Firstly, when should you use an agency?
The short answer is when you need help with some aspect of your marketing that you don’t have the time or skills to complete. Could be something really simple, like a leaflet design, or something much more involved.
Worth remembering that you do have alternatives though. You could use a freelancer or potentially take someone on, but if you’re looking for good quality creative & specialist technical skills then your definitely in agency territory.
What skills do you need?
The first step is to establish a strategy that gives you an understanding of the marketing channels and actions you’d like to take. You may need an agency or advisor to help you with this, as failing to create a strategy is risky, you may be steered into activities that your chosen agency feels most comfortable with, rather than the activities that will be most effective for you.
Armed with your strategy you can look for an agency that has the skills you need. You probably want to use just one agency, and that should be very doable, but you may want to consider more than one agency if you need serious specialisation.
Is the work right for you?
Take a look at the work that the agency showcases. Do you like it? Do you think it works? Also, are they working with businesses like yours? For example, are they showcasing Coca Cola and you’re a regional SME… that’s probably not going to be a good fit for you.
What size agency do you need?
A small regional agency is up to 5 people, mid-sized 6-15, larger agencies are 15 plus and the very large agencies have 100’s or 1000’s of staff. So most agencies are quite small. The so-called magic number for agency headcount is around 10, small enough to be personal, large enough to have all the skills you need. The size that’s right for you will depend on the skills and work you need, but ideally, you want to be an important client and totally comfortable that your agency can handle your requirements.
Where should your agency be located?
We live in a world where supplier location is a less critical business factor, but with creative marketing, nothing beats face to face meetings. There are also benefits to having shared local knowledge, so if you want real ‘face time’ with your agency then you want them to be reasonably local, or to have a great Account Manager happy to come and see you to chat things through.
Is the price right?
You want to make sure you’re paying the right amount for the work and getting good value. It’s important to check out the agency rate card, but worth remembering that what matters is the price of the job (rates may be half, but the job takes 3x as long, right?).
So to help with comparisons, according to the Wow Company Agency Benchmarking report 2018, average agency hourly rates for Directors are £100ph, Senior £88, Mid £80 and Junior £70.
Is the chemistry right?
Ensuring our agency has all the capabilities you need is crucial, but you have to work with them, so the chemistry needs to be good too. Do you like the team and the ethos of the agency? Is there a cultural fit between the agency and your business? Do they understand your approach and have enthusiasm?
Good luck with your search and if you’d like to know if Resolution is a good fit for you just drop me a line, be great to hear from you.