When you hear “traditional marketing agencies,” you might think of an agency working with traditional forms of media like TV, radio, outdoor, print, and direct mail. When I say it, though, I mean an agency that sticks to what works traditionally and doesn’t take risks or try new things. This includes digital marketing agencies, too. The agencies that only run ads through Facebook and Google and shun anything else because “it didn’t work for them in the past.”
But how are you going to know what does and doesn’t work for your business if you don’t test it? Just because they got a bad ROI on LinkedIn with another account, even if it’s in the same industry, doesn’t mean that LinkedIn Ads aren’t right for you. Who knows, maybe their targeting was off, or perhaps the messaging didn’t resonate. Working with a marketing agency that functions with such a black-and-white view of the world is a great way to waste your business’s time and money.
So What Should You Look for in a Marketing Agency?
Every agency is different, and some may specialize in specific industries, company sizes, or regions. You should always seek out a marketing agency that aligns with your business. Beyond that, there are a few other important things you ought to look for.
1. Earned Confidence
Everyone wants to work with someone who’s confident about what they do. But as I’m sure you’re aware, some people have confidence but don’t always have what it takes to back it up. This is where “earned confidence” comes in: someone who’s confident, but has proof or examples to show you that they can put their money where their mouth is.
Ideally, a bit of humility should be mixed in, as working in a marketing agency essentially requires it. Every new client poses new challenges and complexities, and remaining humble and admitting that you don’t always know the right answer is a must. Regardless, keep an eye out for marketing agencies that overpromise, but keep your expectations realistic, as well. Results take time, and good results take even longer to achieve.
Marketing changes rapidly, and the pace at which it evolves is quickening. The iOS14 changes left many companies in the lurch, with many scrambling to catch up. Now, with third-party cookies likely disappearing soon, ad platforms changing how things work and what is and isn’t allowed, and consumer attitudes towards ads shifting on a near constant basis, adaptability is more important than ever.
This is where many traditional marketing agencies suffer. They don’t keep up to date with changes, which causes your business to suffer, too. Working with a marketing agency that isn’t willing to change will only hold you back, and can even get you in legal trouble if they’re not adapting to the ever-changing rules and regulations around data privacy and advertising.
Note that you should always work with your legal team when you’re concerned about these matters, regardless of how adaptable the agency is, as it is ultimately something you want to be able to understand so you can make informed, responsible decisions.
3. Forward Thinking
Like being willing to change, it’s important to expect change. When a marketer expects and even welcomes change, they’re far less surprised when it happens and can more easily roll with the punches, so to speak. As things continue to change in the marketing world both on and offline, change is now a necessary expectation. It adds a new layer of complexity to systems that have worked well for years, but it’s the reality we’re currently living in.
Welcoming change leads to a better mindset once it happens. The last thing you want is a marketer grumpy about changes to marketing systems working on those systems for you! A change-averse marketer is one who accepts stagnation.
4. Willing to Take Risks
It can be scary to take risks! That’s why it’s often called getting out of your comfort zone. Taking chances can seem intimidating, but the right marketing agency is taking that risk for good reason. A good marketer considers the marketing strategy holistically and decides if the risk is worth the potential reward.
With a good marketing team, you’ll likely be pushed out of your comfort zone towards bigger opportunities that you wouldn’t tackle alone. Try to get accustomed to this and allow them to take risks you may usually avoid. Of course, know that you can and should push back if you feel the potential costs outweigh the benefits. Be ready for a discussion with your marketing agency because, as your partner, they want what’s best for you and your business and should be able to have difficult conversations with you when needed.
All in all, any marketing agency you look to hire should embody at least some of these characteristics. Like any employee you’d want to hire, attitude is often more important than someone’s skill. However, the marketing agency you’re hiring should of course also have the skills you’re hiring them for. If you’re looking for a marketing agency that’s highly skilled, adaptable, forward-thinking, and willing to challenge you and take risks, look no further than OM Performance Marketers! Schedule a call with our team to see if we’re a good fit.