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Choosing an Agency

14th September 2013

A common folly committed by companies with their eye on the bottom line is not to get professional marketing help early enough. Yet skilful professional advice actually increases profits by maximising marketing opportunities and preventing costly mistakes that might even jeopardise the business.

Choosing the right agency to communicate your business edge is a tough call, particularly if you haven’t had to do it before or if your existing agency hasn’t delivered. Consider the following points:

• Does the agency understand your objectives?
• Is the marketing agency a true sector specialist?
• Have the directors worked client side as well as agency side?

If the answer to these questions is ‘No’, walk away – they lack the experience and knowledge of your sector. If they are specialists, the marketing agency’s understanding of your business objectives will be reflected in their response. If they do not provide an insightful analysis of the business issues and challenge the brief intelligently, look elsewhere.

Some more questions to consider:

Can the agency differentiate your business?
Is the agency capable of producing big ideas that will help you to gain a sustainable competitive advantage? Have they got to the core essence of your brand? Can they position your business effectively?

Is the agency producing results for its existing clients?
What are the clients saying about their agency? Have they given positive testimonials regarding the quality of the work?

Does the agency have the right credentials?
What kinds of brands is the agency working for right now?

What are the skill-sets and levels of experience of the people?
Do they have clients that ‘fit’ with your company’s profile?

Will you be dealing with the directors of the agency?
Be sure that you meet the people who will be working on your account. Will your account be delegated to a lightweight? Or will you be dealing with experienced people at the top of their game?

Will your account be important to the agency?
It is important that your account is seen as being significant and special on every level, considering diverse elements such as willingness to gain a close working knowledge about your business and your brand.

Does the agency realise that advertising is not always the solution?
“Advertising is the solution, now what’s the problem?” is a widely held view held by traditional agencies. A progressive marketing agency must demonstrate that it has a full working knowledge of the most appropriate options.

Is the agency capable of integrating offline and online media?
Integrated marketing is concerned with a holistic, solutions-based approach that consistently delivers results on an ongoing basis. Today, you need an agency that spans both of these media arenas.

Does the agency offer high-level strategy and creativity?
Within any campaign, strategy and creativity must be applied with the perfect weight. Ensure the agency can deliver on both.

Is the agency’s motivation to take your business to the next level or to win awards?
A client’s business success beats the pursuit of CLIOs every time. Whilst every agency you consider should have an array of awards (we have won many), make sure the agency is more intent on adding value for your business, rather than trophies to its cabinet.