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Do you need an agency? which agency is right for your business? how much should you pay them? what services does an advertising agency provide? which is the best digital marketing agency? These and many other questions are the most sought after and the ones I hear the most in my mentoring sessions. This topic has a lot to talk about, I promise there will be part 2, but for now let's go with what I think are the key points to achieve a successful process of choosing an advertising and marketing agency.

1. Define whether you really need an agency

Having an agency is an investment and as such usually takes about 6 months of adaptation and in some cases even generates ROI (return on investment) in the following 6 months. So it is not always necessary to have one. Here are some key points to ask for quotes:

  • You have an in-house team, but they are stretched and you want to increase investment and the number of campaigns.

  • Most of the content you generate is planned and trending content is not relevant at the moment.

  • Ideas and their implementation are falling short and you need support from more experienced people.

  • You have a larger budget to take on an additional element to ROI and you want to move up in sales with a higher level of skill.

If you would like us to help you define this process, you can request a mentoring session with us here.

2. Always request information:

Important things to ask for when quoting that will help you understand if it is an agency you can work with:

  • Credentials: this is a presentation where the agency tells information about its history, products, projects, methodologies, clients, success stories and team. I recommend you always ask for this document to analyze in detail when making the decision.

  • References: you should always ask for references, either by letter or by talking to the client directly, this is important to know how the operation works and what the team is like on a day-to-day basis.

  • Success stories: always ask for the most relevant success story for the product or service you are looking for. It is important if you are looking for results that the management indicators that made it a success are clear.

3. Define the services you seek

In general, agencies are classified mainly by their products and services, this point is important to define the agency you need. Here is a guide to the products and services that agencies can offer you:

  • Ideation or Creativity: this point has to do with the creation of ideas, concepts, taglines, logos, names, campaigns, videos and any other graphic or text element that captures the attention of your target audience in an interesting and relevant way.

  • Digital marketing and content for social networks: this has to do with the strategies, tactics and production of pieces / arts that you are going to include in different digital media.

  • Development or programming: this service is linked to the previous one and what you are looking for is the development of web pages, mobile applications, database management and other topics.

  • Media investment: these agencies specialize in investing your money in different types of media depending on your needs and the consumption of users or potential customers.

  • Production: these agencies focus on the production of pieces, arts or graphic or video tools that make creativity live in the media.

  • Consulting: companies focused on knowledge, analysis and review of current processes and that allow you to find points of improvement in what you do or reinforce the knowledge of your teams in one or more areas.

  • Data, Relationship or CRM: agencies focused on database management, customer segmentation, predictive behavioral models, segmentation, etc.

If you are looking for several services in a single agency you should know that they may have shortcomings in the operation of some of the elements, in my experience there is none that does everything perfectly. In that case I recommend you to look for the one that has more experience in what you are looking for. Also, keep in mind that the more specialized the agency is, the more they usually charge a little more than what you can have in your budget.

4. Compare, measure and analyze.

I always recommend having a minimum of 3 proposers, that are competitors and that allow you to compare under the criteria you consider necessary. Here is a table with the criteria you can use to compare and that will help you understand what you need and if the agency meets the criteria you value the most:

In addition, making comparisons about the budget and how much each supplier costs us is also very important, so I also prepared this document that can help you organize the information:

If you want to get the complete document, you can request a mentoring session with us and in addition to the document we will do a complete analysis of what you need. Schedule your mentoring here.

5. Always ask for SLA - "Service Level Agreement" - Service Level Agreements.

I recommend this when you are in the negotiation process, it is important that you know how long the agency will deliver what you need. It will also give you a way to validate the use of methodologies to achieve the objectives you present to them.

Service level agreements are generally done on a per piece or deliverable basis, it is important to be clear on adjustments, changes and errors as they are measured and how they are handled. Always keep this in mind when negotiating.

6. The cheapest or the most expensive is not necessarily the best.

When we talk about investing in a communications agency, the in-betweens are usually the most appropriate in terms of budgets. It does not always apply, but most of the analyses I have been involved in, are usually the ones that have the best rating in terms of budget.

It is always important to negotiate, at least with the 3 most relevant, but my recommendation is not to negotiate only lower prices, this usually goes against the level of service. When costs are lowered, it usually happens that teams join an account that already exists in the agency and this may affect the deliverables. Negotiate deliverables, number of pieces, delivery times (SLA - service level agreement).

Uff, a lot of stuff right? Well, but remember that there are several articles and the idea is to show you more about this topic, little by little, so that you get the right agency and that it will be a relationship that lasts for years and that will support you in the growth of your business.

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