How to find the right agency for your business

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If you currently have the right agency and you’re getting value from them, do not leave them. Hold on to them. If, however, you’re always signing off that monthly PO and internally tutting, then maybe it’s time to pitch your business.

The first thing to do is work out what you need and decide whether or not you can do it in-house. So if your objective is to rank well for a specific term on Google, or maximise your presence at an event, you need to decide if this is something you can you do yourself. Do you have the skills needed and if not, do you have the time to master those skills? If it’s no to both and your to-do list is already two sides of A4, chances are you need an agency to help you.

The first thing an agency will ask you is about your budget but if you don’t know how to do something and this is the first time you’ve done it, how are you supposed to know what the budget is?? A good agency will ask you about what you want to achieve and then pitch a range of support options that can achieve those objectives. It’s good to ask the agency for a menu of options so that you know what’s available to you and then you can present that back to your exec team/ board. Unless you have been given a really specific budget, try and get the agency to tell you what they can offer. You can always negotiate if you’re prepared to commit to a longer-term relationship.

Make sure they speak in your voice – if they say “ideation” where you say “ideas” or they say “reasons to believe” and you say “reasons” then chances are, you’re going to be playing agency bingo lingo with them at your monthly meetings and not actually getting the work done. Lynsey WaldenFront Door Communications

Always, always ask for the people who will actually be working on the account to come in to pitch –it’s always annoying when an agency would send in their MD to charm you, only to find that on day one of the account, you’d be introduced to a fleet of account execs who you’ve never met before. That’s not to say the account execs don’t know what they’re doing, but why not bring them along to the pitch??

Don’t get caught up in the ideas – you need to know an agency is creative, but actually the ideas can blind you from the work that counts. If it’s content marketing or PR they’re pitching – who will they contact? Do they already know the journalist, webmaster or blogger? How much will it cost to make that infographic? It’s important to ask the details behind the idea or you end up being told, “oh no, sorry, that idea was never a possibility as the data doesn’t exist, we just thought it looked good.”

Ask them to tell you what they think of your company – if they think you’re great and admire you, that’s great but you really want to know what you’re doing wrong, and where they can fix it. And it may sound silly but make sure they speak in your voice – if they say “ideation” where you say “ideas” or they say “reasons to believe” and you say “reasons” then chances are, you’re going to be playing agency bingo lingo with them at your monthly meetings and not actually getting the work done.

Finally, make sure you get on with the account team. It’s so important that you can communicate with each other. There needs to be at least one person who you you can call if things aren’t working out on the account. The best agency relationships are always the ones who listen to your feedback and change things if required.

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