There are so many marketing agency's out there, how do you choose the right Marketing Agency for your business?

Firstly, clearly define the function of this agency. What is the specific task that you want this third party to do -- 'drive sales' is not specific enough. You may want them to create some social media content for Instagram promoting your outstanding customer service or a bigger project could involve developing, driving, coordinating and executing a marketing campaign around a new product or service you're launching.

It's easy for someone to call themselves a 'inbound marketing agency', 'marketing agency', a 'growth hacker', or any one of 2,000 buzz titles that are floating on Instagram. Tread carefully.

Recently we were asked to knock together a quick piece describing a sales professional. By no means are we saying the write up was flawless but it cut a lot of 'fluff' out and talked to the skills and attributes that a potential client would look for. This company's 'marketing' division reviewed the piece and butchered it to its core before adding the person's personal interests and preferred AFL team. Great for fluff, maybe a bit of banter, maybe even a conversation starter but in terms of driving sales or enticing a potential lead, unlikely at best. This is the problem when you hire a marketing graduate to write on behalf of your sales team.

Sales people write for sales people. Marketers write to the market.

There are different aspects to marketing and the reasoning for engaging a 3rd party may vary. Brand positioning & Corporate Social Responsibility are classic examples of where you DO NOT want a sales person writing for you. Speaking to the market requires a certain tact, a public relations and awareness language that has it's own specific jargon. Leave this to the hardcore marketeers.

If you're after an agency to perform tasks on behalf of a sales team, make sure they've got sales experience, and a lot of it.

With a strong track record in retail and the understanding of consumer buyer behavior in retail, we understand how people react to different print / video advertisements in this landscape. We are an authority on retail marketing and we know our business better than anybody else. If you asked us to design a poster with a call to action, we'd design you a poster we believe will drive the highest ROI and tell you where to place it in your store based on your current offerings. If you asked us to sell to government / enterprise, we'd refer the job to an appropriate marketing agency as this quite simply isn't in our scope of work.

It's like going to your General Practitioner for every medical problem you have regardless of its complexity. Sure, they have some idea, maybe a little more than you do (hence the reason you're sourcing expert help) but do you want someone that knows a little about something or do you want someone that is an expert in their field?

Here's what I'd do to choose the right marketing agency;

  1. Establish the specific function this agency is to perform
  2. Short list (max 3) these agencies based on some web research (google, instagram, facebook ,etc) and take time to read the reviews, good and bad
  3. Call these 3 agencies in to present to your company and give them a real world situation. Don't forewarn them about this, you want to get their first reaction, their instinct. Keep the situation and amount of information released to the agencies consistent to ensure everybody has an equal opportunity.
  4. Ask about their experience, biggest wins and track record in your industry or related industry / organisation.
  5. Ask the difficult questions about times they have not succeeded to see how honest your potential agency partner is going to be with you.
  6. Remember that nobody will be as passionate about your product as you. Find out what makes this agency tick, what motivates them. If they're successful with your business, what will it mean for them?