So, the time has come. You want a new agency. Maybe you’re looking for some fresh input and ideas or it could be that you’ve never outsourced before and you’re starting from scratch. It can be a daunting yet very exciting time. Empowering an external business to steer your marketing path, you definitely want to get it right!
Agencies in our industry can appear in very different forms and offer multiple different services, after all, marketing has many guises! Firstly, it’s important to say that there is certainly no ‘one-size fits all’ answer. Every agency offers something different, whether it’s size, experience, industry specialism or service specialism, it’s important to gain an understanding of what makes that agency different.
Jack Of All Trades Or Master Of One?
Today, you will see PPC specialists, branding agencies, app developers and many other expert businesses focusing one aspect of the marketing mix and gaining specialist understanding in that area. There are many benefits of choosing an agency like this. You would expect their knowledge, standard of work and working practices to be first class. If for example you partner with an app developer, you would expect the app produced to meet all of your needs and exceed your expectations.
What if you want more from your agency than just an app,but you do not want to manage the relationship between your business and twenty agencies? This is where you need to find a balanced agency. One that offers a select number of services of interest, but you know that they’re outstanding and what they do. Without contradicting myself, a more general, multi-channel agency, but still with a level of specialism and expertise in everything that they do.
With all of the above in mind, it makes it easier if you have a plan. This plan should involve what you want in the short term, so what services do you need from your agency right now and then a long term plan, what may you need from them in the future. With a clear plan, you then know exactly what services you need your agency to be able to provide to you. Keep your options open as plans always change!
We’ve looked at service specialism, but what about industry? This could be something of vital importance to you. In some of the more complex marketplaces and industries that exist, you may need to find an agency that knows about your business environment inside-out. Again, there are pros and cons. Yes the agency will know about your clients, your competitors and the micro-economic landscape. A major set of advantages. However, don’t think to insular. Great ideas can come from many different sources. Inspiration can come from one industry to transform another. Never underestimate the power of observing other markets!
Is the location of your agency important? Do you want to use local or are you happy to go further afield to find the best? Again, this factor is of varying importance to businesses. Working with local agencies can be great as face-to-face communication can be easier to plan regularly, networking opportunities may arise from it and there can be value in investing in the local economy. However, on the flip side, is limiting yourself by geography going to deliver the best results possible? Maybe not. As long as the agency delivers on all of your expectations, meets your needs and fits the brief, geography shouldn’t limit selection.
Who Is Actually Working On Your Project?
Junior or senior? Employed or outsourced? This is an area that we place an immense amount of focus on. It’s extremely important. Don’t get drawn in by a salesman’s dazzling presentation about their agency and then have an outsourced, unqualified designer carrying out the work! Get to know the agency, the team, designers, developers, basically everyone as best as you can. Not only is it about quality and experience of the team, it can be a bit more basic than that. Do you actually get on with them? This could be a long term partnership and you could be meeting these guys weekly. If you don’t actually like them, working alongside each other would be impossible!
Creativity is a very subjective thing. Understanding the creative potential of agency is always something worth looking at. For some business there are a rigid set of brand guidelines and they could be looking for just the right amount of creativity. Creativity that can be managed and reigned in. For other businesses, the needs could be very different. They may want the most off the wall creative maniacs that they can find. Set your expectations and understand what levels of inspiration that the agency will supply and how much they will challenge you on your way of thinking.
Filtering the Potential
Finding and filtering your potential partner can take many different paths. There is of course google. Have a search around and see what there is. Most agencies on their sites will have a portfolio of work and also showcase their other clients. This will give you a good idea of what they’re all about. But, be warned, check the clients that are mentioned are current clients and not from the 80’s.
Think about checking social media using relevant hashtags and searching around. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are great resources for showcasing creativity, work and agency personality.
Check the agency awards websites, the press or ask other trusted contacts. Get a feel for the recent work, the quality of it and who worked on the project.
Where Do ib3 fit?
Here at ib3, we specialise in four areas of marketing; print, digital, campaigns and branding. We are very much set up as four dynamic teams working on specific areas who collaborate on projects to deliver results. This enables us to build up our expertise yet still be able to offer several services at a very high level. We all learn and hone our skill set together. This approach gives us the ability to overcome hurdles that single service specialist agencies may not be able to.
Over the past nineteen years we have worked predominantly in the construction arena, but has seen us with multinational beauty companies, worldwide legal firms and global pharmaceutical corporations to name a few. We wouldn’t have it any other way!
So, to sum us up, we have the experience, we have the skill sets and we have the ideas.
Thanks for reading,