A business owner who is not sure they want to handle their own advertising should consider hiring an Advertising Agency. Some reasons to hire an agency may include a plateau in business or an increase in competition. The complexity of modern advertising may be too much to keep up with. Perhaps your messaging sounds the same as the competition and needs a new approach. But which agency should a business owner hire?
Questions Before You Hire
Before retaining an agency start with an understanding of your needs. Are you going to be doing traditional advertising, digital or both? Will you need the agency to come up with the creative concepts to promote your business? Does your agency need to be local? What are your expectations of the agency?
Decisions on whether to hire an agency often start with the following questions:
- You know your business but, are you also a qualified marketing professional?
- Even if yes, do you have the time and energy to handle both jobs?
- How does your marketing compare to your competition?
- Does your in-house advertising actually save you money?
- Are you confused by the myriad of advertising choices and not sure which to choose?
- Wouldn’t it be nice to tell your colleagues you have finally hired your own agency?
Now that you have determined you need an agency what next? Understand what an agency does. Have a clear idea of what you need from the relationship. Not every agency will provide what you are looking for. Decide in advance who will interact with the agency. Advertising is not developed in a vacuum, there needs to be interaction between the agency and client. Write out the goals you have for advertising so they can be relayed concisely.
Interview An Advertising Agency
Meeting with prospective agencies is a must. Do you feel comfortable with the people who represent the agency? Determine whether the agency listens to your issues and tries to understand your business. Is there a curiosity in them to learn more about you and your business? Do they have the capabilities you are looking for? Do they explain their processes and generate new ideas?
Transparency is important. Not only should they understand you, but you need to understand the agency. Establish the lines of communication so you know who you will interact with. While it is the agencies job to come up with new ideas input from the client is invaluable. It is your business, you decide how it is portrayed.
Agencies should be upfront about their fees. It costs money to run your business and the same holds true for an agency, but everything should be clearly spelled out. Understand what you are getting and what you pay for. If fees are buried in a dashboard and cannot be separated, that may be a red flag.
In the end, this is a human relationship. You need to feel comfortable. Maybe start with a project to see if there is a good fit. If the project goes well grow the relationship and give the agency more responsibility. If they want your business, they will agree. Hire an agency on your terms, after all, it is your business. A good agency relationship can last for many years and be highly profitable for your business. Invest some time so that you select the right agency for you.