When running a business, you may find that you want to engage the services of an advertising agency to manage some, or even all, of the marketing for your business. Hiring an agency is a big step, as once you have done so, you will be better able to track your costs. All your marketing and advertising will be managed as an entirety, and you can consolidate your costs in those areas. Choosing the right agency for your company requires some careful thought, so here are a few things for you to consider before making the decision.
1. Your budget
Affordability is the biggest component of in making marketing plans. Your big dreams are only feasible if you have the funds available to make them come true. Having a well-developed marketing plan, along with knowledgeable advisers for your company, should help you determine your budget for promoting your business. The fine line between too much and too little is a crucial razor’s edge.
2. The type of service
Your budget will determine whether you should engage a full-service agency or take advantage of the less costly option of freelance professionals in advertising. While agencies that manage advertising and web development typically expect to take care of a wide spectrum of promotional material for a business, you can find those who are willing to work only on specific activities that you designate, such as only creating brochures or handling marketing activities. It’s an accepted fact that by working with a full-service agency, your costs will be higher but without a guarantee that you’ll be getting higher quality work. A lot of freelancers are veterans of agencies, the best freelancers will also be more willing to limit their efforts to your specific needs at a given time. Keep in mind, though, that if you need a variety of different services that require coordination, you may be more satisfied in going with an agency.
3. Industry expertise
Once you have made the decision to go with any agency, it is wise to seek out those organizations that have some familiarity with your type of business. Frequently, a small business will engage an agency based on the recommendation of other small businesses with little regard to the fact that none of those enterprises have anything in common with their own operation. Be careful, however, in choosing the agency with experience in your field.
4. The tasks
Going in with a plan is always a good idea. Prepare for your meeting with representatives from the ad agency by doing these specific things within your own business:
- Set up an interview team if you want others to participate in selecting an agency
- With the team, outline the specific marketing needs you have
- Review budgets
- Agree on a schedule and deadline for choosing an agency
- Give one team member the responsibility of seeking out candidate agencies and discussing desired services and budgets.
5. Size of people involved
Selecting from a variety of sources, including colleagues’ references, personal experiences, and local telephone directories, decide on agencies to interview. Of course, the bigger your budget, the more agencies you should interview.
Before meeting with the agency representatives, request the following information from each candidate:
- Those agency employees to be assigned to your projects
- Samples of work previously performed for companies in your type of business
- Anticipated fees, per job or on an hourly basis
It’s also important to get a sense of how each agency operates by asking for a personal tour of each of their offices before meeting with your committee for the formal interview. Request client references so that you can speak with them regarding the efficiency, timeliness, and flexibility of the agency. Ask these references if they believe that the work of the agency has been instrumental in establishing or improving the client’s business image.
6. What to conduct during interview
While you are interviewing each agency, delve into the following areas:
- Their experience with your type of business and accounts of this size
- Actual examples of work they’ve done with prior clients
- Their level of innovative, creative suggestions for types of advertising campaigns
- How available key representatives will be for your projects
- The “vibes” between both parties
Ask these kinds of questions:
- What will make you successful at promoting our type of business?
- Tell us about your relevant strengths and weaknesses.
- What are your views about the ease of working with our media choices?
- Do you see our expectations as being in line with our budget?
- Can you offer additional/alternative marketing ideas?
7. Before signing any contracts
Once you have selected the best agency for your needs, make a written agreement of all specifics, including financial agreements, ad creation timelines, property insurance options, the specific division of responsibilities, and ownership of the creative product. Make sure you should include your business advisor and your attorney in all phases of the process.
|||^||Tanner Grey: Establishing a Strong Brand and Business Identity|