From small, fledgling startups to large, well-established corporations, many organizations need to look outside their ranks for marketing help at some point. Even those with internal marketing teams often find they can get better ROI by partnering with a marketing agency that can lend additional expertise and manpower.
Whatever an organization’s reason for hiring a marketing agency, the internal stakeholders need to understand this isn’t the sort of business relationship where they write a check and the external marketing team does all the work. The agency team and the client team both have roles to play to achieve a successful outcome.
So if you’re hiring a marketing agency to help with some — or all — of your organization’s marketing efforts, you need to be prepared to do your part so you can get the best possible ROI.
Educate the Agency
If you’ve done your research and chosen well, your marketing agency is staffed with smart, savvy professionals who know how to promote your organization through creative marketing campaigns. But that’s not enough for an agency to get guaranteed results.
Your marketing agency team will do their research, but to learn about your organization, they’re going to need insight from you and your internal team about these topics:
- Your goals. What do you want to accomplish with your marketing? What do you consider a marketing success? Do you want to provide value to existing customers? Attract new customers? Build your company’s brand recognition?
- Your priorities. If you have multiple goals and limited time or budget, you may have to prioritize. What do you want to happen first? What can wait until later?
- Your customers. Who are your customers? What are they looking for? What do they value? What problems do they have that they’re looking to you to solve? What do they know? What do they need to be educated about? Your marketing agency can help you build detailed buyer personas, and any information you can provide from actual client interactions is extremely valuable.
- Your products and services. What are you selling? What sets your products and services apart from what the competition is offering? What do customers love about them? What are customers’ critiques of them? Your marketing agency needs to understand all the pros and cons of what you’re selling so they can craft a strategy to accentuate the pros and minimize or mitigate the cons.
- Your industry. What terminology is commonly understood in your industry? What problems is the industry facing? What’s going well? What do insiders need to know?
- Your company. What is going on within your company as a whole and how do your marketing goals fit into the bigger picture? Are there any internal conflicts, challenges or upcoming changes that may affect the marketing process?
Keep in Touch
No matter how much input you give your marketing agency at the outset, the team there isn’t going to learn everything they’ll need all at once. You need to be available to answer their questions and share additional information as needed.
Make sure they know who on your team is the main agency contact. Who should the agency go to with questions? If that main contact is going to be out at a conference, on vacation or on maternity leave, let your marketing team know and give them an alternative contact.
When your marketing agency sends over drafts of marketing materials, ideas and other information, be sure to respond by the requested deadline whenever you can. When you can’t respond on time, let them know why and when you expect to be able to respond with the information they need.
Creating high-quality, effective marketing strategies, tactics and materials requires feedback and collaboration. If you don’t provide this feedback and make an effort to collaborate, you’re setting your marketing agency up for failure and it will be difficult — if not impossible — for them to give you what you want.
Understand the Timelines
Your marketing agency wants to help you as quickly as they can. Typically your agency will explain their process and how much time they think work will take to complete. Make sure you understand the timeline and note that some of those steps involve input from you, such as background information, brand guidelines, connections to internal resources and feedback on drafts. When you don’t complete your tasks as laid out in the timeline, it affects every step after and increases the amount of time it will take to complete the project.
If you’ve hired a reputable marketing agency, they want to do great work for you. But, agencies can’t operate in a vacuum. Do your part to help them do their job and you’ll be happy with the work they produce.