The right marketing agency can be a tremendous asset to your organization. Here are seven factors to keep in mind when evaluating, selecting, and managing a firm:
1) Insist on “A” players.
The greatest value an agency can bring to clients is staffing its account teams with “A” players. These professionals are analytical, confident, creative, detail-oriented, highly motivated, and strategic — all traits that consistently translate to success. “A” players boast knowledge their counterparts at other agencies do not have. Insist on hiring agencies (like InSilico Media Group) that require their employees to have multiple certifications, from Google Adwords certifications to Hubspot Inbound Marketing certifications, and everything in between.
2) Find tech-savvy partners.
Agencies that are immersed in technology trends and innovations are able to more readily adapt their own business models, continually increase efficiency and productivity, evolve client campaigns, and make strategic connections to seemingly unrelated information.
3) Demand that digital is ingrained in their DNA.
Every agency, or at least the ones that will still be relevant in the coming years, is a digital agency. Having a digital division or group within an agency is not sufficient. Digital has to be ingrained into the agency’s culture and talent as a whole.
You cannot build digital marketing strategies and campaigns in silos. Social, search, mobile, web, email, and other digital strategies must be fully integrated, along with traditional activities, into every program and budget.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re partnering with a tech-savvy agency is by looking at their website and how much they embrace social media. Find a brand that practices what they preach.
4) Look for data lovers.
Leading marketing agencies turn information into intelligence, and intelligence into action. They build campaigns that consistently produce measurable outcomes, including inbound links, website traffic, leads, and sales. Hybrid agencies are staffed by measurement geeks who are obsessed with data.
Look for an agency that shows you the data before you sign the contract. InSilico Media Group leads with a data-first conversation to show our clients why they need to invest in marketing services or a website. If the demand is not there, we’re not afraid to tell you.
5) Invest in the do-ers.
The marketing services world is full of thinkers, talkers, and self-proclaimed gurus, but after a while, they all start to sound the same. The greatest value for your organization is in agencies and professionals that drive change by practicing what they preach.
Turn to agencies with demonstrated track records of success, starting with their own brands. Evaluate the strength of their website, the power of their staff’s personal brands, the value and frequency of content on their blog, and their reach and engagement in social networks.
6) Seek systems for success.
Prototype hybrid agencies are powered by systems that continually increase efficiency and productivity, encourage creativity, accelerate innovation, and push professionals to realize and embrace their potential. All of this produces higher performance levels and more satisfied clients.
Align your organization with agencies that take a systemic approach to professional development, project management, client services, monitoring, measurement, reporting, and communications.
7) Find partners, not providers.
Agency professionals must understand the importance of each client. Employees should be 100% focused on your happiness and success. Your agency team has to become indispensable through their hard work, insight, consultation, services, expertise, friendship and professionalism. They must do the little things that build relationships and take the time to show you they care about your successes, both on individual and organizational levels.
Find an agency that focuses on effective time management. For example, InSilico Media Group posts a timeline of “shared responsibility” on every website build. This ensures the client knows what we are doing during the 12-week build process, and the client knows up front when content is expected from them, and what their “homework assignment” is throughout the contract.