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How to find the best fit marketing specialist or agency solution for your business?

Today, finding the best fit marketing specialist or agency solution for the unique needs of your business is more complex and confusing than ever. Given the current fragmentation of the service provider landscape, finding the right specialist can be a stressful and time-consuming process, one that often deters businesses from sourcing professional marketing help entirely.

The truth is, finding the best fit solution to outsource your marketing requirements to doesn’t need to be a difficult task. With the right knowledge and a comprehensive database of suitable specialists and agencies , hiring should be something that removes from your pressures, not adds to them.

If you’re looking to hire the services of a marketing specialist or agency, consider these tips for finding the right fit for your business and use our featured and/or concierge search functions to find your best fit marketing solution be they locally or interstate based.

Tips for finding the best fit marketing solutions

The first key step in finding the best fit specialist for your business is to be clear about what your organisation requires. Once you’ve established your needs, you can start the process of shortlisting (and ultimately selecting) your partner.

Engaging any marketing service provider should be approached as a calculated risk. It can be a significant expense and influence the outcome of your business decisions, so you need to take an objective, insightful look at all the potential pros, cons and associated risks.

Marketing Search minimises these risks for you, not only by presenting you with a carefully curated portfolio of best in class agencies , but also by helping you make better decisions about who to select. We don’t accept any old marketing provider to our database – they must be approved through our referencing process and then benchmarked against our best practices checklists and related content.

Once you’ve identified and shortlisted your best fit marketing agency specialists using the Marketing Search platform, we recommend you always make initial contact by phone. Email and contact forms may seem like the easier option, but having direct contact with their customer service representative will help you get a better feel for their potential fit.

Even better, arrange a personal visit to their offices, where you can meet the team and fire some probing questions their way to see if you like their answers. Initial questions you may want to consider asking include:

  • How do their skills and experience match your project requirements?
  • What is their typical communication process with a client throughout the duration of the project?
  • How do they project manage budget expenditure?
  • How does their business culture and personality fit with you or your business?

We recommend you pick a minimum of two to three specialists and/or agencies for initial comparison and then narrow your list down to two for final selection before committing to a contract. However, this may vary depending on the scope of your marketing project and the levels and scope of specialisation required from your best fit marketing provider.

Things to keep in mind when finding the best fit marketing solution

In a perfect world, hiring a qualified specialist in any profession would guarantee high quality results you are looking for, but unfortunately that’s not the case. When figuring out who is the best fit for you, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • All specialists and agencies have their own strengths and limitations.
  • When making your selection, consider more than just costs. You also need to focus on the fit of their team culture, their pricing and contract structure, their communication style, their project control management, their level of industry experience and references and reputation.
  • Price is certainly not an indicator of the best fit marketing solution nor the ROI on your marketing spend and if you choose someone purely based on their low price, they can end up costing a lot more than you think. Don’t buy cheap – we believe quality generally pays the best return in the long run.
  • Agencies, especially growing ones, have difficulty saying no to work they do not specialise in. To avoid future problems, we encourage buying primary specialisation in your selection of your best fit to get maximum value.
  • Be wary of agencies who outsource a large element of their work as this will generally add to your costs and lead to inconsistencies in quality of deliverables. That said, there’s nothing wrong with outsourcing specific tasks to experts with highly tuned skills however your best fit marketing solution is more than likely to have those skills inhouse.
  • Consider the option of hiring a freelancer – in many cases it doesn’t always equate to lower costs, but can be ideal for small projects and minor work requiring one or two areas of specialisation. Freelancers can also be a good add-on to an exisiting in-house team.
  • Keep in mind that creativity cannot be commoditised and be wary of sales pitches from marketing specialists, especially if they tell you they have a secret sauce (their own proprietary method), as marketing is an open field today.
  • Take a look at the potential best fit providers website as this can often give you a fair representation of their attention to detail and styling.

Small vs large marketing specialists and agencies – which is better?

Small provider businesses often have a more creative, collaborative approach with lower rates. Many businesses think that by going to large providers, they’re guaranteed high quality work, however, that is often far from the case.

Many large providers outsource their work to smaller agencies or design firms due to the volume of work they get, or simply to make a bigger profit margin. It’s cheaper for them to outsource than it is to hire full-time employees, so large providers typically have core staff who work on the most important projects and then use partner firms, subcontractors or freelancers to handle the rest.

In order to compete with the bigger providers, small creative specialists and agencies focus on teamwork and creativity. In many cases, small teams are carefully crafted to consist of talented individuals that excel in their area of expertise, who all work together to achieve a common goal. For this reason, smaller providers are often able to deliver outstanding results in a shorter amount of time. They will typically also be able to offer competitive pricing due to their lower overheads.

Full service agency vs specialist agency – which is better?

Today’s marketing ecosystem is complex, and agencies are now required to have a significant amount of skills, competencies and knowledge to stay up to date with all technologies and platforms. This demand is challenging, not to mention difficult to sustain.

A full service agency offers a one-stop-shop arrangement, providing an array of skills with a host of experts available under one roof. An advantage of using full service marketing agencies is that they’re better placed to provide customers with campaign cohesion across multiple channels and strategies, as the project is managed collectively by one team. This allows the benefit of collective synergy in creativity and more timely outcomes.

In theory, working with a full service agency makes complete sense, as having one agency voice to communicate with and manage makes life that little bit easier. However, the reality is this integration is often more difficult to achieve than you might think, and working with full services agencies isn’t always smooth sailing.

As a downside, the one voice approach of the project leader means the diversity of specialist perspectives and challenges often go unnoticed. Also, when dealing with full service agencies, work is often passed around and can be handed to junior or less experienced staff, especially when it comes to social media marketing.

A specialist marketing agency offers highly specific knowledge in a certain domain, providing skills and insights with expert focus and personal delivery.

If you’re running several projects with multiple specialists, naturally this approach will require greater levels of communication and inter-agency coordination. However, campaign cohesion can still be achieved by having a contact person for each agency, an integrated marketing plan and establishing appropriate agency protocols up front.

When choosing a best fit marketing solution, whether it be a full scale agency or specialist provider, the key to a positive return on investment is for the provider to have expert skills in a particular competitive service area. Both models have their merits, and it may be worth considering a combination of full service and specialists agency models to get the best possible outcomes.

Overall, what really matters is understanding the experience and skill level of those who will actually be doing the work. If an agency outsources, sends work offshore or is operating under a white label service, these approaches present an added risk to your marketing project and you need to carefully consider those risks before going down that path.

Once you’re satisfied on that front, take time to do your research, with basic pre-preparation and due diligence around what you need before starting to search and select your best fit solutions.

When you reach out to marketing specialists and agencies, make sure you’ve prepared a marketing brief first.

Benefits of using Marketing Search for marketing service provider selection

Providing users with a database of high quality, professional marketing specialists and agencies with outstanding reputations for providing expert service is something we at Marketing Search take very seriously. It is our mission to help users find their best fit marketing solution for their unique needs, and to do this, our selection criteria adheres to a strict list of values and guidelines.

We believe that no one agency is the best option for everyone, and as such, we are impartial on selection or promotion. We simply deliver a detailed search function and display of reputable, qualified providers to make it easier for you to find the best fit marketing agency for your project and business overall.

Do your own search on our featured ‘best in class’ search tab our opening page or send us a search brief on our concierge tab and we will do a basic search on your behalf. Email us with your requirements and we can assist you in finding your best fit marketing solution today at enquiry@marketingsearch.com.au

Written by Neil Anderson
14th November, 2018

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 expert specialist search, talent sourcing and project optimisation services.

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