marketing_checklist
0

Your Checklist 101 before commencing a Specialist & Agency Search .

Most business owners can see the demand for their product or service and are eager to dive in head first and push their business to the marketplace. The problem is, without proper planning in place they often run into all kinds of issues and challenges along the way. These problems can usually be avoided if thorough care and consideration is given to  meeting several fundamental requirements before commencing any agency search and selection. At Marketing Search, we’ve put together a simple checklist of key macro issues you need to consider before proceeding to search for your ideal marketing solution. Our agency search checklist 101 as denoted below provides business owners and marketers with valuable information to assist in minimising the risks and costs associated with outsourcing a broad range of marketing and creative services.

 

Over time, this agency search and selection checklist will be improved and expanded upon with support and input from our valued network of specialist agencies and suppliers. It will become an essential tool for businesses and marketing professionals to use before searching for and selecting outsource marketing providers, saving time, money and producing better marketing outcomes.

AGENCY SEARCH CHECKLIST –
1.DO YOU HAVE A PLAN & STRATEGY?

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat” – Sun Tzu

Before you proceed to search for a marketing provider, ask yourself these six key questions:

  • Have you developed a marketing plan/strategy?
  • Have you devised your key strategies and undertaken research to segment and target your market?
  • Are you clear about your purpose and the desired outcomes?
  • Have you considered what resources will be available to you?
  • Do you have an understanding of the tactics you will use to successfully deliver on the strategy?
  • Have you set priorities and assigned responsibilities, time frames and measures for the project?

When you can answer yes to all these key points, you will be in a much better position to proceed with finding the right marketing service provider to fit the needs of your budget, timeframe, resources and project requirements.

AGENCY SEARCH CHECKLIST –
2.DO YOU HAVE STAKEHOLDER BUY-IN & BUDGETING SET?

The earlier you can get input and recommendations from relevant stakeholders, the better position you will be in when proceeding with your outsource marketing search. Consider these key questions when it comes to stakeholder buy-in and budgeting:

  • Does your marketing strategy have the support and buy-in of other key stakeholders with an interest in the project?
  • Is the budget for your project realistic and sufficient to fund the activities and resources required?

AGENCY SEARCH CHECKLIST –
3.HAVE YOU PREPARED A BRIEF FOR AGENCIES?

Briefs act as a form of contract between clients and agencies and vary in content depending on the activity being undertaken. The primary purpose of a brief is to provide clear direction on what’s important, while clarifying the problems you’re seeking to address.

Spending time writing a brief, no matter how short, will pay significant dividends in the long term, as it generally leads to better work and saves money and time for all.

The act of writing things down forces you to think more deeply about your issues. More often than not, creating a brief will result in you changing your initial approach.

Have you provided the basic information below to give to potential marketing providers?

  • Background of the business, marketing strategies and why this new project is important
  • Marketing goals/objectives (what you are setting out to achieve)
  • Brand overview (brand identity, market positioning, what the brand stands for, what’s unique, etc)
  • Insights into your target audience
  • Project timeframes
  • Work allocations (client verses provider)
  • Budget parameters
  • Agreed KPI and performance measurements
  • Communication processes (how you wish your provider to respond/report and give access)
  • Approvals (signatures of those issuing/approving the brief and the agency.)

AGENCY SEARCH CHECKLIST –
4. HAVE YOU RESEARCHED AND EXPLORED THE AGENCY SOLUTIONS MARKET ADEQUATELY?

Given the fragmentation of markets and proliferation of specialisations that are evolving, finding the best fit marketing provider to outsource for your marketing needs is today more complex and confusing than ever.

The key is to get clarity around what your organisation requires before you take the first step, which is where the checklist questions above come in handy. Based on that, you can start the process of shortlisting and ultimately selecting the best fit provider for your business and unique project.

Engaging any marketing provider should be approached as a calculated risk. You need to take an objective, insightful look at all the potential pros and cons associated with different types of providers before you make your decision.

For more information, read our guide to finding the best fit marketing provider for your business.

AGENCY SEARCH CHECKLIST –
5. HAVE YOU DONE YOUR PRE-MEETING PREPARATION?

Before you meet with a marketing provider, prepare a list of key questions to further evaluate their match to your needs.

Selecting a marketing provider/agency that matches the needs and communication style of your business is a complex process. Although you can never fully guarantee success, asking the most important questions will help put you in the best position to make your decision.

Here are some examples of key general questions you might ask potential service providers to assistin your shortlisting selection process:

  • Tell us about your brand identity and market position?
  • Why do you consider your agency to be a good fit for us?
  • Tell us more about your experience and understanding of our industry.
  • Can you share the results you’ve had when working with similar companies/projects?
  • How do you go about your communication and reporting process with clients?
  • How do you propose to measure the success of the project? What metrics will you use?
  • Tell us about your internal work approaches and how do you manage and control project account costs?
  • Who are the people that will be doing the work and can we meet them?
  • What do you need from us to get things started?
  • What do you consider to be the biggest challenges and how will you address them?
  • When can you start and what is your timeline for completion?
  • Is this a project that fits with your agency market positioning?

AGENCY SEARCH CHECKLIST –
6. HAVE YOU COMPLETED THE ABOVE ? IF SO PROCEED TO SEARCH & SHORTLISTING.

At Marketing Search, we recommend you always take the time to think critically about what you plan to do up-front and be very clear about your goals and outcomes before approaching any provider.

By doing this, you will avoid many of those unexpected bumps and obstacles that arise down the track, which inevitably cause cost blow outs and time delays in bringing your project to market.

Having considered the questions on the checklist, you should now be well positioned to start your search for the ideal provider to partner with. By now, you will hopefully have a better sense of the competencies and attributes required to meet your brief.

We recommend you initially shortlist up to three providers, with the aim to further qualify them to two. Ask those two final candidates to submit their pitch and proposal in person for your final decision.

Good luck!

Neil Anderson is the founder and director of MarketingSearch.com.au a privately owned and operated Australian marketing search platform that enables businesses to transform their marketing impact and profitability through provisioning of better agency search & selection , talent sourcing & upskilling and project optimisation services.

Leave us a comment

logged inYou must be to post a comment.