How do you choose a brand or marketing agency?

So you need help with your brand, your website, your marketing or your social media? There are a million agencies out there. So how do you choose?

From client feedback and our experience, the top 8 things to look for (ranked in order of importance) are:

  1. A deep understanding of your business and your key client
  2. Great communication 
  3. Past experience with similar clients
  4. A set process or framework
  5. Creativity
  6. Business experience themselves
  7. Practice what they preach 
  8. Price


Why are they so important?

A deep understanding of your business and your key client

It might be surprising, but what we find is most important to our clients is how much time we invest in understanding their business. This is why we spend hours getting to know the businesses origins and DNA. This step is absolutely critical in order for us  to best represent that business to the market. Agencies that use the same  cookie-cutter solution for everyone don’t realistically care to  invest in this as it is not central to what they do. But if you want great results, you have to get right under the skin of the business, bring out its real magic, and understand how to best communicate that to their core client. 

Ultimately if an agency doesn’t invest the time or energy in understanding the client from day 1, most businesses will be aware of this and choose someone who will. 


Great communication 

At the end of the day people do business with people they like and trust. Communication is central to this at all stages of the client journey. But it is not good enough just to say you can communicate, you have to carry that through in every stage of your relationship. From accessibility, to responsiveness, to project management; being able to effectively communicate with any agency is critical. 


Past experience with similar clients

Have you done it before? That’s pretty fundamental to most clients when choosing a brand or marketing agency. No one likes to be the first, everyone knows service businesses are constantly improving so past experience is a huge factor. This past experience will also give you an insight into how the agency handled their past clients, and you can ultimately decide whether what they delivered aligns with what you want. 


A set process or framework

At the start of a sales process people care about the agency’s creativity and past work, but when it comes time to put pen to paper, people care about the agency’s process.  Why? Because at the end of the day, the ultimate question is “will this agency deliver?”  An effective process and an established framework make a huge difference in the end.

Creativity

It might surprise you, but creativity is generally low on the list. Why? Because people expect that you can do the work either way. It’s a bit like going to the doctor. You expect that they can do it, so you make a decision on who to go to based on different factors like location or timing. 

While this might be true, we actually feel that creativity should go higher up. The reality is that good design is not a given… it's a combination of deep understanding, hard work and technical skills. Creativity is the magic dust that takes those core things and brings them together in a way that works. 


Practice what they preach
Does their own branding, website or social media look the part? In a creative service business it is especially important to practice what you preach. In the end, one of the central questions any service provider should be asking is “would I do this in my business?”.

I’m always amazed at how few brand and marketing agencies actually have large social followings and consistent content production, even when that is what they are selling clients. 



Price

Lucky last! The truth is, price is of very low importance to most firms. This is not because people spend money willy-nilly; it’s because at the end of the day the value added with a great project far outweighs any cost, and clients understand this. Most agencies of a similar level cost similar amounts, and few businesses go with the cheaper option because most value the elements we’ve outlined above: They want a connection, they want a great process, they want to be understood. 


We understand that choosing a brand agency is a big decision, and based on our positive client experience, we know that our process, pricing, communication and creativity is on point. If you’d like to see more of what we do or put us to the test, get in touch with Mike today by emailing michael@beyondbillables.com