Top Tips for Selecting a Marketing Agency

Top Tips for Selecting a Marketing Agency

Business process outsourcing has skyrocketed since covid, with 48% of companies now outsourcing their work.

Whilst saving time and resources, outsourcing your marketing is an effective way to pool real expertise, gain access to advanced marketing tools, minimise overhead and improve return on investment (ROI). With outsourcing, businesses can focus on core activity and provide services they could not before, far faster and more cost-effectively.

A recent survey conducted by Deloitte demonstrated that 65% of businesses said outsourcing helps them to prioritise key business functions whilst 63% mentioned that cost-cutting is a major benefit of outsourcing.

So, when is it the right time to outsource your marketing?

Successful marketing is about the long game of building credibility, strong relationships and brand profile. Whether producing consistent and engaging content, building user-friendly websites or raising your business’ awareness amongst target audiences, time, consideration and expertise are needed. If you have the time and capabilities yourself, that’s great but consider outsourcing your marketing if:

Your current strategy isn’t producing results. You lack the right expertise and resources to deliver campaigns. You are looking to minimise overhead costs. You simply don’t have the time to keep up with the workload. Your brand has grown, and you need experts to implement a strategy that will keep the momentum of your business going.

Know Your Objectives

What are you looking to achieve? Are you looking to be at the top of google search? Is there a particular product you’d like to see more sales of? Or are you looking to build your reputation and raise awareness of your business or a particular service?

There is an assortment of marketing agencies out there. Some offer a 360, all-inclusive marketing approach whereas others are skill-specific and specialise in a marketing sector such as social media, advertising, copy writing, public relations, etc. Similarly, agencies may also be sector specific and offer core expertise in the likes of construction PR or social media for the hospitality sector.

Outlining your business needs and targets in this way is important when choosing an agency to help develop and implement the right strategy for you.

Be Clear on Budget

By knowing your budget and keeping a defined brief of your targets, marketing agencies can then propose how to allocate your investment and provide you with a strategy and tactics that suit. Be realistic with your budget and invest in a long-term strategy as rarely does a ‘short and sweet’ campaign achieve longer term goals.

Whilst you shouldn’t underestimate the cost of a successful campaign, keeping a defined brief will help keep your strategy focused on your core business targets without walking away with an over-ambitious campaign.

Who Will Be Doing the Work?

Your campaign will only be as good as the team delivering it. So, even though your agency may have worked with big-named clients, don’t just buy on agency reputation. Make sure your account manager is involved in the pitching process so you can better evaluate their experience and expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask them challenging questions to see whether they know their material or to check their LinkedIn profile to see their industry background.

Client-Agency Chemistry

The first question you should ask when selecting a marketing agency is can you see yourself working with these people?

Ultimately, people buy people and it’s important to make sure their values align with yours. Client-Agency chemistry is vital for ensuring effective communication and a well-executed marketing strategy.

When running a Request for Proposal (RFP) meeting, check whether the team are engaging with you rather than just pitching to you. This is also your time to prepare questions that will test the team’s relationship. How much do they know about your industry? Why have they chosen a particular approach? How well have they planned and considered the meeting?

Reviews and References

Once you’ve had an initial meeting with your selected marketing agency, it’s then a good idea to run background checks to substantiate their claims.

Using case studies available on their website is a useful primary tool, but make sure to ask for customer referrals and client testimonials too. Look into your agency’s portfolio and head onto social channels and websites they manage to see how well they are performing. Be sure to look at clients who work in a similar industry to yours. If their results are similar to your targets, then chances are, you are good to go.

Louis Hill

Louis began work as a PR intern nearly 30 years ago, initially working within the WPP agency network. He quickly progressed to work at Cohn & Wolfe, where he gained experience with clients including Visa International, Barclays Bank, Pedigree Petfoods and Reebok. While at Cohn & Wolfe, the agency was named ‘Agency of the Year’ for three consecutive years by the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA). On leaving Cohn & Wolfe, Louis was the first external PR specialist appointed by Marks & Spencer to help manage the media during a turbulent time of change for the business. At M&S the corporate affairs team was also named ‘In-house team of the Year’ for the work undertaken in supporting the business as it sought to manage the changes to its international store portfolio, UK sourcing as well as the launch of its credit card to more than six million customers. Louis was appointed head of UK communications at Kellogg’s as the company sought to manage negative media commentary regarding the levels of salt, fat and sugar in their products. The company also faced challenges from the Food Standards Agency that proposed to limit product advertising to children and put on pack ‘traffic lights’ to share nutritional information with customers that could potentially damage the company’s position in the UK marketplace. In 2007, Louis decided to step away from the corporate world and set up Source PR to deliver PR and communication support to SMEs across the North West. The business has won numerous awards for its communication campaigns and has now grown its offer to provide clients with a broader range of services including social media management other digital marketing services. Source PR is now one of the region’s leading PR & digital agencies supporting a range of organisations across the UK with their PR, social media management and digital communications.

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