The key to success in the marketing game is standing out of the crowd. With the sheer volume of advertising media that the general public is bombarded with day in and day out, if you’re not offering anything new (or at least appearing like you’re offering something new), your business is going to flop. So if the advertising agency you’ve hired to do your marketing is giving you the same, cookie-cutter treatment that they’re giving all their other clients, you’re doomed for failure from the beginning. You want to work with an agency that is going to sit down with you and take the time to look at every aspect of your business, analyze your audience, go through your goals, assess your brand, etc and develop a marketing plan that is tailor-made to ensure your business’s growth. Here’s how to figure out if you’re getting the one-size-fits-all treatment:
Don’t work with “yes men”
Let’s face it, a lot of business owners are, well, a little cocky. To be fair, no one really goes into business if they don’t strongly believe in themselves and their idea. But this will get you in trouble when it comes to looking for an advertising agency to work with. If you’re interviewing an agency and you notice that they are throwing around the word “yes” fairly liberally, watch out. You might be thinking “wait, don’t I want an agency that’s going to cater to everything I want?”
Look, you’re hiring an agency because they have expertise in an industry that you are probably not all that familiar with. You’re employing them to help you in an area in which you don’t have much knowledge or resources to dedicate to. So if you get an agency who is making big, sweeping promises to fulfill all of your wildest marketing dreams, they’re probably not being honest with you. A good agency is going to know their stuff, and won’t be afraid to shut down your ideas in your own best interest. Most importantly, they won’t promise anything they can’t deliver.
Steer clear of “marketing packages”
Many agencies will offer tiered packages based on business size or “level.” These may seem tempting because they will sell it as an amazing deal, but know that this is a clear sign that you’re going to get the cookie-cutter treatment. Like we mentioned, each business and brand is extremely unique. What works for one may not work at all for another. So when an agency offers you an “all-inclusive package”, they probably haven’t given much thought about what your business actually needs to be successful. You will end up wasting more time and money on these packages than if you had just spent a little more on an agency that actually takes the time to customize plans for each of their clients.
Consistent communication is necessary
If you’ve been looking at an agency or working with one who’s only communication with you is when they send you monthly reports, they’re probably not doing their job. Good agencies will be monitoring and analyzing their clients’ metrics on a daily basis, and they’ll take note if anything is not working. If a campaign is falling short in its delivery, you’ll be the first to know. A quality agency will also always be available to answer questions and discuss ideas. If your agency is avoiding your phone calls, leaving emails unanswered, and seemingly dropping off the face of the planet when you need them most, they’re not the agency you want to work with.