Marketing agency: hire or fire

Marketing agency hire or fire
© Marketoonist

In the previous article we went through the differences between a marketing consultant and a marketing agency. Let’s look at the case where you opted for hiring a marketing agency. 

What are the mechanics of a working relationship you want to establish between your team and an agency?

More often than not I see a brand outsourcing a certain function to an agency and 100% relying on it to manage the project. Wrong! You want to own the project, be in the driver’s seat and steer the wheel. What do I mean by that?

My key message here is that as in every relationship there are *two* parties responsible for success, in our case its internal and external teams working on the project. Now there are a few things to keep in mind to make this partnership successful. 

Let’s say you outsource a performance marketing function, someone to help you manage your Facebook or Google ads to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions.

1. Clear objectives and goals

You want to be clear about what you want to achieve, and you want the agency to provide you with options for how to achieve it: a clear outline, pros and cons of every possible solution, and benchmarks so you could make an informed decision. 

Internal (you): External (them): 
Website traffic increasePropose solutions for driving traffic
Propose optimisation for the landing page
Benchmark research for expected CTR, CPC, budget and projected results
Lead generationAll of the above +Best practice Checklist for landing page layout to set your content and design team for success+ Proposed email nurture for captured leads
Increased conversion for email Benchmark overviewCurrent email flows reviewProposed improvements and timeline
Increased conversion for purchase Benchmark overviewWebsite review: technical and contentFunnel review: strategy and tacticsProposed improvements and timeline

2. System and tech stack requirements

In the example of outsourced performance marketing services, you want to make sure your website is set up and optimized for successful tracking of paid and non-paid activities, so you could see the attribution and make the right decisions. 

Internal (you): External (them): 
Google Suit: analytics, tag manager, search consoleReview the current set upTest conversions Adjust and improve as needed
Facebook Business account and Ads account + pixel installed on your websiteAll of the above 
Email marketing platform of your choice has to be connected to your website, as well as GA4, so you could manage, optimize and improve your performanceAll of the above +Provide best practice advice for email flows and benchmark metrics for your industry 

3. Iterations and experiments

Running online ads is often a hit and miss exercise with ongoing tests and experiments. 

Why? Well, next time you are on social media pay attention to the number of ads and sponsored content you see in your feed. Unless you are using an AdBlocker, you see ads left and right. Now think how many of those ads actually made you stop scrolling and engage, in our case, click? Not that many. Now online ads in many ways is a science and as any science requires scientific approach when you learn, optimize improve. 

There are 3 main components you want to test in the online ads: 

  • Copy
  • Creative
  • CTA Button

A good performance marketing agency will help you run the experiments and document hypotheses and results, so you keep track record of past experiments to help with the future ones. 

4. Check ins and reporting 

© Marketoonist

You want to define a clear meetings cadence and platform for progress check ins. Advice: try to avoid keeping communication via email as very soon you will get lost in the trails of emails, where its very easy to miss out on who said what, when, why and what’s expected as a deliverable. 

There are many tools you could use to help you manage remote teams with multiple stakeholders making sure the projects are on track and tasks are not getting missed out on. 

When it comes to reporting for online ads, you want to be able to see a high level picture, bird eye view of the activities with a cost/revenue snapshot and a way to deep dive into the details to see where you want to pivot, optimize and improve, know whats working and whats not. Think of a dashboard that could bring together information from multiple channels, including Facebook, Google and email platform of your choice for easy reference. 

Remember, you want to manage the agency in the most efficient way possible. One of the mistakes many founders or leaders make, is thinking that the agency is there to bring you a magic solution and win the business for you. If you find one that does, give me a shout out, i would love to test them out. There is no one size fits all, success is often earned the hard way. Dont be afraid to test assumptions, pivot and iterate. 

As long as you are clear about what you are testing and you have some benchmarks to compare against, you are in a good spot. 

Good luck! 

FAQs:

  1. How do you measure the effectiveness of a marketing agency beyond the metrics mentioned?

When considering the effectiveness of a marketing agency, it’s crucial to look beyond just surface-level metrics. You should assess the agency’s ability to understand and align with your brand’s voice, their responsiveness to changes in strategy or market conditions, and how well they collaborate with your in-house team. Effectiveness can also be seen in the agency’s capacity to innovate and drive your brand forward in ways you hadn’t considered.

  1. What specific strategies should startups employ if they decide to fire their marketing agency?

If a startup decides to part ways with their marketing agency, the strategy should focus on a smooth transition. This includes taking stock of all ongoing campaigns, ensuring access to all accounts and materials, and potentially identifying a new agency or in-house capabilities to take over without losing momentum. It’s also important to analyze what didn’t work in the previous partnership to avoid similar issues in the future.

  1. Can you provide examples of successful partnerships between startups and marketing agencies, and what made them successful?

Success stories between startups and marketing agencies often share common themes: clear communication, mutual understanding of goals, and flexibility. A successful partnership is marked by the agency’s ability to act as an extension of the startup’s own team, with a deep understanding of the brand and its audience. These relationships thrive on trust, where both parties are committed to the startup’s growth and can pivot strategies as needed to meet changing market demands.

Are you looking to understand whether your marketing agency is doing a good job or not? Reach out and let’s discuss your needs.

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