Starting your search for an advertising agency is not just searching for another business to outsource your marketing problems to, it’s the process of finding a partner that you can work closely with and can rely on to help you grow your business. If you are considering looking for an agency, most likely you’re out of the first stages of your business and are looking to start growing or maybe you want to remake your brand. Whatever the reason, you need to have a specific and well defined goal in mind if you want to be successful in your search.There is a wide range of agencies out there, you need to pick one that you can have a good partnership with and knows your audience well. This becomes a rigorous process so make sure you go in with a lot of research of your company as well as theirs.
Create a Detailed RFP
Your RFP, request for proposal, to an agency should provide all the details that they would need in order to create a strategy to market your business. This includes who you are, what your goals of this campaign are, and any conditions of your partnership.
When considering your goals of this campaign, do so realistically. If you are a small business and say that you want a Super Bowl commercial, have no idea what costs you are willing to take, and/or do not know the certain directions you want money to spent in, you are not being realistic.
Tell them who you are marketing to and what product or aspect of your company you may want to push. You should know the demographics of your audience or the audience you plan on targeting very well. You are most likely not just marketing towards men or women, you are marketing towards 18-25 yrs. old women who use social media and don’t watch TV.
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Wittle Down the Masses
Talk to associates who within the last year found an agency or call up businesses whose adverts you enjoyed and ask who their agency is. Actual experiences from people working hand in hand with an advertising agency is valuable information. If you want to broaden your search go to the 4A’s website, American Association of Advertising Agencies, there you can search for agencies that fit your criteria. Then go on to explore what work they have done and call up businesses that they work with.
Consider if their business fits well with yours. If you have an affliction towards large business then don’t work with a large agency. Have they portrayed the same values that your business has when working with their other partners? Do you feel like you would be given lower priority than other businesses they work with? Find no more than five agencies you like and send them your RFP.
Meeting with the Teams
Few people may debate that at the meeting the creatives that would be working on the project should not present because from their past work they created you can get an idea of what they can do. The most important part of these meeting will be to discuss things like confidentiality, ownership, and fees. Though most people agree that meeting the creatives, making sure they have the backgrounds you want, that they understand from you directly the direction you want to go in and that you getting to experience what capabilities they have, is just as important.
“In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.”, says Lee Iacocca, a former american automobile executive. Chemistry is important since these people will be a part of your company for the next few years, When choosing the team you want, you have to find one that is a good fit for your company and meets all the requirements you need to work with them as a business.
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More on What To look For and What to Do
●Do they have case studies demonstrating their past projects and how well they worked? A case study allows you to see the general style of the agency and how it performs throughout the process.
●What strategy did they present, did they present to you opportunities that they can use to make you stand out from your competitors? Was it detailed enough, showing that they understood the market they were reaching to and its difficulties? Do they have a good grasp of who your audience is and how to reach them?
●Were they innovative? Innovative is a big buzzword today and if a company is not it will surely fail to keep up with this world. Big names like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Walmart, along with pretty much any other successful business would agree that innovation is what sets you apart. Find an agency that takes on this attitude, you may not know much about marketing so ask how they are innovating in their own business.
●Are you fearless, are they fearless? Global vice president, marketing at SAP, Gurdeep Dhillion says “Modern marketing is about taking risks and not being afraid to fail. No matter how much we research and study our audience, we’re not always going to hit the mark when we create content. The key is to recognize the failures, learn from them, and move on. And the way to do this is simple … measure everything!”
●Which brings us nicely into what plan you have to measure the success of this operation. Think about what your goal is and how you know when you have reached it, such as gaining a certain amount of followers on Facebook.
●This is basically an interview, so ask them what areas of marketing they are weaker in and what they have expertise in. If you are going after 20 yr. old and they have little expertise in social media and app advertising, then you may want to move on.