Finding the right agency partner is as much about cultural fit as it is about capabilities. What will your new partner really be like to work with? Will the marketing agency be able to hit the ground running? These five questions will help you determine the best fit for your organization’s needs.
1. Who will be my day-to-day contacts?
It’s no surprise that feeling at ease with the people you’ll be working with on a daily basis is a big factor in the success of your relationship. But often enough, the people working with you during the pitching and vetting process may not be the ones who ultimately execute the work. Ask to include the day-to-day contacts early in the process.
2. What will the first 30 days entail?
Often, the initial stages of an engagement involve a significant amount of discovery and strategy work, which can be difficult to manage if it’s unexpected. Ask about the agency’s process for onboarding new clients, how often the team hopes to meet, and what information your new partner will need to inform their strategy. Knowing what to expect can help ease the burden of unanticipated requests and enable you to manage the expectations of your internal stakeholders.
3. What does your ideal client look like?
Understanding what makes for a “good client” in the eyes of a potential partner can help you assess the cultural fit of the relationship. It also gives you an opportunity to assess potential obstacles before they become pain points down the road. For example, if the ideal client has minimal changes to creative, but you know your internal team is very invested in the creative process, and that changes often bubble up at the last minute, talk with your potential partner about how you might adjust processes to account for those needs.
4. How will we measure success?
Tying marketing initiatives to your goals and ultimately sales is a critical factor in a successful partnership. Identifying clear metrics to measure from the outset can help both the agency and the organization identify areas for optimization, attribute successes and allocate dollars most effectively. Ask for a sample report to understand what you’ll receive and when. In addition, ask about specific results for other clients of similar budgets and scale.
5. What is your approach to solving my challenge?
The agency’s approach to problem-solving is one of the most critical — and often overlooked — aspects of marketing strategy. Many times, organizations want to see samples of work that represent the exact same challenge they face. More important, however, is how the agency comes to the solutions they execute. Ask the agency to show you examples that represent their strategic thinking and to walk you through how they arrived at the deliverables.
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