Not all agencies are created equal, just as all clients have different needs, and the best fit comes about when an agency and their culture fits the need of their client. But how does a client know what they need, and by extension, how an agency can help them? Oftentimes, considering a couple questions before contacting agencies can be a big help in streamlining goals, and narrowing down on the scope of services truly needed.
1) What are my end goals in seeking a marketing agency?
The nuances and distinctions between different types of agencies present in the marketing and advertising landscape may not be immediately clear, but can be critical in setting up a fruitful agency search. If strong branding and a cohesive company look & feel are essential parts of the planned marketing strategy, agencies that have strong creative departments and branding portfolios should be considered, alongside creative agencies that specialize exclusively on branding work. If an extensive advertising sweep is being considered, including online display ads, extensive out-of-home space, and full-page print ads, rather than a marketing agency, a media buying agency may be a better target. For an all-rounder strategy that includes marketing, PR, creative work, and digital marketing, integrated marketing agencies like Spritz can’t be beat in the range of services offered under a single roof. Each agency type has its own advantages.
2) Who do I want to be working with?
It is not uncommon for a potential client to be concerned about their eventual point of contact. Clients want to know that the work being done for them is considered important and that they are getting their money’s worth. In many ways, these considerations are addressed by a question of agency size. Larger agencies may have years’ and decades’ worth of relationships behind them, be able to handle larger-scale campaigns and rollouts, and have larger budgets, but smaller, boutique agencies have less bureaucracy and red tape, have close relationships with local communities, and are much more nimble and quick to react to sudden, unexpected crises.
3) What is my budget, and how does that compare to standard market pricing?
Many agencies, especially those that offer a wide variety of services, will tailor and match their pricing to their clients’ scope of services. That said, agencies still need to be paid a fair price for their work, and due to their custom approach, may not offer pricing structures that can be easily estimated. Marketing also often involves costs that may have not been fully considered – print or digital advertising costs, printing costs, sponsorship and activation costs, etc. When considering cost as part of the equation in an agency search, it is often easier and faster for clients to do a little research to discover what typical pricing might look like, assess what their budget might be, and prioritize the marketing services they need most if a little penny pinching is needed.
Finding the right agency can make or break a client’s marketing strategy. Reviewing an agency’s case studies, seeking third-party rating sites, or examining awards and accolades are all additional ways to gauge an agency’s efficacy, culture, and approach. Research and prepare prior to an agency search to get the most, and the best out of inquiries and eventual RFPs.