It may not be something you want to consider, or it may be something that has been a long time coming, but seeking a new marketing agency – particularly in today’s saturated industry – can be a long and strenuous process. The industry is undergoing a constant transformation and this can make it particularly hard when choosing which agency to opt for; and, if a business hasn’t changed agency for a while (or this is their first time doing so), knowing which services and skills to look for can feel like a puzzle with no right or wrong answer.
Naturally, a business will want to choose the best agency for them and for their future – so that makes the first consideration easy:
Think about what you want the future to entail.
The whole point of changing agencies will be because of future considerations, so it’s good to have a proper brainstorm about what you hope the future has in store for a business and what you hope to achieve from this new partnership. There’s no point thinking about expanding a business’ reach and then choosing an agency with no specialist team members in the business’ area of expertise.
So with future motives in mind and maybe a select few agencies picked out, now it’s time to think about compatibility…
Think about if an agency is the right fit.
Before committing to any kind of partnership, it’s important to consider compatibility. An agency may be able to provide all the services you need to achieve your vision of the future, but if the methods of delivering such results don’t match with a company ethos or ways of working, then the relationship will quickly sour. A mismatch of cultures will inevitably lead to you looking for another agency just a few months down the line.
To help determine if an agency is the right fit for you, take a look at their work and consider if they managed to capture the authenticity of their clients, grab the attention of their target audience and produce quality content. Think about your style, and whether based on what you’ve seen you think they would be able to embody it.
But seeking a new agency doesn’t have to be done in isolation; the beauty of the connected world is that you can find and request reviews and feedback at the click of a button. Which leads to the next point:
Think about their reputation.
Do some research into the agency and ask for feedback from previous or existing clients. If they come with good peer reviews and good recommendations (sites like LinkedIn are great for gathering this sort of information) then they’re probably worth serious consideration. It’s also important to see if they’ve won any industry awards or appeared in league tables, for example, to get a feel for their expertise and commitment to clients.
Once a list of possible agency choices has been whittled down, now it’s time to put them to the test.
Make them think about you.
It’s time to put the agencies to the test before committing; sometimes it can be helpful to create a draft brief and send it around to potential agencies to see how they would approach it. This allows you to gauge which agency is most able to meet your needs and who comes closest to delivering the desired outcome of the brief. It will also provide details on their time frames for turnaround, costs and methodology for working. It is important, however, not to get caught up in superficial considerations.
Don’t think the bigger/the more expensive, the better.
It can be incredibly easy to get caught up thinking that just because an agency is well established or competitively priced, that they are automatically the best. Some agencies that boast an impressive client list only have a handful of top professionals working on them, and other clients are taken care of by junior members of the team – newer and less established clients may not receive the top treatment as others, so be wary.
Similarly, though, don’t opt for the cheapest; when it comes to certain aspects (like improving SEO rankings, for example) having experience is worth paying for. Of course this doesn’t mean you should be paying through the roof if the services offered are surplus to requirement – try and find a healthy balance and strike the best deal possible.
Ultimately, choosing a new agency is going to take time and a lot of research – but without time and effort, choosing an agency will be fraught with difficulties and failed business relationships. It’s worth thoroughly considering what the end-goal of the business relationship should be and not panicking into signing a contract with an agency for the sake of it; after setting objective goals for the new agency, the final choice on which agency is best for your individual business needs should be made subjectively, based on gut instinct.