How to choose a B2B Marketing agency
1. Be rigorously honest with your needs
Before you start browsing for agencies or asking industry connections for referrals, consider your company’s needs. Ask your team a couple key questions:
Why do we need a marketing agency?
What do we expect them to do for us?
Have all your stakeholders consider these questions, brainstorm if necessary and conclude with an agreement on what the needs of your organization are. This ensures your internal team is aligned and makes the selection process more focused and manageable.
2. Ask to talk to and meet with them
Ask agencies about their services and processes. Tell them who you are and find out what they know about your business. Find out what they do well and what their thinking process is. Once an agency has introduced themselves, ask to meet in person and have them to show you examples of work and explain what their client management process is like. Inquire about strategy and creative. Ask how the results of that process delivered a return on that client’s investment.
3. Make sure they understand your business
You don’t necessarily need an agency that specializes in exactly what you do and has worked with your direct competitors. This can lead to conflicts and industry myopia. One of the things you’re probably looking for in an agency relationship is an objective, fresh opinion. But you want an informed opinion. You need an agency that has shown the capacity to understand your type of business at a deep level. Otherwise, you’ll either need to spend months or years bringing them up to speed or you’re faced with a partner that can only offer superficial advice. So look for an agency that has extensive experience in related and adjacent areas industries.
4. Make sure the chemistry is right
If you are impressed with the work they do, their understanding of your business and the client management process you must consider chemistry. Your next question should be; “Is the culture and the personalities of the agency a good fit with our company?” Do you feel communication is easy? Can you imagine having a drink with them? The working relationship between your company and your agency is an intimate one. For you and your agency to be partners, the chemistry must be right. Don’t underestimate this factor. Trust your instincts. A good fit is key for producing successful campaigns that are on brand.
5. Ask what they don’t do well
If the answer is “nothing”, move on. Either they aren’t being honest with you or they truly don’t understand their own strengths and weaknesses.
6. Date before committing
Long-term partnerships are the most fruitful and rewarding, so you should work toward a long-term contract with an agency, at least 6 – 12 months. Start small, though. Contract them for particular project or two to allow each of you to determine whether or not the chemistry is right.
7. Quarterly reviews to measure success
At the end of each quarter have a sit down, face-to-face meeting to see if goals were met and to discuss metrics. This creates the opportunity to make any necessary course corrections and stay focused on priorities moving forward.
Choose a B2B marketing agency wisely.
There are lots of qualified marketing agencies out there. Finding one that has done great work for other organizations is not that hard. But what you need is a great fit for your organization.
A strong relationship with your marketing agency can be an incredible force multiplier. Take the time to make an informed choice.