The time has arrived. You sense that you’d benefit from getting some marketing help from an agency. You begin the search to find that perfect partner. Quickly you realize that marketing services are wide and varied. The marketing industry is undergoing its own digital transformation. Like many industries, it is filled with its own three letter acronyms. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the process to select a provider and all the metrics. This can lead to analysis paralysis as you interview many agencies. Or you can end up picking the first one you talk to be done with it so you can get to the good stuff. Neither is ideal or moves your business forward.
What information should you prepare before you walk into the initial meeting? We’ve partnered with Chris Kim from Startup Studios to help you get prepared. Chris has worked for a number of different agencies and has a wide range of experiences to draw upon to help ask the right questions. Here is a summary of our conversation with him on how to prepare for that first agency meeting.
Assessing fit is going to be important. Collecting this information will allow you to walk into the conversation with confidence. It will also move the conversation along significantly faster. Consider preparing the following:
1. Make sure you can explain what you do in30 seconds or less. If it takes you several minutes to explain your business, the explanation is too complex. This first meeting needs to be succinct to establish if that agency is a fit.
2. What is the scope of services you wish to have? Are you looking for strategic assistance, or pragmatic hands on help executing? Many agencies will have one set of staff for strategic and a different set of staff for hands on execution. This helps the agency understand which type of individuals are needed.
Expect to find different types of packages-done for you and done with you. Done for you packages are where you outsource the whole thing to another party to do in your place. Done with you services are executed alongside of you, and keep you more involved in the process.
3. How long are you looking for help- is it a set period of time or a longer term engagement?
4. What are the results of your current marketing efforts? Are you measuring those results? If so, consider what analytics to collect to frame the discussion. This could be current social media statistics, Google analytics, or other reporting.
5. Will you be involving existing staff in the initiative? If so, will they have the capacity to work with the agency given their existing work commitments? Marketing services won’t yield fruit if staff needed for collaboration are unavailable.
6. Know your budget ahead of time. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share the information. If you have budget flexibility, at least know what you are planning to expect to pay. If no information is provided, it’s difficult to give realistic, pragmatic estimates.
7. Decide if you need a local firm or if the firm can be located anywhere. Are there things about your business or area that a local firm will understand better?
8. Consider the importance of industry experience. Is it important that the agency already have this experience? Sometimes there is upfront research costs for a firm to get background on your industry. , if that is not already a specialty for them. If you don’t want to pay this, then you need to find a firm that specializes in your industry.
Preparing for this first discussion will take time and consideration. Answering these questions will help you make that first conversation more effective so that you can get what you need out of the conversation.
Join us next week for part 2 where we share what to expect in the first agency meeting.