5 Factors for Finding the Right Fit With a Marketing Agency Partner

By Tim Asimos

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Marketing agencies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes; each has its own unique philosophy, approach, style and strengths. And each of these factors should be taken into account when making your final selection decision.

Over the last several years, the marketing industry has seen a blurring of the lines between ad agencies, branding agencies, strategic agencies, digital agencies and even PR firms — and most proclaim to be full service. Combined with the shrinking of geographic barriers made possible by the digital age, firms searching for a marketing agency partner can be faced with a seemingly endless list of options.

So what should firms look for in a marketing agency?

Obviously, reputation, experience and portfolio are all important things to consider in the selection equation. After years spent on the client side as a marketing leader before joining the agency world, I’ve come to realize that a successful agency relationship really depends on finding the right fit for your firm. Here are a few thoughts on what makes a good fit:

1. Values that align with yours

Each agency has a unique set of values that drives its approach and impacts the work it delivers. Much like purchasing a car, everyone comes to the process with a different idea of what they’re looking for in terms of function, quality and price. So it’s absolutely critical for you to identify what you’re looking for and make sure you select an agency that has the same approach. Are you looking for a strategic partner at the table or a tactical vendor to churn out creative? Are you looking for an order-taker or someone to proactively bring you new ideas and guide your marketing? Do you value high-end strategy, research and design or are you more concerned with budget and turnaround? Ultimately, what you value most should be matched by the agency’s philosophy.

2. Core competencies that match your primary needs

Although most agencies consider themselves to be full service, each has a “sweet spot,” or a set of core competencies where they excel. To avoid disappointments with the outcome, it’s important to identify your primary marketing need and make sure you select an agency that can truly boast of expertise in that area. So it’s in everyone’s long-term best interest for agencies to be forthcoming with identifying what’s in their wheelhouse and what’s not. In other words, what you need the most should be one of the things they do the most.

3. A common language

Industry expertise matters a lot, especially in business-to-business marketing and in highly technical and complex industries such as professional services and A/E/C. After all, marketing strategy and tactics are not one-size-fits-all — each industry is different and requires a unique marketing approach. An agency with little-to-no experience in your industry can mean either a steep learning curve to be overcome or strategic marketing and creative decisions that don’t mesh with your audience or sales cycle. The right agency will “get” what you do, whom you compete against and what matters Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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