Lately, it’s been darn near impossible to find the time to market both my Keyhole Marketing and Joetography businesses by myself. I even joked with a friend the other day that I need to find a marketing agency to market my marketing agency.
It was a half joke, sure, but it got me thinking. What if I did seek out another marketing firm? What if I returned to the other side of the table again and looked for an agency to market my businesses? What would I look for exactly?
I came up with four key questions I’d ask:
When they offer you a collection of services, ask them to share how well they do those same services for themselves. If they suggest an SEO strategy, for example, ask them if you can get a peek at their analytics. Or if they want to ghostwrite your blog, ask their writers to send along some of their personal pieces. You’ll get a better sense of their skills and style that way than if you just peruse their company blog.
We all know that talk is cheap. Anyone can tell you how great a job they do. Ask your marketing firm to show you their success stories with previous clients. What were the needs? What were their strategies? What were the tangible results? Perhaps, ask to see portfolio examples of some of the specific things that you’re looking to have done for yourself. If they have minimal experiences that back up their story, you’ll just have to dig a little deeper. (See next step.)
Ask for a list of contacts of the firm’s current AND past clients. You’ll want both because the contacts from their current clients will undoubtedly be their biggest cheerleaders. Of course, they may be hesitant to share past client’s contact info, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Plus, you may be able to find that info yourself by perusing their resources page.
You should probably ask this question at several points along the process. When you first meet with them, see what research they’ve done in advance about you and your company. Find out what they know about your products and services, your industry, your key customers, your role, etc. Allow them to show you that they’ve done their homework too and are proactive about learning about their client. And if—after meeting with them and describing your needs—you permit them to assemble a quote, see how much they actually paid attention to the uniqueness of your company. Make sure they didn’t just cut-and-paste a strategy for you. You want an agency that is willing to pour into your brand like you do.
There are other things I’d definitely want to know, but these are four questions I’d be sure to ask at the start.