When it comes to hiring a firm to supplement your marketing efforts or be the marketing arm of your company, a lot of research goes into that decision. You want to pick an awesome team, right? One that will take every challenge head on and produce results every time? Of course!
We’ve got your back. Here’s a checklist of the five things you absolutely must look for when hiring a marketing firm.
1. Is it knowledgeable in your industry?
In highly regulated industries, it’s important to select a marketing firm that has experience with best practices, regulations, and compliance. Many marketing firms specialize in a certain niche, and you want one that lives and breathes your subject matter. The firm should have a client roster in your industry. What is its depth of knowledge with the advantages and requirements for marketing your services? Does it keep abreast of news and changes impacting your industry? Here are some other questions to ask:
- Does it have a track record with the industry?
- What is its knowledge on brand positioning within your industry and beyond?
- Is it well versed in the latest marketing strategies and how to best apply them to your industry?
2. Is it easy to work with?
A marketing firm that is highly organized will ultimately be more efficient, produce better results, and communicate more effectively with you along the journey—making you feel like a partner rather than a client. The team should be personable and available to you, including senior management. Look at the firm’s portfolio, get references, learn its schedule and workflow management system, and see if it can answer these questions:
- How will you communicate with me and how will I know the status of our projects?
- Who is my day-to-day contact, and who do I reach out to if there is a problem?
- How do you gauge the quality of your work?
- Can you provide two references?
3. Does it have a strategic process?
A good marketing firm has a process for creating strategic marketing collateral rather than scattershot tactics. Every recommendation should be part of a framework that supports your business priorities. Does its portfolio portray thought leadership? Here are some other things to look for:
- Can the firm describe its strategic process?
- Does the firm provide research and analysis to support its recommendations?
- Does the firm understand your business needs?
4. Does “boutique” mean “unique”?
There’s a difference between “small” and “boutique” when it comes to marketing firms. True boutique firms stand out from the crowd by owning their niche and working to provide custom, creative solutions to their clients’ problems. A boutique firm can serve client companies of any size if it has a solid team and knows its niche, so ask the firm to show you its highest-impact projects. See if it can get its hands dirty and develop strategies that serve each client, rather than offer formulaic recommendations. Here are some other questions to consider:
- Do you feel compelled by its portfolio?
- Does the branding look and feel like something you haven’t seen before, or that’s rare in your industry?
- Does it offer custom photo shoots and other services that help you stand out from the crowd?
5. What is the firm’s collective experience?
Diversity in a team’s experience is often its strength. Look for a marketing firm that has a good amount of seasoned employees and contractors as well as a few newbies who can provide fresh perspectives and outside experience. A marketing team that is too green won’t give you the depth and guidance you need, while a marketing team that hasn’t hired anyone new in a long time could be stuck in an outdated approach. Check these other items off your list:
- Is it strong in a broad range of services, such as brand development, content creation, design, copy, advertising campaigns, and social media?
- Is it quick to learn and adapt?
- What is its turnover rate?
- Does it create amazing work that really moves the needle?
We hope these tips will help you make better, more informed decisions when it comes to hiring your next marketing firm. For more marketing thought leadership from Out & About Communications, check out our blog at outandaboutcommunications.com/blog/.