You've made the decision. It's time to hire a marketing agency partner to take your business to the next level. Congratulations! That is a critical first step. Now, the work really begins. You need to choose a partner you can work with that will maximize your investment. That will take some time and thoughtful research. It's not a decision to make lightly because not all digital marketing agencies are alike.
Like your company, each agency has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some focus on a particular sector or industry, while others may only provide specific marketing tactics. These details could benefit you if you’re looking for a partner with expertise in a market or tactic, or you could consider it a weakness if you are looking for a multi-faceted agency. Some digital marketing agencies offer comprehensive marketing strategies, while others may have a more scattered tactical approach. The bottom line is that you should find the agency that will best work with you to enhance your brand, increase your revenue, and achieve your business goals.
Over the past 20 years in the digital marketing space, my team at SyncShow has learned a lot about marketing strategies that work and ones that don't. Yet, we want our clients to feel comfortable with our approach to marketing. At discovery meetings, we encourage prospective clients to ask as many questions as needed to ensure they feel SyncShow would fit them well. We've heard them all. If you're searching for a new marketing partner, here are some of the best questions to ask before making the decision.
1. How is your team set up?
The most effective marketing teams staff employees accountable in each of the following four categories. They are:
You may have one or more of these team members in-house or you may choose to outsource the whole department. If your in-house marketing team lacks one or two roles, ensure your marketing agency partner can fill them. For example, if you need an SEO specialist on your team, find an agency that has one in-house or hire an SEO freelancer. If you are a small one or two-person marketing team, find a comprehensive marketing agency that can provide most (if not all) of these essential needs.
Ask the marketing agency how they staff their client teams.
How do they handle project management?
Who handles strategy?
Do they have the specialists and implementers necessary to execute on your marketing strategy?
Who will be your main point of contact?
What access do you have to senior leadership?
2. How will you help me achieve my marketing goals?
This question uncovers the agency's understanding and approach to branding and how a brand drives marketing. This question is not an invitation to highlight their most proven marketing strategies (that is the next question). The best agencies focus on a client's value proposition, ideal customer profiles, and buyer personas to create messaging that tells a brand story. We've seen other agencies fail to drive new business revenues for their clients because they didn't take the time to discover, articulate, and enhance their value proposition and the messaging to support it. If a prospective agency launches right into its preferred marketing tactics and campaigns before answering this question, they’re missing a critical step.
3. How do you develop a marketing strategy?
This question will highlight whether an agency focuses on strategy over tactics. A good marketing strategy incorporates multi-channel outbound, inbound, and customer marketing tactics into a cohesive, goal-driven, and measurable marketing roadmap. Without a formal marketing strategy, a company operates reactively versus proactively, and ROI can be very difficult to attain. A good marketing partner will help you build a multi-year over-arching vision for your marketing operations that includes tactical elements like a content calendar and key marketing initiatives.
4. What kind of performance reporting can I expect?
Your new marketing partner should set systems in place to measure and report the performance of your new marketing roadmap. Having the right data is critical for any ROI-driven marketing strategy. For example, our agency accesses client data from these sources for reporting: Google Analytics, Google Search Console, CRM tools, and marketing automation software. Other sources for relevant data are specific to certain marketing tactics like social media or search engine optimization. Ensure your agency partner leverages these data sources and can provide useful reporting to help you make informed decisions on future marketing strategies.
5. How do you measure ROI and other client goals?
There are many ways to set and track goals that have a tangible impact on your bottom line. Return on investment is just one of them. Ask every prospective marketing agency partner how they measure results. For example, can they access and use industry benchmarks to guide objectives and gauge success? What marketing campaign KPIs do they think are important to track? And above all, how will they document and show ROI? These are all crucial elements that should be a part of every successful partnership with a marketing agency.
Agencies that believe ROI is attained through key performance indicators such as website traffic, or social media engagement are missing the point. Your marketing ROI should be measured in the form of business revenues driven from marketing efforts.
6. What is the most important channel you recommend your clients use to enhance their brand?
This is a leading question because you are looking for a specific answer. The correct answer is your website. Any digital marketing agency worth the investment will tell you to optimize and enhance your digital front door. It should also be the heart of an ROI-driven digital marketing ecosystem. An ROI-driven website converts visitors into qualified leads or buyers through impactful brand storytelling, increasing brand recognition and revenue.
7. How will you help me optimize my time and resources?
Even with the help of a marketing agency, there is never enough time in the day, staff in place, or budget to go around. A good marketing agency partner will always keep that in mind when working with you and will go above and beyond to find ways to optimize your time and resources. The goal is to work smarter, not harder.
Your marketing agency can help you here in two ways. They are:
Building your technology stack — Your marketing partner should help you identify the best marketing tools and software to automate your efforts and free up your employees' time. These tools should integrate with each other and any other internal systems your team uses, like your CRM, to streamline workload. There should be no duplication of tasks or bottlenecks in workflows. This is possible with the right tech stack for your business needs.
Creating templates and guides – As your marketing partner becomes familiar with your brand and your marketing team dynamic, they can work with you to create documented processes that allow your team to produce excellent results with less effort. For example, standardized templates for website landing pages or case studies could make creating these assets faster and easier to measure KPIs.
Bringing It All Together
The answers you receive to these questions may prompt more questions for prospective agency partners. The best ones will welcome them and answer each thoughtfully. Look for a partner that can get down into your day-to-day nitty gritty details yet offers your company the benefits of having an external ROI-driven partner on your team.
SyncShow uses a framework called The Great 8 Pillars of ROI-Driven Marketing with clients that help us do just that. Using this methodology, we've helped B2B organizations see the results they've always wanted from their marketing efforts, some up to 10x their initial investment.
If you're looking for a data-driven marketing partner, SyncShow's Diagnostic & Roadmap can show you precisely what you need to do to see massive and trackable returns on your marketing spend.