A good tip before marketing meetings, it is good to chat to some of their current clients. Most agencies are proud of their clients and often use testimonials and names. However many of these can be out of date. Clients that are showcased on the agencies website may be clients from years ago or even from a previous company (before a name change). One of the main factors to consider before marketing meetings with an agency is their experience. By talking to their clients in a similar field, you can get a feel for what they are like to work with.
Good communication is the key to good marketing. Are they good at responding to e-mails? Are they clear in their advice and does it have any follow through? Do they shy away from face to face meetings?
Good marketing is about re-packaging something and providing a new approach. Something that is difficult due to competition, it is hard to reinvent the wheel in a new way – however this is what is needed.
Do they achieve tangible results for their clients? Are they producing a return on investment on the marketing spend that is invested? How long have they been working with the agency? These are all questions that need to be asked before meeting with a full service marketing agency; these should clear up any doubts that the money that is invested will be spent wisely and yield a return on investment. As the agency will be handling such a responsibility (website design, PR, design, exhibitions, mailings, advertising) thorough checks need to made in order to ensure that they investment is a wise one.
Once you get to the marketing meeting, you will probably get a warm welcome and are shown around the offices/studios/creative’s. Most have sizeable premises (as they need to house such a large work force of skills and services) and most are proud to show you around what you are investing into. Be on your guard, marketing meetings are tactful. You need to be on your guard as much as you are there to get to know them. There are some questions that need to be asked relating to the fact finding that has happened previously:
Most companies cannot give guarantees with marketing; but it is good to ask, as it puts you in a stronger position. You are investing a lot of money and time, and you want to ensure that there are some ways to monitor progress and ensure that you are moving in the right direction and seeing results.
The best advice would be to allow the dust to settle; it is easy in the heat of the moment to sign an agreement. However after the marketing meeting, it is good to compare other agencies. Meet with 2-3 different marketing companies. As long as they are all reasonably local and have experience in your industry you can then compare them like for like and cost for cost. Rather than going through google to find them, just fill in the form.