Whether your business is large or small, at some point you’re probably going to consider bringing on a marketing agency for additional support — even if you have an in-house team. This doesn’t mean you’re giving up in any way! An agency offers many benefits: expert and specialized services, an outside perspective, an increase in your internal team’s capacity, easy management. Agencies are also cost effective — they are essentially independent contractors for your company.
When you start looking for an agency, you might be surprised to see how many agencies there are — and how many types! You’ll first need to choose what type of agency is right for you — full service agencies, ad agencies, PR firms, creative shops, inbound agencies, etc. You may even want to hire a few agencies for various projects: an ad agency for a tv commercial, an inbound agency for SEO…
Once you have your needs dialed down, you’ll still have a handful of agencies to choose from. At this point, your choice of agency is a judgement call. Our team at Magneti (through lots of personal experience) is here to give you their best advice on choosing an agency that’s a good fit for your company.
Jesse, CMO: Get a sense of the culture
Scope and deliverables and results are important. But the business world moves fast, and one of the best skills you’re looking for is flexibility. When things change for your business, does your marketing agency pivot well? Do they know how to shift priorities or get stuck in a rut? This is driven by their culture and attitude towards change. Take the time to get to know the folks who will be working with you not just through the specifics of the contract, but as the real humans you’ll be interacting with on a regular basis.
Ben Robb, Director of Strategic Engagement: An obsession with learning.
We have a mantra at Magneti: A) Always, B) testing, C) Learning. Whether you’re looking for an agency with skills in CRO, social media, email, or direct mail, look for an agency that will be obsessed with tailoring those skills to your organization and audience. Can they conduct quality consumer research? Can they describe methodologies for in-campaign testing? Do they publish case studies regularly? Those who love to learn will learn what works best for you.
Ray, Digital Marketing Director: Look for a good cultural fit and a team that gives unique insights.
There are a lot of good marketing agencies in the world, and many do very similar (and good) work. However, you don’t have to settle for an agency that just does good work. If you see your agency as a partner rather than a sub-contractor, you want them to fit your culture in the same way as hiring an employee. You should also learn about your potential agency’s thought process in challenging situations. Can they answer why something is happening, not just guessing at a solution? These unique insights should help display their level of expertise.
Mark, Creative Director: Go with your gut
The creative process requires a positive, trusting environment where our most personal ideas can get lovingly ripped to shreds. A functioning environment of celebration and critique is a delicate, nuanced balance. Trust yourself, follow your gut, and choose what feels right to you personally (and not just to your balance sheet).
Anthony, Marketing Manager: Find an agency that believes in you what you’re doing, who you are, and where you’re going
Ask yourself about the agency’s culture: Does their company culture complement yours, or help you explore an area you haven’t? Are you excited to work with these people? Every agency has its sweet spot. Define your needs clearly and find an agency that fits.
Karen, Marketing Manager: Pick the people that make you feel uncomfortable (comfortably).
The agency you choose should give discomfort in showing how much you don’t know, while making you comfortable that you are in good hands. They should have people that get you and your product and your mission to grow. People that ask lots of questions about you and your product. People that will push back but with conviction and experience. People that will work as hard as you to achieve success.
Beryl, Marketing Specialist: Hire an agency whose team members you would hire for your own team!
If you could see your agency’s team members as your own coworkers (in a good way), then you found the right agency. This means you trust their intellect as well as their character — and both your internal team and the agency will communicate well!