Do you trust your marketing agency? It’s a fairly simple question. In my opinion the most important key to a successful rapport, between a client and agency, is trust. It’s the foundation of the entire relationship. However, there are business owners out there who take enormous leaps of faith when trying to decide on what agency to work with. These can range from not doing background research before making a decision, to not even meeting the team that will be working on their account. The main goal of this article is to provide you with a set of criteria when selecting a marketing agency, to help invoke the foundation of trust, in case you have to make a decision like this in the future.
Why is Trust so Important?
Just like you need customers to understand and trust your company’s product or service, your marketing agency needs to ensure a sense of trust with you. The agency is not going to attempt to tell you how to make your product better and you should not attempt to tell them how to promote it. These are different skill sets and you each need to focus on what you do best. Trust is a key element to the relationship.
Core Criteria when Selecting a Marketing Agency
Investigate & Research Agency Background
Does the agency practice what it preaches? What does the website look like? Is agency website optimized for search engines? Are there case studies? How is the agency’s social media presence? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask and areas you should look into before make a selection. At the end of the day it is your money and you want to make a worthwhile investment. It could be difference in a high quality agency or group of shysters.
Listen & Explain
Listen to what the marketing experts at the agencies have to say. They have the knowledge, which is why you came to them for assistance. Be prepared with a plan and direction you would like to see the project go. Educate yourself, so that you can have an intelligent conversation without feeling like you are being taken advantage of. Make sure at the end of the day that they understand what you want and will be able to follow-through with their pitches and promises or take your business to the next level.
Did the agency perform their due diligence and research your business? Are they familiar with what industry you are in? Have they performed competitive analysis? Do they seem like they generally care about what you do and how to make your company better than it already is? Have they already brainstormed a few ideas about the direction to take the project? All of the above help to foster the foundation of trust. Are you more likely to want to sign with an agency that rushes you in and out the door or actually takes the time to figure out what you are all about? Think about it. It makes sense.
Take a Risk
You came to a marketing agency because what you have been doing hasn’t been working. You’re falling behind your competitors and you realize it’s time to make changes. You can perceive this as a huge risk or as a stepping stone to something new. At a marketing agency there are always innovative ideas and fresh takes on things. You as a business owner should know when a strategy is too farfetched or when it is just the right idea to shake up the industry and put you in the driver’s seat. Take a chance, trust your agency, see where it takes you!
Basically don’t be curmudgeon. You don’t want to dwell in the past. If I you got shafted by an agency before it is totally alright to be skeptical. However, you don’t want to watch the world pass you by because you are afraid to make a change. Don’t veto every idea an agency has just because you’re not used to it. An over-scrutinization and micromanagement of a product could lead to a lack of trust between both parties. This doesn’t always lead to the most positive of results.
Focus on Business Success
If you feel like a marketing agency is more focused on the money you are paying them, more than the success of your business, get out of there fast! Agencies need to make money, but it isn’t great to feel like a means to end. If an agency isn’t qualified in a perspective area, sometimes hearing “no” is the best answer, especially if you have done your research. You’ll know that they genuinely want to be honest with you instead of lining their pockets with a quick fix.
Advice for Business Owners
You hired a marketing agency for needed skills and expertise so don’t doubt the direction they provide for you, but also make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of. Transparency is key throughout this entire process As long as you follow the criteria listed above and establish the foundations of trust early on you should be good to go. Good Luck!