How do I hire a marketing agency?

May 14, 2015

We aren’t all armed with the knowledge necessary to hire an ad agency; it can actually be a very stressful task. Because this is our area of expertise, it is easy to forget that others do not understand the ins and outs of the industry. I am constantly reminding myself of just how much hand-holding we need to do to ensure that our clients are well-informed.

Once you’ve decided that you need to hire an ad agency, the next step is to research. While searching for a qualified marketing firm can be time consuming, it is well worth the effort. Experienced agencies offer a fresh perspective and can help you achieve new levels of success. A marketing agency will be deeply focused on creating a marketing strategy that is flawlessly executed, while you focus on your business.

TIP: It is best to hire an agency that has a specialty. Maybe they are the best in your industry or are experts in the area. Of course, having a firm that specializes in your business provides added-value.

Once you’ve made the decision to hire a marketing agency you’ll want to decide how formal you wish to be in the hiring process. Will you select various agencies to provide RFP (Request for proposal)? Or will you take it a step further and ask for a Request for Information?

Generally RFPs aren’t requested in the marketing world, and instead you’ll decide to schedule a meeting with two or three marketing agencies.

1. Meeting

During the initial meeting you’ll have a lot of questions and you’ll also be answering a lot of questions. This is your opportunity to get to know the people that work at the marketing agency and it is also their opportunity to get to know you and your business. At this point, they will gather enough information to put together a proposal along with recommendations.

2. Proposal

Within a week, you can expect to receive a proposal with an outlined marketing strategy as well as the costs. You’ll want to thoroughly review each proposal. Time and geography permitting, it is a good idea to schedule a follow-up meeting to go through the proposal in detail. This way, you can guarantee your full understanding of the services that will be provided.

3. Questions

It is likely that you will have lots of questions, go ahead and ask them. Don’t just evaluate each proposal by the cost alone; asking questions might help you to evaluate why one proposal is higher in price than the other. This is of particular importance when a meeting has not been set to review the proposal. Make sure you understand what you are getting from each of the agencies.

4. Payment Schedule 

Once you’ve narrowed it down to the agency you wish to work with, the payment plan will be discussed. In some instances, you’ll want to break down costs into a monthly fee. Other times you’ll want to pay a deposit and the balance on completion. The way the cost structure is setup will depend largely on your preference as the client. Some clients want to know that they will be billed an exact amount every month, while others want to be invoiced for each individual project. Regardless of your preference, it is likely the marketing agency will be able to work with you.

5. Agreement/Engagement Letter

Most marketing agencies will require that you sign an agreement or a letter of engagement. This will give them the authority to establish a commence partner with your business. The engagement letter gives them the legal ability to represent your brand and publish work. The agreement will also have outlined the payment plan and the scope of the work. It is important for both parties to review the document to guarantee both of their rights are protected.

6. Kick-Off Meeting 

Let the fun begin! Now that you have hired your marketing agency, they will want to get started with your project immediately. Usually you’ll meet with the agency one more time before they get rolling. They’ll have plenty of questions to ask and will want to know everything about your existing business. This is sort of a brainstorm session in which every piece of your business will be thoroughly evaluated.

Hiring a marketing agency is both exciting and nerve-wrecking. For most people, hiring a marketing agency is a very complex item on their to-do-list. It is scary to undertake a task that is necessary, but that seems risky because it represents the unknown. It is less stressful to keep this item on the back burner, hoping that it will resolve itself. The issue with this theory is that the longer you wait, the worse the situation becomes. The majority of businesses depend heavily on marketing, and without a marketing agency they can’t achieve the necessary results.

We hope that this clears up the recommended procedure for hiring a marketing agency. Completing a proposal is no easy task and it can take up to five hours, so before you ask for one, be sure that you are serious about using that agency. If you’ve decided that they are not a good fit, go ahead and let them know. It is better to save the time than to go through a lengthy process that won’t benefit either party. If you are looking to hire a marketing agency, let’s meet.