There are many good reasons to work with a marketing agency. You might be interested in establishing a presence with an unfamiliar marketing strategy. You might be eager to see better results on a campaign that’s been dwindling. You might even be interested in saving money, paying an agency to manage your campaign rather than hiring a marketing manager full-time.
Whatever the case, your results are going to depend on the relationship and rapport you’re able to build with your marketing agency—and that means you’ll have to put in some work.
How to Work With a Marketing Agency
These tips will help you work with a marketing agency more effectively.
- Choose the right partner. Your results will be dependent on your ability to choose the right digital marketing agency. This means you’ll need to consider many different variables. For example, what is this agency’s area of specialty? How much experience have they had with your agency? Do they have access to ample resources to support you? How long and involved are their contracts? How much are they charging you? Do they seem easy to communicate with? In line with this, you’ll need to check out online reviews and testimonials to ensure this is the right partner for your needs.
- Set expectations early. Once you choose a marketing agency partner, it’s important to set expectations early. What are you hoping to accomplish? What do you define as “success?” What kinds of behavior are unacceptable from this agency? How do you think this campaign is going to go? This is a great chance to clear up any differences in understanding so you can move forward as a team.
- Be transparent. Similarly, you should be transparent throughout the development of your relationship. If your agency asks you for clarifying information about your brand or your goals, provide it. If you have ideas or thoughts that could better the campaign, bring them up. The more proactive you are, the better.
- Establish terms for communication. Different companies have different expectations when it comes to communication. Some prefer a hands-off approach, allowing the agency to do the work it does best with minimal interaction. Others prefer to have weekly (or even more frequent) meetings. Express your preference from the start.
- Remain clear and concise. In all forms of communication, attempt to remain as clear and concise as possible. Review all your written communication before sending to ensure you’ve adequately captured your thoughts, and don’t add unnecessary details. The smoother your communication with your agency is, the better your campaign is going to run.
- Trust, but verify. “Trust but verify” is a Russian proverb cautioning individuals to trust the people they work with, but to always verify that their trust is well-placed. In the context of working with a marketing agency, this means always taking the time to verify that what they’re telling you is true. It’s a good system of checks and balances that can help you get the best possible results.
- Listen to expert recommendations. Your marketing agency of record will serve as your advisor, providing you with pieces of advice about your campaign and relaying expertise to help you make better decisions. You hired this agency because you trust them as experts, so be prepared to listen to that advice.
- Get to know the whole team (if you can). You might have a designated contact within your chosen marketing agency, but it’s helpful to get to know the whole team (if you can). Meeting and talking to other team members will help you get a sense for how the organization operates, and can help you improve your relationship.
- Focus on outcomes. It’s easy to get bogged down by the minutiae of individual tactics and low-level decisions within a campaign, but you’re much better off focusing on the bottom line. Judge the agency based on the outcomes they provide, and keep outcomes as your highest priority.
- Remain flexible. Try to remain as flexible as possible. Be willing to experiment with new tactics, listen to new ideas, and don’t be afraid to shake up your routine. Your flexibility can dramatically improve your results.
Identifying a Bad Relationship
If you’ve tried all these strategies, and you’re still struggling to make the partnership “fit,” it may be time to sever your relationship with this marketing agency. Don’t stress too much about it—if you’ve already tried to make things work, there’s no option left but to seek another option. If this is the case, provide feedback to the agency to let them know why you’re leaving, and start looking for an agency that’s a better fit for your needs.
More in: Marketing 101
Working with a marketing agency can be challenging if you don’t have prior experience but these tips really help.