How to Choose the Right Marketing Agency

From the CEO's Desk

How to Choose the Right Marketing Agency

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How to Choose the Right Marketing Agency for Your Business in Chicago or anywhere else.


“Business relationships are often built on likeability, trust, honesty, integrity, passion, and being comfortable with one another.” There is no question that a company that focuses on marketing, will provide you with an effective marketing program. The question is what is their process to achieve this and how do you evaluate it.

Once you have narrowed your list, you need to know the point person and the team that will be handling your account. Suggest a meeting of all of them so that you not only get to meet them, but get a chance to interact with them. In doing your due diligence, ask for their client list to see what types of companies they are supporting. Ask for the specific names of four or five of their principal accounts, call each one, and ask about the marketing agency’s overall performance and track record. Are their expectations being met? Are they making progress toward their goals, etc.

Specialty Agencies

There are many marketing agencies focusing on specific industries, i.e., healthcare, legal, retail, manufacturing, and other vertical markets. The advantage of choosing a specialty agency is that they know each market intimately, its dynamics, the competition, and the history. If you are in a specialty industry, we suggest you investigate the specialty marketing agencies in your vertical area. 

The Process

Most important, you want an agency that will devote the time to learning about your business, your target audiences, the dynamics of your target markets, and your long and short-term goals.  Then convert that input into an effective marketing strategy. This should be coupled with managing your expectations for the resulting program.

Marketing agencies bring an objectivity to your program. Almost all agencies have work to show what has been developed for their existing clients and it gives you an idea of their creativity and interpretation. However, what is more important is what they are going to do for you. Ask them about their plans for learning more about you and your company. Where would they begin? Would they talk to your key clients to find out why, other than price, they are doing business with you?  It may be advantageous to choose an integrated agency that can provide a wide variety of skills and expertise. They also bring new ways of thinking and new approaches to older or static programs.

Measurable Characteristics

To track a program and evaluate its effectiveness, measurable characteristics should be built into each marketing program. This allows a program to be evaluated as it is running. If the program needs to be modified or revised along the way to increase its effectiveness, you can do it long before the program ends. 

A Word About Costs

It has been shown that marketing agency costs are usually lower than hiring in-house. An important part of your discussions must be your budget. Does the prospective marketing agency have a required minimum budget?  Look for an agency that is comfortable with what you are budgeting and can provide excellent service. Make sure that you and the prospective agency understand and manage your expectations so that there are no surprises or recriminations later.

Risk, NDAs, etc.

Rewards can be dramatically enhanced by adding a degree of risk to the equation. The question is how much risk should a company take? In choosing a marketing agency, you will have learned how they operate, what their clients think of them, etc. This may be interpreted as taking a calculated risk which is based on some facts and provides a small degree of safety.

As for NDAs, (Non-Disclosure Agreements), a client’s input may include proprietary information. In this case, they want to be assured that none of that information imparted to the marketing agency will be communicated to anyone else. This is not unusual.

Marketing agencies bring relationships with them. They have contacts across many marketing areas and can bring these relationships to the development of your strategy or marketing program.

Maintain an open dialogue with your marketing agency to assess performance, progress, or any other related topics. If you are pleased with their work, tell them.

If you are not, tell them. Don’t let important things slide. These things can help solidify the relationship.

F H Cooper LLC, an International Business and Technology Marketing Organization located in the heart of downtown Chicago, has bonded with Fortune companies, mid-sized companies, not-for-profit organizations and government agencies since 1980 to help them realize sustainable and profitable growth. They focus on Automation Controls, Robotics, Internet of Things, Industrial Internet of Things, Software, Electronics, Instrumentation, and Chemicals and Plastics.

Franklin Cooper © 2018