So You Hired a Marketing Agency. Now What?
Congratulations, you’ve hired an agency! You’ve just entered into a special relationship, one which will propel your business into the future and and elevate your brand to new levels of success.
You’ve also likely carved out a budget, paid a sizeable deposit, and are placing the future of your company in the hands of people who drink way too much coffee and talk about fonts for fun. What did you just get yourself into?
Intimidating as it can be, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you get as much value as possible out of this new relationship.
Due dates are something with which we’re all familiar. Whether they’re set by our high-school english teacher (Hi Mrs. Fouser!) or the IRS, the reality of life is that things need to be completed on time if we want to reap the rewards and avoid the penalties.
Your agency is pouring time and effort into hitting a deadline, and it can be disheartening if you put off reviewing their work for a week. Reviewing designs is likely above and beyond your normal responsibilities, and you of course don’t want other aspects of your business to suffer so you can pore over brochure proofs. But in order for the project to remain on-schedule and on-budget, you need to be invested in its success just as much as your agency. After all, you’re the expert when it comes to your business, and without your input, the ad men can’t benefit from your insights.
Avoid Scope Creep
It’s not uncommon to be halfway through a project and have a thought occur to you: “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” Agencies see it time and time again; as a client gets more in-tune with the marketing/design process, they start seeing more possibilities, more features, more photos, more everything. In the industry, we refer to this as “scope creep,” and it’s a surefire way to jeopardize the success of a well-defined project (see Craig’s “Get Clear on Your Desired Results” section).
If you change the scope halfway through a project or add a whole new list of deliverables, one of two things can happen: 1. Time is diverted away from the initial objectives to complete the new ones within the budget, or 2. The budget is increased. As you can imagine, neither of those outcomes is ideal for a client or the agency. Divided efforts don’t benefit anyone, and increasing budget often requires additional approvals that temporarily stall the project.
Just as you’re a professional in your field, your agency teammates are professionals in theirs. They have years of experience, with hundreds of clients across dozens of industries, and have learned a thing or two along the way about how to help others achieve their goals.
It’s natural to be skeptical of a new idea, from someone who doesn’t know your business the way you do. More often than not, it can be easy to forget that they’re here to help you.
A good agency will ask a lot of questions. We’re going to make you think about your company in new ways. We’re going to help you find your flaws. To be honest, we’re probably going to make you a little uncomfortable. Throughout this process, we’ll ask you to trust us. Trust that we know what we’re doing. Trust that we’re doing everything we can to help you succeed, even if it doesn’t feel like it all the time.
Grow With Us
We have the privilege of working with amazing clients, but every single relationship we have started the same way – discovery, learning, a bit of push-and-pull, give-and-take, some growing pains. When starting an agency relationship, expect those things, and be cognizant of your role and the things you bring to the table. We work best when we work WITH our clients, in a partnership. The more you let us in, the more we can learn about your business, and the more successful our work for you will be.
If you still have questions about working with an agency, or want to know more about what an agency relationship can do for your business, get in touch. We’re happy to help.