Imagine you’re the manager of a cricket team and the local rugby coach starts giving you sports tips on how to win games… If his insight only stretches as far as the game of rugby, it might be useless, and potentially annoying, information. The same goes for your business. You know when you need to change, develop or increase your marketing efforts, but when a marketing agency gets involved things can get difficult, especially if they know next to nothing about your business.

How do you know a specific marketing agency is the right one for you? How do you know they’re doing a good job? What’s the best way for you to make sure they understand exactly what you want and for them to deliver accordingly?

We’ve put together a handy checklist to take the worry out of choosing a good marketing agency that brings in results, and to help you build a relationship with them that maximises the benefits for your business:

Choosing an Agency

There are a lot of different Marketing Agencies out there so which one do you choose? It is better to figure out exactly want you want and compare that to what each company offers. If you need offline marketing as well as a web-based service then an Integrated Agency might be best. On the other hand if you are an internet first timer then a Digital Full-Service Agency could be better. For Pay Per Click services and search engine expertise Search Marketing Specialists are the way to go. Mobile Marketing Specialists deal with apps, mobile messaging and phone friendly website design.

Investigating Your Chosen Few

You might find a few agencies that fit your criteria. To really narrow the choice down, ask for case studies of previous work; these should directly fit with your goals. Do they demonstrate specific knowledge of your industry? Have they previously worked in the area you’re interested in; do they have experience reaching the same target demographic or working in a certain medium?

For instance if you’re a B2B business, a marketing agency that has lots of experience working with B2C companies might not be the best choice. Similarly, an agency that works primarily with sports brands might not be a great fit for your food company.

Make sure you look at the work they do, and if you’re still not sure or only half-convinced, then don’t be afraid to ask for references. Talking to a client can be a great way to find out whether that agency is the one for you – remember a good agency won’t be worried about putting you in touch with someone they work with.

Starting Work Together

Once you’ve made the decision to work with an agency, carefully spell out what your goals and expectations are. Before you’ve even signed a contract or paid a check, they should be able to highlight a plan on how your needs are going to be met, and explain the strategy that will inform the day to day running of that plan. You should establish agreed working arrangements including:

  • The service level agreement (SLA)
  • Turnaround time
  • Methods of measurement for activity and results
  • Regular scheduled meetings
  • Agreement on the briefing process
  • Plans for information and data to be shared and distributed

Make Briefs Clear and Focused

Marketing Agencies are not telepathic – if they don’t have a clear understanding of the specific issues you want them to tackle, then they can’t come up with solutions. Your job is make sure your agency has clear, focused and easy-to-follow briefs detailing your target audience, key messages, timings and expectations. The more information they have to work with, the better they can serve your needs. A collaboration, with thinking and knowledge from both sides flowing and aligning, always works best.

Measure Results

Go back over your established working agreements and assignment briefs. Were goals and objectives met? If you wanted better search engine results are you getting more traffic to your site? Have those visitors improved in quality? Perhaps you were looking for social media improvements; has there been more engagement with your content? Has your brand awareness increased across a range of social media channels? Analyse the relationship between yourself and the agency as well as the overall success and failure of the goals. That way, if you decide it’s worth carrying on working together, you can find ways to improve performance in the future.