Secrets to Working with a Marketing Agency

February 26, 2013
Secrets to working with a marketing agency

Establishing a strong online presence is a challenging process, one that many businesses lack the resources to do without help. Whether you need a new website or content marketing services, there are steps you can take to ensure a successful engagement with a digital marketing agency.

Involve all stakeholders

Generally the larger the business, the more people who are involved in making big decisions around marketing strategy, web technology, and lead generation plans. Developing these items can be a lengthy process even when all stakeholders are engaged and responsive; imagine how much longer the project can go when communication is scattered and not all stakeholders are involved.

For example, let’s say a designer has spent weeks working with a marketing manager to develop a design for a new website. Strategy meetings have been held, discussions have sprung up around target audience, colors, and layout, and several iterations have been created. Thousands of dollars of the budget have been used.

At this point, nothing makes everyone involved feel worse than hearing, “[Previously unknown stakeholder] saw the design and hates it. We need to start over.”

Surprise stakeholders can derail projected deadlines, frustrate individuals who have been involved in the process up to that point, and blow budgets. Have all stakeholders involved from the beginning of a project.

Note that I’m not talking about Joe from Accounting the boss wants to bring on because he “has an eye for design” — I mean individuals like the heads of Sales and Marketing and the CEO.

Decisions happen faster, budgets stay trimmer, and projects are more successful when all relevant parties are involved from the beginning.

Be honest

Chances are the reason you’re considering hiring a marketing or web agency is because you’re unhappy with your current website. Redesigns often require as much time and budget as first-time builds, so it’s important that you are happy with the finished product.

This is where honesty comes in. Hate maroon (or burnt orange)? Tell the designer. You don’t think your customers will like a certain feature? Say something. The persona development process is going too fast for you? Speak up!

Any agency you hire should be willing and eager to know what you are thinking and feeling throughout your time with them. At Digett we frequently remind our clients that the entire process is a safe place to express themselves:

"Before we go over this we want you to know that you’re free to say how you feel. There are no hurt feelings here. This is your website, and we’ll do whatever we need to make sure you’re happy with it."

That said, remember that you are hiring an agency to provide the knowledge and services you lack; let them be as honest with you as you are with them, and take their recommendations as seriously as you expect them to take yours.

Set clear expectations

Obviously this is a big topic with lots of smaller concepts underneath, but it all boils down to responsibility. For example:

  • If you respond faster to a phone call than an email, say so.
  • Going out of town? Mention it in advance and ask how that affects the project.
  • Do your best to meet deadlines, even if it means chasing down an elusive stakeholder and pestering them until they provide needed feedback.
  • Be open and honest at all times.

Setting clear expectations from the beginning—and adjusting them as necessary—saves you time, money, and frustration.

Marketing as life

The points discussed in this article are high-level concepts, but they trickle down into every aspect of your engagement with a marketing agency. It really is a partnership, and like any other it requires you to be involved and honest. Remain so and you’re halfway to success.

Start a conversation

If you’re looking for a true partnership with a marketing agency, we’d love to hear from you. If your website isn’t bringing you the business you need, you should be thinking, “I need a redesign.”

Start now

[Image: Joe Shlabotnik]