Bringing the appropriate marketing agency on board as a strategic partner to promote your business is a difficult process. During the selection phase focus is on static, qualitative characteristics as opposed to quantitative aspects which can be negotiated before finalizing a contract. When beginning your evaluation to determine if your agency is right for you, understanding the focus of the different marketing agency types available can prove invaluable. Some of the most common are:
- Branding Agencies- Considered boutique agencies, branding agencies develop an identity for your business or product of focus. Services focus on the look and reputation of your brand’s appeal to your target market.
- Advertising Agency- Focus is on the planning and buying of media, such as print ads and television commercials. While services may include internet marketing and branding, advertising is still the central aim.
- Inbound Marketing Agency– Content-based strategies designed to align your business with your target market attracting visitors to create leads and converting leads to customers.
- Full Service Firm- All aspects of marketing are covered such as branding, advertising, Internet marketing and inbound marketing.
While it is likely you did your research and chose your agency with care, it may be time to consider a change. Time and money are increasingly valuable commodities that must be capitalized if you wish to achieve great success.
What are your agency’s core competencies?
Despite the descriptions outlined above, there is delineation between web design companies who claim to be search engine optimization (SEO) experts and branding companies who declare themselves as digital marketing experts. It is worth mentioning that both styles have their place in your marketing strategy. The main difference is how the results are achieved.
If your agency focuses mainly on SEO, the goals for your business are to achieve increased traffic and search engine rankings. This strategy is used to have your business information returned to potential clients when they search under some of the following specific terms:
- Geographical targeting
- Industry-specific searches
- A stand-alone product, service or division to be emphasized
Brand marketing encompasses the whole of your business rather than focusing on specifics. The strategy is to create an identity for your business that evokes an emotional response in your target market, which leads to conversions. Although branding leverages the personal connection in digital marketing, it is also beneficial to SEO.
In a results-driven marketplace, it is critical your agency’s core competencies meet the specialized needs of your business. They should be identifying your determined target market, demographics and strategies that will differentiate your business from others. Your marketing investment has to net you a partner in reaching your business goals and not just the minimal, value-added service many agencies provide. While assessing the value of your current marketing agency there are several points of contention to consider.
Monthly reports have to be provided without fail in order to determine the agency’s efficacy. Your reports should include measurable metrics such as traffic numbers and conversions as well as a detailed summary of efforts made, work completed and the yield from each.
A call schedule with your marketing team lead a minimum of once monthly is necessary to review the results in the reports and discuss any necessary changes. You should also be able to reach your marketing team whenever you require more immediate attention.
The consistency of your brand across all platforms and strategies is paramount to your success. Your unique brand identity has to inspire trust and confidence in your target market in order to set you apart from all others in your field. You need to be confident in the message your brand’s image delivers.
An agency has to be creative to set your business apart from the competition. Since your focus is on running the business in the best manner possible to maximize profits and minimize operational costs, you likely have little time to develop a creative marketing strategy. You have hired a marketing agency to grow and foster your revenue stream using innovation and creativity, as well as to develop a course of action that will produce results.
Your business deserves to be cast in its best possible light so you can maximize the growth potential. If you feel your marketing dollars are not providing the image you desired for your brand or the returns you imagined, it may be time to consider a move.