Don’t play trick or treat with your marketing budget.
We hate to see when clients purchase services that don’t meet their expectations. This only creates a bad taste in their mouth, and they become more suspicious of agency promises. Agencies conversely, lose the opportunity for a long-term relationship.
If we randomly picked any dozen or so marketing agencies in your area and asked them if they did social media, web development, advertising, media planning, strategic planning, and brand development, bet you that they would all say yes to every one of those specialties. But how could they all possibly be good at everything?
The short answer is most are not. Some of the larger full-service agencies do have all those capabilities internally. However, most of the small to mid-size agencies only do a few of those things well. Some will outsource the other work, which is an excellent model allowing them to be more nimble. Also, clients aren’t paying for extra overhead they are not using. Unfortunately, some agencies don’t subscribe to this philosophy, and they try to do the work themselves.
We’ve recently seen this trick. A company hired an agency that does great web design and development. The agency also sold them on developing their brand platform. The new website is excellent. The brand platform was all wrong. The client realized their mistake, and the brand platform is now in the trash. In another situation, an award-winning creative agency sold personas to their client. The personas lacked the depth of detail necessary to be used as part of a marketing plan. In these cases, the client will never work with these agencies again, and the agencies are probably wondering why they aren't getting more business from the clients.
Why do some agencies do this? We can’t speak for what an agency is thinking – it can range from a sincere belief they can do the work, to trying to save some money or just big egos. If you are an agency, please don’t try to fake it. Be transparent. Elevate your work with the best partners you can find – the investment pays off in the end with better work and hopefully continued engagement. Treat.
If you are a client, you also bear the responsibility to ensure you are getting the right agency for your money. Don't go with the first or flashiest agency with the cool office space. Talk to a few agencies to get a perspective.
Whatever it is you need, always do this:
Get examples. Ask them to show you examples of work that are similar to what they will be doing for you.
Learn their process. Have the agency team explain, in very clear (not marketing speak) and logical terms precisely what their process was to deliver on the examples provided. Pay close attention to how they conducted their research or obtained the insights needed before starting the actual project.
Ask for referrals. Speak to other clients whom the agency has completed similar work for and get their feedback.
If both sides do their part, there will only be treats. Happy Halloween everyone!