Choosing the right one for you
THE BEST MARKETING AGENCY FOR YOUR COMPANY
At Bema Creative we always sit down with potential clients to see if our company values align. As a marketing agency in Eugene Oregon, we learned fast that in our community people value relationship. Shopping local has long been a part of the Eugene culture and to operate a successful business in such a tight-knit community people want to know that they are supporting someone who cares about them. A marketing agency is no different. Having a vision for a company’s marketing strategy takes insight and when an agency shares your values that strategy flows out organically.
The opposite is true as well. If an agency doesn’t share your companies values things can end badly. I have heard many horror stories of marketing firms going in a completely different direction than a company’s identity. This can easily be something that is prevented by having a conversation early on about values and then making sure that they align with your company.
In any relationship transparency is important. Transparency is the key to building trust within a business relationship. For example, you are not going to gain any trust with your financial advisor if after the first year you read your portfolio report and you see that he has taken a large portion of your portfolio in his fees. On the other hand, if he would have laid out how he makes his money and what those fees will be beforehand then you would just likely be more accepting of those fees at years end. That single step of transparency builds trust with that client, and in turn, that client is likely to be a long term customer.
In 2016 K2 Intelligence and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) produced a study on transparency that showed that 29% of clients rated their marketing agency trust level as low. Just two years later in 2018, that number of clients that rated their trust in their marketing agency level as low dropped to 40%! Within a marketing agency-client relationship transparency with deadlines, strategy, cost, and just with how an agency operates should be a key factor when looking for a marketing agency.
Strategy first should be a key characteristic in choosing an agency for your company. Over the years I have been a part of agencies and companies who have no strategy in their marketing efforts. Jeff I. Richards said “Creative without strategy is called ‘art‘. Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising‘. Every great marketer and advertiser have one thing in common, STRATEGY! If your company wants to just make art on a billboard or make a commercial that is entertaining but leaves your viewers wondering what company produced it, that’s fine. Your company enjoys being artistic, but that’s not marketing.
Marketing is not some mystical thing that only a select few understand. It is something that you can plan, strategize, execute; and when it’s done well it’s something that everyone understands intuitively. It involves understanding the psychology behind people’s actions and designing your marketing strategy around your target market.
Great marketing professionals will understand these things and be able to give an explanation to why they performed a certain task the way they did. There is a science behind marketing and there are definitely marketers who understand that science better than others. That is why it is so important to choose a marketing company who knows the science of marketing and how to use strategy to execute tasks according to that science.
Unfortunately, I have been a part of creative agencies whose clients would come to them and say, “we need a billboard!” The agency would then say great let’s get it designed! To some, this might seem like a healthy response, but it’s not strategic. An agency should respond to its client by asking “Why do you need a billboard? Will this reach your target audience? Or will something else get you a better return on investment?” That is strategic thinking and that is the type of agency you want to help your company to grow. It will save you a lot of time and headache when you choose an agency that is strategic.
No one likes someone who is flakey. Your marketing company should be reliable. Meeting deadlines, punctual to meetings, and great communication conveys a level of reliability to a client. This doesn’t mean that your marketing agency should never go over a deadline, but when they do, they need to communicate ahead of time that the deadline needs to be extended and why it is taking longer than expected.
Life happens and marketers are no exception. So don’t get me wrong, extending deadlines happens, but it also shouldn’t be happening for every project. I typically will pad my estimates to clients, just to make sure I can deliver even if something comes up. Proper planning and anticipation is part of the reliability of a marketing agency.
Too often I hear clients or other business owners talk about how their marketing agency took an extra month to finish a project or that they can no longer get a hold of local freelancer that they have been working with. Keeping lines of communication open with your client and calling them back as soon as possible will show that the agency you’ve partnered with is reliable and trustworthy. Emergencies aren’t uncommon in business, and it’s important to know you can reach your strategic partner.
You might be thinking to yourself, how can someone try to sell to me have integrity? It’s like the stereotype about the used car salesmen that most people have. This is especially true because often times marketing agencies are in the business of selling ideas. Ideas are intangible and sometimes hard to measure. He is only in it for himself and what they are selling me isn’t even reliable. Well if you have been on earth long enough you will soon realize that these type of people exist in all industries. Someone who guarantees you the world and when you come to them for that guarantee they have skipped town. This is not what you want in a marketing company.
A company with integrity will be one that is willing to let you know when they have done something wrong and take accountability for it. They will be someone who is willing to communicate with you when things are going wrong and give you the solution for how they will fix it. A marketing agency with integrity will put your needs first using their expertise, even if it might seem contrary to a previously proposed idea, such as the billboard mentioned earlier.
This not only shows great integrity, but it will continue to build trust with your client. Not only will a company with integrity be a pleasure to work with, but they most likely will also perform all your marketing in the same manner. There is a great peace of mind to be able to have complete trust in the people who help your company connect with your audience effectively.