Hammer Marketing is on the front lines of our clients’ quests for success. For businesses who hand us all of their marketing, we are the front line – a key factor in whether or not they gain market share.
Most of the time, our rapport with clients is sublime. It doesn’t take long to get in lockstep on all fronts: communication, working style, and rhythm. This stems largely from the fact that Hammer Marketing clarifies what we want, need, and expect, in our clients before we agree to work with them – and from clients doing the same when it comes to vetting us. Because let’s be real, even the best agency won’t be a fit every business.
The million-dollar questions: What best practices should you follow as you search for your marketing agency? How can you ascertain, with as much certainty as possible, whether an agency aligns with what your business wants, needs, and expects?
There is a plethora of sage advice out there for choosing a marketing agency – salient advice that includes assessing experience and expertise, and reviewing case studies and industries served.
Here are a few more non-negotiables that we at Hammer Marketing – if we were in your shoes – would put on the must-have list.
An In Person Presence
Digital marketing can be executed remotely, sure – a fact most agencies have taken full advantage of since 2020. But to paraphrase that line from Jurassic Park: They can, but have they stopped to think if they should?
Before the pandemic, agencies everywhere touted teamwork and collaboration for a reason: These things are REALLY essential to superior work.
Not Hammer. As soon as it was safe, we brought local team members back in half the time – one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Today we’re the rare marketing agency working together in a shared physical space. Our clients tell us how much they appreciate it – the way we know each other in the way only officemates can, and the fact that they can meet with us in-person.
It might be tempting to sign a great agency whose team handles your brand marketing from all corners of the globe, and in some cases, that setup plays out fine. Just be sure to ask yourself first: Is it what you truly want and need in a marketing agency partner?
Defined Communication and Reporting
Two areas where agency-client relationships seem to sour are communication and reporting.
Let’s start with communication – its frequency and style. Appetites differ dramatically here, so it’s important to understand an agency’s style before signing to work with them. Questions to ask up front:
- On average, how often are they in touch with their clients? Ask about clients similar to your business in terms of size, vertical, or scope of work.
- How are they in touch? Email? Slack? Phone? A project management system?
- Are there standards surrounding communication, ie. when they will or won’t be in touch?
- Which agency contacts are client-facing – and which of your team members will be expected to communicate with them?
Reporting is similarly ripe for discussion because it’s the only way to gauge your agency’s effectiveness – yet the agency controls it. Ask:
- Which key performance indicators (KPIs) does the agency share with clients?
- How often do they report measurable results to you, and in what format?
- Are you seeing “raw” KPIs, i.e. results in full – or does the agency edit them before sharing? Some agencies distill analytics in the interest of making reports an easier read, which is okay if you’re okay with it, and if doing so doesn’t alter the integrity of the information.
A Robust Suite of Specialties
Finding an agency that’s master of many trades can take effort, but pays off in the long run. The key is checking off the boxes that will influence your company’s success most.
For example, an agency surely offers “digital marketing, but it’s on you to ensure that means more than just Google Analytics. Offerings like programmatic marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), and social media coordination should be in the mix.
At the same time, don’t overlook legacy skills like photography, print, video, and graphic design. The less you and your agency have to source additional vendors for things like catalogs, annual reports, and company headshots, the more likely you are to achieve cohesion among brand touchpoints, and a more streamlined process overall.
Wiggle Room Pricing
Digital marketing is anything but static. The best marketing efforts will, by design, grow as your revenue grows – a beautiful snowball effect! Sometimes, though, added spend is needed to turn newly-acquired prospects into paying customers. This is why it’s critical you find an agency whose pricing leaves you some margin for spending a little more when needed. In other words, you get what you pay for, sure, but don’t choose an agency that eats every penny of your budget, either.
An Agency That Vets You
The best agency-client relationships are a two-way street. If an agency doesn’t appear to carefully consider compatibility, beware: They might be a little too hungry for business.
Hammer Marketing conducts a thorough match discovery call to gauge compatibility between our team and prospective client businesses before we even send a proposal. Beyond hearing your objectives and some details of your marketing efforts to date, an agency should ask how you plan to acquaint them to your brand, systems, and teams. If you have an internal marketing team, they should ask about your vision for coordination and brand management.
Now that you know what to ask a marketing agency, put your vetting skills to work with one that will respect your process – and that has a track record of success! Hammer Marketing checks all five boxes above, and will only engage your business if we’re confident it’s a mutually beneficial match. Drop us a line or swing by for a visit today!
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