5 More Questions to Consider Before Hiring a Marketing Firm (Part II)
By Kristy L. Gusick You can view the first part of this blog post here. You know better than to jump into a working relationship with a blind eye. As a discerning professional, you qualify everyone—from clients to vendors to support staff—to make sure they are the right match for you and your business. The same goes for hiring a marketing firm. You know you should be asking questions, but you may not be aware of the differentiating factors between firms.These little differences will help you make a decision and find the perfect match. Here are five more questions you should consider before you hire a firm for your marketing needs:
6. Who will you actually be working with?
Before you hire your marketing firm, you will probably only have contact with one or two individuals. What about the rest of the team? Will the person closing the sale still be around after the ink is dry? You need to find out whom you are working with on a day-to-day basis. This person may be an account supervisor, project manager, or a partner in the firm. Figure out your key contacts and the chain of command.
7. What is their experience with firms like yours?
We’re all about giving people a chance, but with your marketing firm, it’s best to ensure that they already have some wins under their belt. You want to make sure they can work with a firm of your size and with your specialties. Have they created a niche marketing plan? Have they fostered accelerated growth? Are they familiar with the specific legalities of advertising in your industry? These experiences will soften the learning curve and jumpstart your actionable marketing strategies.
8. How do they measure results?
Determining the return on investment of marketing initiatives is a constant challenge. Not every marketing initiative will directly result in a new client. However, each initiative should have a measurable result such as media impressions, click rates, increased referrals, or social media metrics. A good marketing firm will keep an eye on these results to calibrate and refocus the marketing strategy. Consistent measurements of these results will ensure that you get the most bang for your buck.
9. What do you think of their past work or portfolio?
Take a close look at some of the marketing materials they’ve created for other clients. If you aren’t a fan of the design or can’t relate to the tone, ask to see additional examples. If the new examples aren’t tickling your fancy, you’re starting to get into the danger zone. But don’t write them off just yet. Pay attention to the aesthetic range. Does it go from whimsical to formal? Is there a mix of vintage elements and modern twists? Do the color stories, fonts, and photo selects vary dramatically? If there is a good mix, you’ve got a firm that doesn’t rest on its laurels and is willing to work towards your vision. On the flip side—if you’re seeing a lot of materials that are all unappealing in the same way, you should save yourself the headache and look into other firms. After all, you have to be willing to stand behind this work and use it to represent your brand—it’d better be amazing by your standards.
10. Are they respected in the industry?
This is classic vetting. Do some investigating! Ask around amongst your peers and do some quick searches online. Are they actively participating in your industry’s associations? Have demonstrated their expertise through articles and speaking engagements? Who are their past and current clients? Feel free to also reach out for testimonials or referrals. When you’ve finally found a great marketing firm, you will be willing to sing it from the rooftops.