Financially Responsible Marketing

What to look for in a Marketing Firm? Part 2

Posted by on Feb 2, 2012

When your business is ready to engage a third party marketing firm, there are several questions which need to be asked in order to find the best fit for your company, your budget and your specific corporate requirements.

Like many companies, marketing firms come in all shapes, sizes and specialties.  Your marketing voice is an important arm of your business, and requires a solid partnership to deliver on your corporate objectives.  When investigating collaborations with a third party marketing firm, here are some points to consider.

Financial Commitment

  • Before engaging in discussions around program development and execution, ensure that you have a solid idea of budget available from an annual and quarterly perspective.  Most marketing firms can execute a vast array of campaigns ranging from grass roots to national or international exposure, but each element comes at a cost.  When comparing potential partnerships, it is best to present the same information to each candidate – including fiscal commitment – and evaluate what each firm is willing and able to do within the budget and parameters.  Identify hidden costs up front and look for the inclusion of regular program maintenance, strategy and development costs, technical support, data distribution and analysis, program review and billable meeting hours.

Corporate Expertise

  • The tenure of a company isn’t necessarily reflective of the expertise of those executing your programs.  Ask specific questions about the people who would be directly involved in your relationship, in particular those building your marketing program and formulating your strategies.  Ask for information about their past initiatives, experience with businesses of similar size, insight and experience into your industry, ideas on how to ensure your brand stands out from your competitors, contact lists associated with your business prospects, insight into new developments in the marketing world and knowledge of your target demographic.

Is there measurable return?

  • A tenured marketing firm should provide measurable results indicating their past successes, and present solid numbers on which programs they recommend for your business and the potential return on those investments.  Depending on your corporate goals, this information could be both qualitative and quantitative.  Confirm how results are tracked and measured for the proposed marketing plan, how often results are reviewed and any technical platforms required for your company to analyze or receive these results.    Enquire about past programs that didn’t provide the expected return – how were these results captured and analyzed? What measures were put in place to mitigate future failure?

A sales or a strategic partnership?

  • One of the most important elements of any corporate relationship is moving past the ‘sales’ cycle and ensuring that you are hiring a strategic partner who is invested in your business and your corporate success.  Beyond execution of programs, the true value in a marketing firm is creating a robust, comprehensive, strategically sound marketing plan to maximize your corporate reach and support future growth.   Look for a marketing firm that provides a holistic approach to your brand presence, incorporates methods to integrate new and traditional marketing platforms, has an eye on present day deliverables and future initiatives, and is flexible in their ability to implement long term strategies as well as turn-around effective programs on tight time frames.

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