Picking the right partner for your marketing, branding or advertising efforts is important, not only because these projects can be resource intensive but because the partnership can have a major impact on the future of your business. You may be tempted to head straight to Google and do a search for “marketing firms near me,” but ultimately, there’s value in thoroughly preparing for the search. In this blog post, we’ll look at five important things to keep in mind as you plan your search for a marketing, branding or advertising firm.
Set clear goals
Start by defining what you hope to accomplish with the help of a marketing firm. Your goals can include any variable of change you wish to see, whether it’s a focused effort to boost digital engagement or a comprehensive overhaul of your brand. Having these goals written down with specific numbers to achieve along with a timeline for when you'd like to start seeing results will help your marketing firm organize and plan for a smooth and easy process.
Assess your budget
We find that many businesses head into a marketing effort with a clear sense of the problem that needs to be solved, but no guess as to how much they want to spend. However, having a clear sense of what you are willing to spend will help weed out marketing firms that are out of your price range, and will make your search more efficient. Typically, clients will reach out to firms either through an RFP process or directly, and a quote for work is usually generated up front. Sharing what you expect to spend on the project will allow the marketing firm to specify what they would be able to do for precisely that budget. This is a solid approach because it helps to set clear expectations from the beginning, and reduces confusion about money down the road. Communication is key - even when it comes to budgets!
If you’re not sure where to begin with developing a budget, ask around to industry peers to see what they might have paid for equivalent services.
Determine what kind of people you want to work with
In our experience, good chemistry between the client and marketing partner is a primary ingredient to a successful partnership. Don’t be afraid to factor your feelings about the actual humans on the other end of the conversation into your decision! Do their values align with your own? Is there synergy between your personalities? Discuss with your team the type of firm that you feel will align well with you.
Responsiveness and availability is important, too. Reach out to previous clients of a potential firm to get honest insight into their real style of communication. This is key to building an idea of what the firm is like under the stressful realities of daily work.
Take a look at their own brand
The way a marketing, advertising, or branding firm brands themselves can give you insight into how they do business and what they prioritize. While it’s not always a foolproof way to determine their quality as a partner, they should at least be practicing what they preach, and applying the strategies and experience they claim to offer clients to their own brand, as a matter of quality brand management. Click through their website and social media to ensure that it's robust and actively managed.
Here’s a quick recap of the steps you should take before looking for a marketing, branding, or advertising partner.
- Have a clear sense of what your goals for the partnership are.
- Do your best to determine what you are able to spend on the marketing effort. Setting a range is definitely okay.
- Think about the type of people you and your team members would most like to work with. Chemistry is important.
- If you can get in touch with one of their previous clients, ask them about their responsiveness.
- Don’t be afraid to take the way they brand and market themselves into consideration.
Before you go, be sure to take the next step by downloading our free e-book: Building a Professional Service Brand That Stands Out. It's a helpful, quick-to-read guide to the elements of a strong, clearly differentiated brand, with helpful info on how to get there. Click the button below to get started!