Many brands do their daily work exceptionally well. They create top-notch products, carry out the highest quality of services and stay on top of industry trends. But in order to maintain and grow their book of business, they must market their products and services.
Maybe they want to build brand affinity, introduce a new initiative, celebrate a milestone, recruit employees or garner attention from a new audience segment — whatever the reason, sharing the brand story is crucial to growth.
That’s often where a marketing partner comes in. But there can be a lot of uncertainty surrounding how to work with a third-party marketing affiliate and what to expect. In a Trilix Podcast episode, we chatted with Jon Miller, Trilix’s director of client service, about what a marketing agency can provide and what to expect out of a great working relationship.
Should I partner with a full-service marketing or advertising agency?
The first step to answering this question is to determine why you are considering working with a third-party marketing affiliate, Jon recommended.
“Consider these types of questions: Do you have holes in your current workforce? Do you have skill gaps?” Jon said. “Are there efforts missing from your marketing plan that you aren’t equipped to carry out?”
So what does a marketing agency offer? The reasons why you need a marketing agency may include the abilities to
- Add project-based or long-term help for your internal marketing department.
- Provide specialized services, such as sound engineering and video production.
- Act as your company’s entire marketing arm.
- Have an external team carry out a plan based on your company’s advice.
- Give expert advice that an internal team carries out.
- Offer an objective outside look at your organization’s needs.
What should companies look for when selecting a marketing partner?
Above all else, search for a full-service marketing agency. Even if your organization only needs to utilize one or two services now, you want to partner with marketers who understand the importance of a brand’s omni-channel presence and how the services you’re taking advantage of fit into the bigger picture.
If you do decide to sign on for more services later on, you’re already working with a partner who can carry out your needs and understands your brand. That way, you can ensure the number of vendors your internal team has to work with is minimized significantly.
It’s also a good idea to make sure both companies align on mission, vision and values.
“Consider if the agency has a good relationship with their vendors, if staffing is typically stable and if they can ensure efficient, streamlined communication with your organization,” Jon suggested. “Are they a business others would want to do business with? Do you trust them to represent your brand in the community?”
What to expect from a digital marketing agency?
In addition to offering digital services your organization may depend upon, a digital marketing agency can provide some very important perspectives on how content can be optimized across a variety of digital platforms.
A digital marketing agency may supply the following services.
- Media planning and buying on digital channels
- Paid and organic social media management
- Custom website development and management
- App development
- Best SEO practices in content generation and website development and management
- Email marketing and list management
- Blog creation
- Graphic design for digital platforms
While you can and should expect a digital marketing agency to stay on top of the latest trends in marketing, advertising and digital media consumption, don’t opt for an agency that eschews all traditional platforms. Most brands have several audience segments they need to reach, meaning they need to have a presence on a variety of platforms. And they typically need to reach potential customers between five to seven times before the brand makes a lasting impression.
Most likely, some of those platforms still include tried-and-true channels, and you need a marketing partner who is able to promote your brand across all the channels that make sense for your audiences.
What should you expect as far as quality of services?
In order for a company to ensure they receive what they need from a third-party marketing partner and to give the marketing partner a fair shot at success, it’s important for both to set expectations upfront.
You can expect a marketing partner to quickly learn your brand, recommend goals and create a plan to reach those aspirations. Additionally, a marketing partner can outline the agency roles and responsibilities from the beginning, setting you up with a regular point of contact and a team you can expect to communicate with on a regular basis.
"Communication with your agency team can also be outlined as the relationship begins," Jon said.
“The thing that is important is not always the frequency of communication; it’s the value of the communication,” he adds. “Points to consider: Are they keeping things moving? Are tactics successful and being evaluated regularly? Are deadlines met?”
Overall, you and your marketing partner can decide, and reevaluate when necessary, what success looks like.