The Ultimate Guide To Hiring A Marketing Agency


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In today's rapidly changing world, businesses need to be smart about which agencies they choose to work with. Especially when 72% of CEOs think marketers "are always asking for more money, but can rarely explain how much incremental business this money will generate." (Source: The Fornaise Group)

So what differentiates a truly great agency from the rest? To help you evaluate potential or existing agency partners we've created this helpful guide so you can take your business and marketing to the next level.

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The Ultimate Guide To Hiring A Marketing Agency

  1. 1. BY: BRIAN DOWNARD the ULTIMATE GUIDE to hiring a MARKETING AGENCY Everything you need to know before hiring a marketing agency. POCKETYOUR SHOP
  2. 2. REQUEST A FREE MARKETING ASSESSMENT SCHEDULE YOUR ASSESSMENT HOW’S YOUR MARKETING? Request a free marketing assessment with one of our experts to analyze your marketing and provide you with actionable advice on how you can improve your marketing today. !
  3. 3. by Brian Downard Brian is a marketing professional with over 5 years of experience in digital marketing, including: strategy, SEO, content marketing, website development, inbound marketing, graphic design, mobile marketing, social media and more. In 2011, Brian co-founded Pocket Your Shop, a full-service marketing agency located in Los Angeles, CA. Connect On LinkedIn > The Ultimate Guide To Hiring A Marketing Agency
  5. 5. You’ve heard it a million times now, marketing has changed. ! With the internet, search engines, social media and mobile devices, today’s customers are turning their attention away from traditional forms of marketing. ! It’s okay to admit when your marketing efforts have fallen a bit flat or when you don’t have the time to keep up with all of the changes. ! Using this ebook I hope to guide you through the proper steps that you need to take in order to effectively research, assess and hire a marketing agency. ! Enjoy! INTRODUCTION
  6. 6. Signs It’s Time For A Change ONE SECTION
  7. 7. THE HONEYMOON IS OVER It’s likely you’re reading this guide because you know there is some aspect of your marketing that needs help. Whether you’re doing all of your marketing in-house, working with an agency or your second cousin is helping out, the honeymoon phase might be over and you’re ready to see some actual return on your investment. ! Below are a couple of the signs that it might be time for a change in your marketing. ! ! • Communication issues: Is your agency or team afraid of their monthly progress reports? Are you even getting progress reports? You and your marketing team need to be on the same page at all times. ! • Need to fill gaps in your marketing: Be honest with your self, what are your weaknesses? What areas of your marketing have been overlooked? ! • Inability to keep up with marketing: Marketing will continue to grow, if you simply do not have the time or patience for that, than it’s probably time for a change. PG. 07 THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM SHARE
  8. 8. • Not achieving desired results: You’ve been patient for a while and are still disappointed with your marketing, waiting for the day when things will turn around, they won’t. It might be time for a fresh team and approach. ! • Can not effectively measure results: How many leads did your last $3,500 magazine ad generate? You probably have no idea and you’re not alone. Embrace forms of marketing that can actually be measured and analyzed. ! • Spending too much money: Money still isn’t growing on trees and likely never will. Which is why you’re conscious about your business expenses. If you need to reduce your marketing budget, it might be time for a change. Every business has their own set of goals and unique pain points. Which is why the decision makers in your business need to spend the time to realistically assess your current marketing efforts to decide whether or not it’s time to mix things up and try something new. PG. 08WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  9. 9. Required Resources To Get Started TWO SECTION
  10. 10. YOUR MARKETING STARTER KIT Congratulations, you’re a savvy business owner and recognize that it’s time for a change, but understand, that’s only the first step. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “nothing worth doing is easy.” And while reading about new marketing techniques from time to time isn’t too difficult, implementing and properly using each technique to their full potential and in sync with other tools can be overwhelming for most. New marketing initiatives will require an investment of your time, resources and yes, money. Now if I haven’t scared you off yet, here’s a list of the required resources you’ll need to get started. ! • Skills needed: Marketing/project management, graphic design, web/mobile development skills, copywriting, search engine optimization, content marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, email marketing, analytical interpretation and technology savvy. PG. 10WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  11. 11. • Marketing software: There are some great all-in-one marketing platforms out there like Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot or Moz. However, those come with premium price tags. Fortunately, there are a lot of free and/or affordable tools like WordPress, MailChimp, Buffer, Google Analytics, CRM platforms and more that you can take advantage of. ! • Progress reporting: Be sure to identify your key performance indicators and other metrics that need to be regularly measured. You’ll also need a system in place to measure and report on those numbers. ! • Other tools and resources: Aside from having a fast, reliable computer to work from, you’ll need other software like Photoshop, Microsoft Office or iWork, website building software, video editing, project management and more. ! ! This short list is the absolute minimum that you’ll need to get started. Be sure to start by conducting an audit of your current resources. Do you already have some staff or tools you can start using right away? ! Your business may not be able to acquire the necessary resources. So where will you go to find the resources you’ll need? In the next section we’ll explore building a team in house versus hiring a marketing agency. PG. 11WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  12. 12. Hire An Agency Or Build A Team In-House? THREE SECTION
  13. 13. BUILDING A TEAM IN-HOUSE The required marketing resources that we listed in the last section requires your business to manage campaigns, ensure you’re meeting KPIs (key performance indicators) and that you’re also keeping everything on track to deliver positive ROI. ! ! ! ! ! Unfortunately, most business do not have all of the required staff, skills and resources. This means if there is any chance of successfully implementing new marketing initiatives you may have to hire some new employees. If you are a business owner or manager, doing this alone while running a business day-to-day is near impossible unless you have a highly skilled marketing team or endless budget. PG. 13WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  14. 14. Let’s say you bring on a new marketing manager and graphic designer. The average salary of a marketing manager is roughly $75,000 while a graphic designer’s salary is around $50,000. Take into consideration, a CNNMoney case study found that employees will often cost 18%-26% more once you’ve added their benefits and taxes. Below is a simple equation for calculating the total costs for this example. Marketing Manager: $75,000 + 18% or $13,500 = $88,500 Designer: $50,000 + 18% or $9,000 = $59,000 $88,500 + $59,000 = $147,500 But remember, this does not take into account the small, sometimes hidden costs that are associated with hiring new employees like training, sick days, paid vacation, office space, computers, or any other supplies and tools that they will need to do their job. IN-HOUSE MARKETING TEAM EXAMPLE PG. 14WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  15. 15. • You can hand pick your entire marketing team • End-to-end control of your marketing efforts • Nimbleness and ability to quickly delegate • Can work in synergy with other in-house staff • Your business is solely responsible for your own success and failure IN-HOUSE PROS IN-HOUSE CONS   • High cost of a small, specialized team • The need to hire and train new staff • Requires office space and supplies • Sick days, paid vacation, benefits and payroll taxes • Tunnel vision or not “thinking outside the box” • You could end up micromanaging every project • Staff can get bogged down with too many initiatives and projects to manage PG. 15WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  16. 16. HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY When some people hear “marketing agency” or “ad agency” they might imagine Don Draper from AMC’s Mad Men over a 5 cocktail lunch. But this isn’t the 60′s and life isn’t a TV show. However, there are a ton of great agencies out there that are in the business of helping you reach your marketing goals, engaging your customers and that don’t drink all day long like Don. Marketing agencies can come in all different shapes and sizes with their own unique methodologies and approach. It’s important you research all of your options to ensure you find one that compliments your brand, vision and goals. PG. 16WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  17. 17. BUT AREN’T AGENCIES EXPENSIVE? By now you’ve probably found that one-off tactics and fixed marketing campaigns are broken and have been for a while. Your business needs a dynamic set of marketing assets that are being continuously measured and adjusted. Because of this, you should consider partnering with a marketing agency, not simply hiring them for one-off project or campaign. Full-service digital marketing agencies typically charge anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 per month depending on the size of your business, required services and time frame of your goals. Let’s say for example you partner with an agency at roughly $8,000 per month. You will pay $96,00 per year as compared to paying $147,500 per year for two full- time employees. You’ll save more than $50,000 when compared to the previous example. PG. 17WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  18. 18. • Structured processes they can apply to your business • Diverse well rounded skill sets • Website and content design/development expertise • It’s their job to understand new marketing trends • Manages projects so you do not have to • Reallocate your resources on day-to-day operations • No pay-roll taxes, benefits or training required • They already have the required tools and resources • Help identify and cut unnecessary marketing costs • Their experience will help them create and implement successful strategies MARKETING AGENCY PROS MARKETING AGENCY CONS • Your account does not get full attention every day • Assigned teams work on multiple accounts • Less control over campaigns and projects • If they do not specialize in your industry there may be a learning curve to overcome PG. 18WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  19. 19. Core Agency Values You Should Look For FOUR SECTION
  20. 20. 1) Clearly outlined delivery process 2) Goal oriented sales process 3) Excellent design skills 4) Offers a variety of useful marketing services  5) Has compelling case studies and customer testimonials 6) Showcase specific areas of focus 7) They act as an extension of your business, not a contractor 8) Teaches and trains your team 9) Key capabilities reside in-house or with a trusted partner 10) Possesses strong project management skills  11) They should practice the marketing services they preach 12) Places an emphasis on analytics and measurement 13) Values transparency SELECTING AN AGENCY WISELY It’s true, not all marketing agencies are created equal. Below is a list of the thirteen core values you should be looking for when partnering with a new agency. PG. 20WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  21. 21. Questions That Need To Be Asked FIVE SECTION
  22. 22. DON’T GET A “LEMON” As with any other large investment of money of your hard earned money, it’s wise to do your due-diligence. Prospective agencies might have websites with information about who they are and their services, but it’s important you’re asking the right questions to ensure you find an agency that compliments your business. ! ! ! ! ! Use the following questions in this section to make sure you’re not getting a “lemon” when partnering with a marketing agency. At the same time, agencies should be asking you questions for them to better understand your business and at the same time, demonstrating their honest interest in helping you achieve your marketing goals. PG. 22WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  23. 23. QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK • What services do you offer that generate visitors? ! • What services do you offer that generate leads? ! • What services do you offer that generate sales? ! • What tactics do you use to deliver these results? ! • What current example(s) best illustrate success you have delivered for each of these services? ! • What do you see as the most critical piece of inbound marketing for our business and goals? ! • Have you worked with other clients in the past that have similar challenges? ! • Can you provide me with case studies and referrals? ! • Have you worked in my industry before? • How many people will work on my account? ! • How will you set my staff up for success? PG. 23WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  24. 24. QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK CONT. • Is all your work done in-house? ! • What types of requests of you anticipate making of myself or team on an ongoing basis? ! • What project management software, spreadsheets, materials, etc. should we expect to receive? ! • How do you plan on measuring the success of our marketing efforts? ! • How often will you report on progress toward key metrics? ! • What training will our team receive?  ! • How much will it cost? How long is the agreement? ! PG. 24WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  25. 25. QUESTIONS AGENCIES SHOULD ASK • What are your business goals? ! • What is your time frame for achieving these goals? ! • Who does your target audience consist of? ! • How are you generating visitors? Leads? Sales? ! • Which marketing initiates have been successful? ! • What makes your brand unique and special? ! • What are your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? Save these questions so you can refer back to them when you meet with prospective marketing agencies. Remember, they shouldn’t be trying to sell you anything, they should offer a goal-oriented sales process that focuses on finding a unique solution for your business. PG. 25WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  26. 26. What An Agency Needs From You SIX SECTION
  27. 27. GETTING YOUR AGENCY READY Once you have found the right agency for your business there are a couple things you will need to collect in order for them to get started. Below are some things you should begin preparing: • Collect your marketing assets: Photos, videos, editable files, print ads, flyers, ebooks or any other collateral your agency can use to get a better understanding of your business, products and services. ! • Access to online accounts: FTP servers, domain and hosting, analytics, blog, social media accounts and any other log-in credentials they might need. ! • Description of past efforts: In order to get your agency started down the right path, provide them with a clear picture of which marketing initiatives have worked for you in the past and which have not. ! • Define goals and expectations: It’s important that everyone is on the same page from day one. Your agency should clearly understand your goals, while at the same time, they should be keeping your expectations realistic. ! PG. 27WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  28. 28. What To Expect When Working With An Agency SEVEN SECTION
  29. 29. MARKETING IS A PROCESS Regardless of your agency’s approach, you’ll want your agency to go the extra mile for you right? While not obligated, there are a number of things every marketing agency that strives to exceed client expectations will do before and during the time you spend working together. BEFORE THE AGREEMENT • A free, no obligation marketing assessment • A formal proposal that outlines the project • General marketing advice and insight • Referrals that can vouch for the agency’s work • Relevant, helpful content that addresses your questions PG. 29WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  30. 30. • Yearly and quarterly goal setting meetings • Defining target audience and customer personas • Laying out and describing the strategy they will use • Development and optimization of current marketing • Defining what differentiates your brand • Regular followups, progress and success reporting • Input on ways to reduce marketing costs • Face-to-face meetings with your team • Strategy implementation and monthly retainer services DURING THE AGREEMENT In a perfect world, your agency will deliver on what they promised, they’ll continuously prove their value to your business and they’ll grow with you into the future. In the next section you’ll find tips to make that happen. TO INFINITY AND BEYOND PG. 30WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  31. 31. How-To Get More Value Out Of Your Agency EIGHT SECTION
  32. 32. GET MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK • Stay in constant communication  • Participate in the content creation process • Constantly ask questions • Schedule regular meetings to discuss progress • Understand the metrics that are being reported • Join your agency’s shared project management tools • Continuously share company news, press, events, etc. This will be an investment into the well-being your brand and should be treated as such. Even though you are paying someone to do the work you either can’t or won’t do, it’s important to stay involved and regularly review the progress. To ensure you’re getting the most value out of your agency as possible, I prepared the list below to get you started down the right path. PG. 32WWW.POCKETYOURSHOP.COM THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIRING A MARKETING AGENCY SHARE
  33. 33. I truly hope you found some value is this guide and can use what you’ve learned to make a more informed decision when the time comes to hire a marketing agency. ! Your next step it to assess your current marketing initiatives, expenses and numbers so you can figure out exactly what you’ll need from an agency. ! Ready to take your marketing and business to next level? You don’t have to do it alone! Stop by our helpful resource center for more great content: ! !! CONCLUSION SHARE THIS GUIDE
  34. 34. REQUEST A FREE MARKETING ASSESSMENT SCHEDULE YOUR ASSESSMENT HOW’S YOUR MARKETING? Request a free marketing assessment with one of our experts to analyze your marketing and provide you with actionable advice on how you can improve your marketing today. !