One of the most common misconceptions in marketing is that smaller agencies (50 employees or less) lack the skills or capabilities needed to produce BIG results. Contrary to popular belief, an agency’s size doesn’t always correlate with the quality of the work they produce…
4 Things to Look for in a Marketing Agency
With so much competition in the market these days, many factors go into creating a strong brand and marketing it effectively. Yes, larger agencies tend to have more hands on deck. But with those larger groups can come siloed departments and less personalized attention from leadership (for clients and employees).
In this article, we aren’t going to tell you what kind of agency to work with. Both come with advantages and disadvantages. We’re here to provide the insight you need to make the best decision for your brand—and that starts with identifying what matters most to you in a partner.
To help make the process a little easier, here are 4 important things to consider when looking for a new marketing or advertising agency.
1. Agile Turn Times
Agencies of any size tend to prioritize clients with the biggest budgets and widest reach. In a perfect world, every client would receive the exact same level of service when it comes to turn times. But in the real world, big-budget global brands and conglomerates just tend to have more moving projects, meaning extra time and attention is needed to meet their deliverables.
While there are many benefits to partnering with a large agency, smaller agencies are often able to put quick-turn projects higher on their priority list and may even respond faster as a result. So, if you have a tight deadline in mind for your next product campaign or brand launch, an agency that’s able to be more agile with project turn times may be the best fit for you.
2. Geographical Pricing
Here’s something we all have in common: budgets. For almost every client, cost is a significant factor to consider when partnering on any new marketing project or campaign.
Most people start their search for an agency in their local area. Makes sense, right? You want to work with a team that’s as accessible as possible and, despite everyone having access to Zoom, nothing can replace in-person communication. Well, depending on where your brand is located, accessibility may not always be best for your budget.
Here’s an example using our home state: A mid-size brand headquartered just outside of Nashville can often find the same remote capabilities or experience for a fraction of the cost in smaller, yet fast-growing cities like Knoxville or Chattanooga. Simply put, exploring agencies in other cities (or even other states) can get you high-quality work without the high-end price tag.
3. Long-Term Value
When partnering with a new agency, it can be helpful to explore HOW they plan to work with you on creating long-term value for your company. This means thinking beyond one-time marketing costs and looking closely at opportunities to improve (and save!) elsewhere within the company.
Will the agency actively consult with you on more than just your marketing? Do they have the capacity to work with you on things like research, innovation, employee retention, crisis management, accounting, training, and so on? These are just a few things that can make or break a business, but they also aren’t things every agency focuses on. Partnering with an agency of any size that has proven processes in place for creating long-term value while prioritizing your budget is critical.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s this: how well an agency adapts to change can directly affect its overall success as a business and partner. Like most industries, marketing is an ever-changing field with new tools and techniques for reaching consumers launching every day.
Thanks to volatile markets, having contingency plans in place for unexpected shifts is no longer enough. Instead, look at how an agency has reacted to similar shifts in the past to get an idea of how they’ll respond to sticky situations in the future.
Whether they have 20 employees or 200, a truly adaptive agency is growth-oriented, able to pivot quickly in the face of market changes, and not afraid to differentiate in their own industry. If they tell you they’ve “always done things this way” in a meeting, pay close attention to whether it’s because the strategy works or it’s comfortable.
Already searching for an agency?
Do your research! Come prepared to your first meeting with questions about service capabilities, industry experience, and internal processes. The initial consultation should be about more than your brand or business operations, it should touch on who the agency is collectively and how they plan to collaborate with your team. With these tips in mind, we’re confident you’ll find the agency partner that’s right for you.
Our decades of experience in full-service marketing has generated continued growth for hundreds of brands across all industries. From research and strategy to design and development, Asen’s here to help you thrive.