There may come a time when your company will grow beyond its own marketing capabilities and when that time arrives, you will need to hire a marketing firm. However, the idea of hiring a marketing firm is easier said than done. Not every marketing firm may fit your business goals and company needs. So where do you start?
Start by establishing how you will evaluate different firms so you can avoid wasting time exploring options that turn out to be unfruitful in your key decision making. Below are key factors that you should take in account when considering a marketing firm for your company.
Relevant Experience. The marketing firm should have experience with companies of your size and with similar business models. It is important that the marketing firm has the capacity to service the size of your company. The firm does not necessarily need to have experience within your industry though it would be a big plus, but if the firm has experience in various industries, this will prove helpful as the firm can provide an outsider’s perspective into your business. Your company can differentiate itself from the competition.
Handling Challenges. Ask the marketing firm to provide you with reports on how they raised the profile of other companies. Did their strategies increase reach new audiences, increase profits or visit frequency? You have a marketing challenge in mind and you need to know if the company has previous experience in successfully accomplishing similar challenges.
Creativity and Strategy. Inquire about the marketing firm’s creativity and strategy capabilities. Not all ideas and strategies that worked for one company may work for another. Every company is different, so recycling ideas may not be good idea. It’s important that the firm can think differently. The firm should demonstrate its ability to think creatively and critically about your challenges and offer solutions.
Options. If you haven’t established a budget for marketing efforts, ask the marketing firm to provide you with proposals for high, medium, and low budgets. Ideally, you want to give the firm a budget so they know what they’re working with. No marketing firm has mind reading capabilities, so openly discuss how much you can spend on marketing efforts. No one’s time is wasted and the firm can provide a range of options for your budget.
Success. Marketing efforts and its success does not happen overnight, unless you’re willing to spend grand amounts of money. How would you rate success? Your measurement of success and the marketing firm’s are likely different. Discuss what you expect from the firm because when everyone is on the same page, the firm can push your company forward into new directions.
Compatibility. The marketing firm must be compatible with your company. Water and oil never mix. You want a firm that can work with your company on every level. If your company likes to joke around sometime and the firm is stiff, then it may create social tensions. Get to know the firm before you commit to any long-term partnerships. Meet the firm’s staff and get a feel for yourself if this firm will have your company’s best interest in mind. You can also assign the firm small marketing tasks so you can gauge how effective and compatible the firm is.
Hiring a marketing firm is not an easy task. Don’t rush to hire a firm because wouldn’t you rather take the time to do it right the first time instead of making a mistake and starting all over again? Don’t waste your time and money. Good luck!