy to share industry insight to help you navigate the agency world.
Oh – and in case you were curious, HAVEN is a branding agency. We specialize in community branding. We create (or recreate) brands and helping them launch to build awareness and create a community of loyalists.