Pointers for choosing the right marketing agency

Some pointers for choosing the right marketing agency

The secret of our success? We’re old school![hr]

Why being old fashioned is harming our competitors while being ‘old school’ is bringing business to our door

I never cease to be amazed by things I see on the Internet! Not so much the dancing rabbits and gurning goats—but what companies describing themselves as the right marketing agency are doing to attract business. Take this morning. I went online early to tie up a few loose ends before going on holiday. I contacted a number of people regarding working together in the future and then I had a quick flick through LinkedIn to see what my connections have been up to.

And I was amazed!

The first thing that caught my eye was the number of people looking for freelance designers and copywriters. As far as I’m concerned, this is great—it indicates growth in the industry, and shows that business are seeing more value in these essential skills. This is certainly in line with our own experience—this year we’re already looking at significant growth in both turnover and profit.

But the other thing that drew my attention was how out of date some of our “right marketing agency” competitors’ offerings appeared, particularly from the more established companies. For example, I saw a post from a marketing and advertising agency on whether your business card is eye-catching enough. It may depend on your business, but I actually don’t remember the last time I swapped business cards with anybody. And surely you don’t pick your agency on the strength of their business card designs? Well, I certainly wouldn’t! But good luck to them with that.

Another example—a small, local marketing agency put out a post about using short video in social networking. It may seem perfectly reasonable on the surface but think about it a bit more deeply. In my opinion, if you have to teach your clients something this basic, then you’ll find it challenging to make money out of them. Why? In my experience, if you need to explain basic principles to your clients, you’re already on the back foot with them. If they know so little about marketing, I’m afraid they’re probably the type of clients who don’t appreciate consultancy being a billable service.

You’re probably wondering why I’m launching this barrage of criticism. I’ll tell you—the fact is that I’m concerned that this is a standard that many companies view as acceptable. In my opinion, this sort of sloppy marketing effort devalues the expertise and knowledge of the individuals who work for these companies. I’ve worked with one of them and know that their team is incredibly talented and hard-working—and they can certainly deliver brilliant campaigns with quantifiable results.

I don’t think I missed anything radical or new in their posts such as business cards includig wearable technology or short films going holographic! No, these posts were old hat! Why would they do that? Have they misunderstood the purpose of blogging on social networks?

So what about us? Presumably we’re not using such old-fashioned articles to pitch our business to potential clients? Correct—we do things differently. I’ve pitched for new business many times and I’ve won many times. But not by suggesting business cards or short videos. In fact, our pitching is even more old school than that!

How do you know which marketing agency to choose?

What we do is begin by asking questions.

  • What are your goals?
  • What are you already doing?
  • What works for your business?
  • What doesn’t?
  • And many more…

Our questioning process lasts for a considerable time and allows us to get to know our clients’ businesses inside out. It gives us the information we need to make the marketing decisions required. It means our proposals are based on evidence and fact, with outcomes that can be measured.

Additionally, we don’t do all the pitch work involved for free.

Traditionally, many companies do but we favour a different approach. If clients have faith in our process and our strategy, they will be willing to pay for the work involved in creating a bespoke proposal. This gives us the reassurance that our time and effort is justified. In turn our clients can feel reassured that we are providing an individualized service rather than just passing them a standard proposal. Our initial investigation provides an evidential report that will determine a measurable forward strategy.

Old school hard graft beats old-fashioned marketing flannel every time!

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