So you hired a marketing agency, now what?
Hiring a marketing agency can seem like the perfect solution to achieve results which are otherwise impossible without expert help. However working with agencies can either exceed or fall short of expectations.
Having worked with a variety of marketing agencies on a range of projects, here are my top tips to get you the results you want.
Know how to brief
Explain your project to your marketing agency like you would to a family member. Communicate your goals, desires, pain points, and expectations. Don't forget to explain your internal processes. The more an agency understands about your business, objectives and expectations, the better. A lot of projects fail because you and your agency are not on the same page. Knowing how to brief becomes crucial to getting the desired result.
Have the infrastructure in place
Unless you are willing to spend a lot of money in agency fees, have the people in place internally to help this project go smoothly. Do you need a content writer? A marketing operations lead? A project manager? Often agencies are hired to support big "change management" projects but internal processes are not in place, which results in mistakes, errors, wasted time and even more costs than what was budgeted for.
If you are implementing Marketing Automation software ask yourself– have I got a Marketing operations lead who can smooth the bumps along the road to successful CRM integration? Who will own the project and liaise with the agency to ensure the right steps are being followed? If you are looking to enhance your website, remember you might need to set up analytics tracking and update content inline with SEO research – have you got the people in place who have the time and experience to do this work?
Build a partnership
Working in close partnership with your agency almost always guarantees better results. Nominate one internal person to own the project and the relationship. Have regular project meetings with your agency to discuss the stage of the project, what is working and what is not. Have honest discussions and ask lots of questions but don’t forget to keep things human.
When working with Small Giants on a variety of digital marketing projects over the years, what has always stood out from other, bigger agencies, was the open and honest dialogue. The team didn’t just execute but they collaborated and advised on best practices. When taking on any digital marketing project, it is important to work with a team of experts who will tell you what is “best practice” and how to best execute different parts of the project. This create an invaluable, ongoing partnership, not just an execution only relationship.
Before you embark on a project with a marketing agency, understand and get aligned on your project goals and objectives. Depending on the scope of the project make sure you set up frequent catch ups with your agency contact or account manager. Set clear timelines you are working to. This way you can understand what part of the project will be delivered when, and can communicate and manage expectations internally.
Don’t be afraid to change
Not all relationships will work out. Some agencies are just not going to deliver on your business needs as much as you both try. Don't be afraid to voice your concerns or walk away if a desired outcome or solution isn't possible. Trust your instincts. It's better to lose a bit of budget, then to lose all of it, waste time AND finish with a marketing project that yielded no results.
Maria Solechnik is a Senior Digital Marketing Manager with a financial services background. She has 7 years’ experience in helping businesses scale and transform their marketing efforts, through marketing automation and implementation of data driven marketing strategies.