Whether you need some additional support to execute your marketing campaigns, you need to create a strategic marketing plan, or you need lead generation to fill up your sales pipeline, you have a lot of options for getting help. Navigating through all the marketing agency options to determine who can help your business is a challenge. The right marketing agency will add value to your business in many ways – but the wrong marketing partner will use your time and money without generating returns.
There are thousands of marketing agencies in business today. Choosing which one to work with can be daunting – not least because there are so many different types of agencies. In this post, we take a closer look at the different kinds of marketing agencies, what they focus on, and how to choose the right one for your business to work with.
Before we start - if you’re not exactly sure what marketing is, or how it can help your company, read the ways marketing can impact your business growth and success.
Caveat - the list of marketing agency categories below is not exhaustive but offers an overview of the variety of professional services available. You will find that some marketing agencies offer a fusion of these options and deliver a full-service experience.
Ad agencies focus on advertising campaigns that span a range of media, like newspapers, magazines, billboards, and commercials. Think Mad Men.
Lead Generation Agency
Lead generation is the method of connecting potential customers to a business. Many B2B companies operate in niche markets that require help to source hard-to-find clients and customers. Finding a lead generation specialist starts with knowing what to look for.
A brand agency concentrates on developing brand identity and creating a visual identity for your company that makes it stand out, including the design and development of a logo and brand image.
Graphic Design Agency
Graphic design agencies take care of all things visual, which can include sales collateral like spec sheets and brochures. They can have print and / or digital experience – make sure you know which they possess because you’re likely to need both.
Digital Marketing Agency
A digital marketing agency is concerned with the marketing of your company online and driving traffic to your website and landing pages. This may include content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization as well as online advertising.
Market Research Agency
These agencies research and analyze the market and industry that you work in (or want to work in). They are pros in conducting both qualitative and quantitative research that can be used to develop business, sales and marketing strategies. Market research firms help you ‘measure twice, cut once’.
A media agency focuses on strategizing, analyzing, buying, and placement of all types of media on varied channels including outdoor, print, radio, and digital. If your business spends hundred of thousands in advertising, you’re likely to work with a media agency. If you spend thousands, you won’t need to.
A print agency manages projects related to printing and in many cases is part of a larger marketing or digital agency.
A PR (public relations) agency helps pitch stories about your business to the media. If you want to show up in mainstream or niche media, a PR agency will help connect you to editors and journalists who will cover your story.
A creative agency delivers a blend of branding and communication strategies, driving a wider audience through engaging content, both online and offline. A creative agency is similar to a branding and graphic design agency.
Items to Consider When Hiring a
1. Know What You Want
You want success for your company. Of course. But do you have specific goals for its growth that you need help with? Consider areas that need work, like lead generation, increasing brand awareness, developing new advertising and market materials for distribution.
Knowing what you want will narrow down your search criteria for guiding your marketing partner. Think of going shopping for a new shirt. You probably know why you need a shirt, where you’ll wear it and what you might pair it with. Knowing this helps you focus your search.
Marketing agencies can help translate your business strategy into an effective marketing strategy. What’s the difference between a business strategy and a marketing strategy? Read here about the differences between the two.
2. Strengths and Specialization
Not all marketing firms are the same, even within the same specialization. A digital marketing agency may be great at delivering SEO (search engine optimization), but they may not be strong in social media.
When consulting with possible firms, ask for evidence of their past experience. Look for details that show evidence of experience in similar industries to yours, or with similar goals. Nothing helps you to understand a marketing firm better than learning about their past and current clientele.
3. Understand the Process
You may have agreed upon the end goals, and the scope of the work, but have you discussed the process? Every company works differently, so it’s important that your companies are mutually comfortable with how you both expect to work together.
Knowing how the project will be implemented may signal the possibility of future success. Understand that a promise of quick results will need to be backed up by an aggressive plan, or that a long-term project may require ongoing reviews of the plan.
4. Read the Contract
Marketing agencies will provide you with a formal contract clearly stating the scope and costs of the project. This will also outline the legal terms, length of project, and cancellation terms.
Take the time to review this documentation before you sign off. Be sure that agreed-upon goals and strategies are well-defined.
If you’re in the process of looking for a marketing partner, download the whitepaper ‘Evaluating Marketing Companies’ to get tips and guidance on questions to ask and topics to cover when you’re conducting your due diligence.
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