What not to do when choosing your marketing agency
I know that clients have to choose a marketing agency somehow, but is it just me, or is the old fashioned pitch process just about the worst way of doing it? Agencies are put through a beauty parade which might be a great showcase for creative, but has very little to do with the day to day essentials of actually getting the job done and delivered intelligently.
If you’re in the process of choosing a marketing agency for your business, here are five of the more common pitfalls that you’d be wise to avoid…
1. Not researching the market
Clients often don’t seem to research which agencies they put onto their list, which is strange when you consider that any good marketing agency works hard to create a unique identity and branding. If you’re going to be spending hours of your time evaluating the agency after they’ve pitched, at least spend some time on their website to get a good initial feel for the company and their areas of expertise beforehand.
2. Giving an unclear briefing
What do you want the marketing agency to do for you? Have you told them? Give them a clear brief with objectives and budget. So often clients don’t give an indication of budget, but agencies aren’t mind-readers and even the best marketing agency in the world is unlikely to come up with a great pitch at the perfect price with little or no brief. Share as much knowledge as you can and you’re more likely get a feel for how the agency can work in your world, and build a proposal which is aligned to your needs.
3. Taking too many pitches
You don’t need to see eight agencies pitch. Meet a few in the early stages to get an idea of what’s out there by all means, but sitting through eight presentations is going to be a slog by anyone’s standards; as well as not being fair on the last ones to go. Three or four unique agencies will be enough to give you a good comparison.
4. Not saying ‘hello’ to your marketing agency
Yes, I know it’s easier for the agency to come to you, but if all you’re seeing is a team of three people what does that tell you about the marketing agency as a whole? Go and see them. You’ll learn more about their size and get a feel for the agency, and it should also give you an opportunity to meet more of the senior team to give you a feel for the resources you’re going to be able to draw on. Meet the MD if they’re not already involved in the pitch.
5. Not taking up references
Any agency should be delighted to supply you with client references. Speak to at least a couple of other clients to find out how the agency actually perform; and not just in the first six months but long term – otherwise, how will you know if on-time and on-budget frequently becomes late and expensive?
There are thousands of pounds at stake with your marketing, and the worst thing is that if you choose the wrong agency, you’ll have to go through the whole process again next year!