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The 5 Steps to Selecting the Best Advertising Agency for Your Business

If you are investing money in a marketing strategy or campaign, more often than not, you have taken into consideration engaging, or have already engaged, with an advertising agency to provide you a helping hand with those efforts. Those choices whether or not to run your marketing campaigns with in-house teams versus third-party agencies are naturally not a cakewalk. And if you make up your mind to outsource from an agency, the selection process can become overwhelming. This write up will help you get a clear picture regarding the same.

In-house teams versus third-party agencies. The choice to direct or manage campaigns internally versus externally often comes down to the following things: (1) the size of your media budgets; (2) the complexities/channels of the campaign; and (3) the skills that your team consists of and the analytics tools you have to work with. Over time, our leaning on this decision has taken a u-turn. we used to want to run everything through the in house team to save on cost. we also used to want to find separate agencies with specific expertise (e.g., one agency for search engines, another agency for social media, and another for radio and newspaper).

But, as the advertising industry has gone through an evolution over time, our point of view on this topic has shifted 180 degrees. Today, most people have started to trust outsourcing work to an agency, preferably a cross-channel one that can take care of all our needs. The cause for this is: (1) the agencies have materially evolved from being single-channel experts to multi-channel experts; (2) strategically, it is better to have all strategies and budgets managed centrally, to effortlessly shift dollars in the middle of channels and get cross-channel attribution tracking all in one place; (3) the optimization technologies the best agencies are using, and their direct relationships with Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others, are heads over shoulders better than anything your internal team would be doing; and (4) finding a team of good internal marketers is hard to find and manage, rather than leaning on an agency’s team and its recruiting and training processes. The techniques that work best each year can rapidly change, and you want to acquire the best from the most recent learnings (not hire someone with yesterday’s playbook).

So don’t be a penny pinching and a pound foolish here, as a good agency should more than cover its additional fees, with materially higher revenue performance from its efforts than you most likely could cause with an internal team.

Step 1: Identifying the best potential agencies that suit your business and requirements

All agencies are not equal. Certain agencies are good in B2C, and other agencies are proficient in B2B. Certain agencies are full-service agencies taking care of all services, and other agencies handle certain specialty solutions (e.g., branding, creative, television, B2B lead generation). Some agencies are set up to solely handle big budgets, and other agencies are set up to handle smaller budgets. The initial step is to have a rough idea of your budget and your requirements (e.g., prepare to spend 10 to 30 percent of your revenue target on sales and marketing activities), and the follow-up step is to take note of the agencies that are best suited to support those budgets and needs.

Step 2: Creation of a questionnaire and interviewing the best targets to ensure a good fit

Just because you think they are a good agency for you based on preliminary research, doesn’t mean they are suited for your exact needs. You need to ask probing questions to them, such as:

1. What is your minimum media budget? Are we big enough to be a material account for you?

2. What are your fees? Could we be able to afford your services?

3. What is your industry expertise? Do you share good references coming from similar companies like ours?

4. Are you on working terms with any of our competitors? are you involved in any conflicts we need to worry about?

This part of the process will allow you to funnel down your list to around three to five best targets.

Step 3: call in the best candidates to pitch their services

The pitching process will start with the agency that is better at learning your budgets, history, requirements, and needs, and most likely will involve them to take a closer look at your current or existing campaigns in Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Facebook, Google Analytics, etc. After two to four weeks, they should behave completed their research and planning, and be on their way to present or showcase their proposal. In those presentations, take a keynote of things like:

1. The quality and caliber of their team (and be sure of the fact that the team on the pitch is the same team that will be on your account, to avoid bait-and-switch)

2. Their bonding and fit with your business and team

3. The standard of their strategic-level ideas

4. The relevance of the media mix proposed by them

5. The grade or quality of their tools used for optimization and cross-channel reporting capabilities.

Step 4: Pick the front-runner

Once you pick your favorite agency from the lot based on the presentation, it is time to take the next step with them. That will include things like having a chat with their references and negotiating the agreement and scope of work, This can take several weeks to complete.

Step 5: Formally award the winner

Congratulations, you have formally got engaged with your advertising agency. Hopefully, the above process has enabled you to get connected with a great partner who will propel your business to new heights. Now starts the busy work of transferring services from your old agencies or team members, sharpening your pencil on campaign strategy and modeling of the media mix, and setting up all the management processes in place. This part of the process is as significant as the agency selection is, and it will help tee up the campaign for maximum success and output. Now comes the tough part: execution of the winning campaign that hits your desired results or metrics and managing your agency every week to ensure optimal flow of work.

About Creative Thinks Media

Creative thinks media your good old friendly neighborhood agency has created the perfect blend of digital marketing and commercial advertising services, specializing in television advertising, print advertising, and radio advertising and certainly not to forget their sheer excellence to run successful ad campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, emails, etc.

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