It’s a no brainer...you need marketing. Popular blogger and marketer, Neil Patel, spends 20% of time creating amazing content and 80% promoting it. Everyone knows marketing is important, it’s just no one really knows what to expect from marketing agencies.
It’s common for businesses to become disappointed with their marketing agency at some stage during their relationship. This happens because most agencies only market your brand, instead, they should be branding your marketing (more on this later).
Marketing is more than pushing out social media posts and paying for Google and Facebook ads – you need a strategy, and what's more; everything has to work together in a logical ecosystem.
Most businesses don’t have the resources to roll out a fully fledged marketing strategy themselves. So they outsource this task to a marketing agency.
Most businesses aren’t privy to the behind-the-scenes activities at agencies, nor do they really need to be, as long as leads and sales continue to come in. And that’s the way most marketing agencies like it, because the less transparent they are, the more ‘magical’ and irreplaceable they appear.
Unfortunately, this lack of transparency will hurt your brand in the long run. It means you’ll likely be faced with an issue or gap that should have been covered much earlier. This can cost you a lot of money and time to fix. Don’t settle for ambiguous figures and nonsensical marketing jargon or feel bad for being confused and thinking that marketing is complicated...
Marketing is simple; it takes a lot of skilled work – but it’s easy to understand.
Branding is where it gets complicated, and we’ll explain why a bit later.
But first, we want to pull back the curtain and tell you exactly what to look for in a marketing agency so you can get long-term results for your brand.
Here are 3 things you should know before you sign on the dotted line.
1. How the agency gets results
Be wary of agencies that make sweeping claims like “we’ll get you better results”, or “we'll bring in more sales over the next quarter,” on the first meeting. At this point, they haven’t yet taken the time to get to know your brand and its nuances. If they make these claims, they should be able to provide you with a detailed plan on how they will achieve this, tailored to your brand.
You’re looking to see if the agency has a marketing strategy that takes into account primary learnings and experience, while accounting for your unique business goals. You don't want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. And if you feel like you’re being led on with airy-fairy answers, you probably are.
Ask questions to determine if:
they understand your industry?
they have a grasp on your business objectives and values?
they have worked on a similar project before?
they can access insights you can’t?
they are willing to be transparent about costs and processes?
The marketing agency you choose will be your business partner. They are the ones spreading the good news about who you are and why customers should join you. So before you partner up, it’s best to vet agencies early by asking them for a reasonable amount of transparency.
2. How you’ve gotten results in the past
The agency you’re partnering with should be curious. In fact, they should annoy you with the amount of questions and detail they want.
Expect to spend a week going through a detailed onboarding process. This is a good sign. It means they don’t just want to take your monthly premium, only to slap you with a cookie-cutter marketing approach. It shows they care about getting you real results that are measurable and meaningful to you. You want your marketing agency to be ambitious and hungry to get results.
The agency should want to grab insights from your historical data, and merge this with insights from your consumer profile and current market, to build a fresh and tailored strategy. Your historical data should aid your new agency partner in their strategy and planning.
Be wary of an agency who doesn’t look at your historical marketing and results. It shows a lack of care, and speaks volumes about what you can expect from them in future.
3. Key alignment periods
It’s important for you and your partner agency to agree when to discuss your campaign and its progress.
Both you and your agency will assess the campaign’s progress through reports, provided by the agency. It’s fair to agree on regular reports and have a set follow up call to go through it together. This is a prime opportunity to realign and get clarity on what is working and what is not. At the end of the day, you should be confident to know that your agency is optimising the campaign to deliver the best returns; whether that’s in leads, sales or learnings.
Most importantly, the contents of your reports should be insightful and filled with meaningful data. Vanity metrics that don't match with your goals, should be very minimal so it’s important that you and your agency agree on which metrics are more important.
Always choose the right metric for the goal
Here’s an example to better understand this.
When the metric and goal DON’T match
If a fast food brand wants to promote their new chicken tenders in stores, a click-through on their ad isn't that valuable. Because ultimately, the brand wants people to go into stores and buy their product – and a click isn’t the right tool to measure that goal.
When the metric and goal DO match
If the fast food brand wants to promote their new online delivery service, a click-through is valuable. Because it measures if customers are going straight to the next logical action – making an online order.
Alignment is about taking key learnings from timely reports to come up with next steps. These next steps will refocus your marketing on your business goals.
The report should have actionable insights which show a fresh perspective on consumer behaviour or uncover new patterns. These insights allow you to innovate your strategy, and are the driving force for your brand’s marketing success. Without them, you won’t be able to see what’s ahead of you, and you’ll be spending your budget on unproductive marketing efforts.
Don’t let that happen.
Once you have confidence your agency has your back with the marketing side of things; find out if they can go the next step – growing your brand.
The difference between marketing and branding
Marketing is what tools and strategies will create as much awareness as possible.
Most agencies have this part covered. But unfortunately, most of them don’t go any further.
Branding is about who your business is. It’s about crafting a narrative and telling a compelling story.
Branding is all about telling a story people can identify with. It’s about making small, intimate connections to the bigger picture of your brand’s identity. It’s tricky, because each connection needs to reinforce your brand’s values so customers feel compelled to delve further into your narrative.
The 2 big benefits of branding is that it 1) elevates your brand, and 2) nurtures life-long customers.
Marketing is logical. Branding is emotional.
Partnering with a marketing agency who implements brand building strategies is invaluable. Because as well as getting results, they’ll help build your reputation and ensure every marketing element is a significant piece of your brand's story.
It’s a phenomenon proven to work – because people don’t remember information very well, but they can’t seem to shake stories.
Your brand connected...with gold
The art of golden repair. Fusing disconnected elements to create something unique, exciting and inspiring.
– Kintsugi Effect
If you’re in market, you’re a brand. And branding is about finding new and creative ways to tell the same story. It only works if your marketing strategy, creative media and data are aligned and connected. So if your marketing agency doesn’t know what your brand’s core values and goals are, neither will your customers.
When everything is connected, your brand can start to build relevancy and magnitude in a turbulent market. Good branding allows you to be resilient and future-proofed. It makes you less reactive to twists and turns in the market, giving you space to be strategic and tactical.
Branding is where the rubber meets the road. It’s just that most marketing agencies require you to spend loads of money on it without guaranteeing any results.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to be this way. You can elevate your brand and get meaningful results without blowing your marketing budget each month.
You just need an agency who’s using a new, innovative (and tested) model.
Talk to us today
Kintsugi Effect is a media agency who’ve taken the robustness of the traditional model and fused it with innovative technological efficiencies.
We work with you to bolster your brand’s identity from the start, then connect each brand element from the ground up.
So every marketing piece, campaign or strategy won’t only get results, it’ll consistently push your brand forward.
Talk to us today and see how we can help enhance and elevate your brand.