6 Tips for Choosing the Right Agency
February 6, 2017 by Vanessa Zucker
You’ve made the leap: your executive team has finally decided to hire a PR agency or Marketing firm. How do you go about choosing the right agency for your business, though? After all, there are thousands of agencies in the United States alone. Here are some tips to help you evaluate the agencies you consider along your PR and marketing journey:
Find an agency that aligns with your company’s goals.
To get the most value for your money, you should find an agency that is compatible with your business goals. An agency focused on your objectives will tailor campaigns to achieve those objectives. For example, if you want to drive more sales, tactics should be used to pursue new clients. If you are determined to expand brand recognition, tactics will shift.
Understand how the agency integrates different offerings.
In today’s fast-paced world of information—where audiences get their news from a variety of non-traditional sources—you will want to cover your bases across print and digital publications, social media, paid media placement, influencer marketing, insights and measurement, and more. Your agency needs to know how to send a consistent message optimized for each platform so that you will find success in your holistic campaign. Ask about previous clients the team has worked with and how they brought several different tactics together under one strategy.
Go beyond tactics into strategy.
Many agencies can execute on tactics, like updating your social channels, writing press releases, designing graphics. Without a clearly defined strategy, though, these tactics may not fulfill your company’s goals. Ask your agency how they approach developing strategies before executing with tactics.
Ensure that the agency knows how to evaluate performance.
Choose an agency that values measurement and knows how to both analyze your data as well as suggest how to use it to refine business strategies. Simply knowing the number of impressions a story received without understanding your larger business strategy is not going to get you very far. Ask what types of analysis the agency will do to help you with particular goals.
Look for an agency that operates as an extension of your team.
A great agency is one that adapts and works as though its name can be interchanged with the client’s. After all, you are buying the people as much as the agency; A relationship with an agency is predicated on the relationship between the core teams (agency and client) delivering the desired objective. Your assigned PR team should ask plenty of questions in order to thoroughly understand your company and product/service, as well as your company’s differentiators and narrative.
Analyze the agency’s clients.
What kind of brands does the agency represent? Are they market leaders? Unicorns? What kinds of successes have these clients realized thanks to the agency’s work? If the agency has helped companies solve a similar problem to yours in the past, you may have found a good candidate. The same applies if case studies on the agency’s website reveal that their past clients have similar business goals as your company. If the agency has experience in your industry, then great, but remember: Some of the best thinking comes from an agency that can learn and bring a fresh perspective.
Bonus: Decide between going local or global.
Decide whether you would rather work with a local firm or a larger (but farther away) firm. Local firms know the immediate area well and could benefit a local business better than the market leader in a faraway big city. However, if you hope to branch out and reach audiences you could never reach on your own, a firm headquartered in a city with quality press contacts will lead you down a better path.
All of these tips should help you while choosing the right agency by helping you determine the best PR firm that fit your needs and goals.
About the Author
Vanessa Zucker is Spark’s in-house marketing manager. She has done in-house marketing for small startups, tech giants, and non-profits. In the process, she has been on both the side of the agency getting hired and the company hiring the agency. She merges creativity with analytical thinking and organization in order to create unique, quality content.