Selecting a marketing agency can feel like a daunting task. So can sticking with an agency that doesn’t seem to fit. Here are three good questions to help you with the selection process.
Do You Work With My Competitors?
Many agencies specialize in sectors. This means they become experts to a niche of business (ie., automotive, banking, nonprofit, etc.) and build their practice based on clients who fit that mold. There certainly is value in that model, but there’s also a good chance the same advice they’re giving you they’re also giving your competitor. Know up front whether the agency is exclusively representing your business in a given industry or market, or if you’re one of many. If it were my money on the table I’d seek representation by an agency that offers category exclusivity along with defined non-compete terms for when the relationship ends.
Do You Receive Pre-Set Preferential Pricing From Media Vendors?
Sounds like a good deal, right? But here’s the flip side … media outlets often give pre-set preferential rates to agencies who commit to a volume of business. Sometimes these things are published, sometimes they’re a handshake deal behind the scenes. So a good question to ask your agency is how and why they get those rates, because their obligation to that media outlet may preclude them from seeking exposure on other outlets that may be a better fit. It can also cause them to be more habitual with advertising spend, going to the same rep for the same thing time after time.
The other consideration to keep in mind is that media outlets rarely value-price their best inventory because that’s the basis of how they make their money. This means you may get a perceived deal, but your campaign stands a good chance of being loaded into off-peak exposure where audiences are small. In other words … good rates for crummy inventory. The alternative is to select an agency that leverages every dollar of your budget based on your specific business needs and can prove the ROI of each vendor. Rather than a cheap package that looks good on paper, they should couple their knowledge for how, when and where to negotiate with a custom fit program based on research and defined goals, marketing automation and predictive modeling based on your specific business drivers.
Is Everything Done In-House?
This would be a good thing, right? Here’s the catch. The more services delivered from in-house staff the higher the overhead. The more the overhead the higher the markup and greater need to steer clients into those competencies in order to keep the lights on. Many clients can be best served by a lean agency model like Inside Track, where core in-house skills are complemented with contracted top freelancers/specialty agencies. This means less overhead and more efficient costs for you, plus dedicated experts on every facet of your campaign without oversized markups. And when it comes to media planning, buying, placement, and marketing automation, it’s critical to work with a shop that specializes in these unique skill-sets.
Inside Track Marketing & Media, Inc., specializes in advertising, media planning, buying and execution, marketing automation, predictive marketing, dynamic email marketing and has an entire ecosystem of independent campaign specialists at the ready. You’ll have a single point of contact at Inside Track and best in class campaign experts all managed through us.
Think of us as the hub of a wheel and top experts as the spokes steering your campaign as it rolls forward.