Congrats! After spending weeks sifting through proposals, interviewing different marketing agencies and deciding on your new business partner, you’re finally at the starting line. That’s right – the real work is just beginning. Once you’ve actually selected the marketing agency that you’d like to work with, the next step is to foster a strong foundation for your partnership that will ultimately help the agency to deliver your desired outcomes while staying on schedule and on budget.
Here are five ways that your business can maximize its marketing agency partnership from the get-go:
1. Ensure the Marketing Agency Aligns With Your Business
The most important aspect of a successful marketing agency partnership is alignment. Like any relationship, a lack of trust and transparency will erode even the best-laid plans if both sides aren’t on the same page and moving in the same direction.
The first step for any new partnership between a marketing agency and a business is a kick-off meeting that allows both sides to share more about their backgrounds, their expectations and their objectives. During this first meeting, it’s critical to thoroughly discuss the scope of work, as well as how it will be both implemented and evaluated. This should include how success will be measured and what the short- and long-term goals are for the project.
A good marketing agency will also understand the importance of thinking both strategically and tactically—and will ask thoughtful questions and gather the necessary information in order to ensure there’s a good balance between the two. In addition, it’s critical to be fully open and transparent about your expectations for the project upfront, as both sides should know what’s at stake in this partnership.
2. Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities With Your Agency
We all know the feeling when a task or project doesn’t get done properly and everyone looks at one another wondering who was supposed to be leading the charge. The good news is that’s 100% preventable by working closely with your marketing agency to clearly assign roles and responsibilities for each task at hand.
Just as every employee has a specialized role in an organization, your marketing agency partnership should also have an agreed-upon game plan for gathering background information, implementing action items and sharing updates throughout the project. At a minimum, there should be at least one point of contact on both sides of the equation who will spearhead the project and keep their teams updated. After all, the last thing any project needs is a misunderstanding that could have been avoided.
By allocating specific responsibilities and assigning realistic deadlines, this places ownership on everyone to handle their tasks in a timely manner, thereby streamlining the entire process and eliminating unnecessary headaches along the way. This ultimately provides more time to focus on what’s really important: achieving tangible results for your business.
3. Establish a Plan for Regular Communication
Another critical element of a successful partnership is to establish a plan for ongoing, regular communication with your marketing agency that allows your team to be kept abreast of progress and any timely updates, while not being inundated with a million emails.
A good marketing agency will aim to be proactive in its approach and constantly work to stay one step ahead of your business needs. Any business owner or leader will agree that time is their most valuable asset, so it’s important to partner with an agency that understands this and works with your business in a way that best suits your team.
By establishing a plan for regular, clear and transparent communication with your marketing agency, you will avoid miscommunication or confusion that can ultimately result in unsatisfactory work and an upcoming deadline that will be difficult for either party to meet.
4. Create An Environment That Embraces Ideation
Are all ideas great ones? Certainly not. But the only way to achieve an innovative and creative marketing approach for your business is to proactively brainstorm fresh ideas and explore new opportunities that could ultimately end up being a home run or a foul ball.
One critical aspect of marketing is the ability to think about a business from the customer’s perspective. Combining this with an outside vantage point, your marketing agency can identify new opportunities that may elevate the current marketing approach and more effectively achieve your business objectives. Although some ideas might seem pie-in-the-sky, taking the time to proactively brainstorm new ideas and fresh approaches will ultimately grow your business, strengthen your partnership over the long run and maximize your ROI.
5. Be Realistic With Timelines & Budgets
In order to foster a successful partnership with your marketing agency, it’s important to be realistic and upfront about your timeline and budget. In project management, there are three basic principles in what is called the “scope triangle”—quality, time and cost.
Typically, you can only have three of these principles at any given time. For instance, you may be looking to achieve a high-end product with a quick turnaround. Naturally, this will likely require a higher investment. On the flip side, if your business is flexible with a project’s timeline, you could achieve a quality end-product at a lower cost.
Partnering with a marketing agency is one of the best ways for a business to grow its brand, its visibility and, ultimately, its ROI. However, great results don’t happen overnight. From sharing expectations and responsibilities in a kick-off meeting to celebrating the end of a successful marketing campaign, a lot of time and effort is necessary for the best outcome.