Nowadays, virtually every person working in the industry is aware that digital marketing has become a broad sphere with various sub-disciplines, knowledge, and tools specific to each. Digital marketing is continuously evolving, whether it’s about media management and strategy to SEO, CRO, and UX the learning curve can be steep for newcomers, and for experienced marketers, it looks like it would never plateau.
This being said, most companies prefer to integrate this at least some of this marketing expertise within the company, in order to optimize budget efficiency or maintain control over the creative while building a stronger team. Despite how attractive it can be for marketers to go in-house, there are also disadvantages in taking this path, specifically regarding creating new and independent perspectives.
If one knows from the 2 perspectives both client and agency sides the positive advantages of hiring an agency partner in strategy, media planning, and building new opportunities is a no-brainer.
Now there are many agencies around the world; choosing an agency is not a process to be taken lightly. To make the right hiring decision, is it important to ask oneself the right questions. Here are a few to start with:
- Remuneration, how do you plan to finance the agency?
This question also depends on the negotiation with an agency itself, that’s why make sure what types of structure fee would best match your company.
- Who will work with the agency? It is important to divide tasks and have transparent responsibilities to know how the relationship will work with the business’s teams and departments on both sides.
- What is the timeline?
To be more effective and focused on the project, it is important to have a predefined and specific period that can be referred to by both parties.
Five steps to follow
Once you’ve decided to proceed with an external agency, it’s important to do your homework to ensure you find the best partners and get the most out of your agency collaboration. Some businesses may have a dedicated marketing service or procurement team to take primary responsibility and overview the process.
While your internal team can be totally capable of managing the following steps, agency hiring is not an everyday practice and you can benefit from expert advice that can both speed up the process while relying on deeper expertise. This is what we also offer at Ad World Masters with our Consulting Services. Turnkey solutions and expertise to hire independent agencies worldwide. You do not need to limit yourself with agencies present within your own market. Operating on a global scale we help growth-oriented companies to hire the best independent agencies.
Independently from your knowledge and experience in agency hiring following some essential steps will help you achieve successful collaboration with your agency.
1. Write the brief
The most fundamental step is to define your vision and precise the planning of the projects, or campaigns. While you may already envision the general scope, it is essential to determine the project period, budget plan, and include elements of the brand history as well as project/ and campaign goals.
Writing a brief that sparks creativity without being too limiting can be a delicate exercise. With experience from both sides, we offer this service as one of our Consulting Package.
2. Research about the agency landscape
Since there are so many agencies coming in all shapes and sizes, the best is to conduct initial research focused on your specific brief goals. Besides Google search, use AdWorldMasters.com and our advanced search to find agencies that match best the competencies required to properly answer your brief.
Our Consulting service also comes handy for this process as we go beyond our own database to match our clients with the most suited agencies. Our profound knowledge of the agency market allows us to scan for the best candidates and go much further than any simple web search.
Additionally, we cross-reference agencies and perform a background check to get a better sense of their true capabilities.
While it might be overlooked it is crucial to perform such reviews by asking companies in your industry feedback on their collaboration with the specific agency you are researching. You can also take another approach and ask feedback to companies who had projects in the agency portfolio that share similarities with what you plan to do.
This essential investigation will help you be more confident in your hiring decision while ensuring to cross-out agencies that looked good on the outside.
3. Make a list of most suited agencies and send your RFI
After having researched appropriate agencies, you should be able to make a shortlist of 3 to 5 agencies that best match your requirements and that you believe would be the most capable to answer your brief.
Starting with agencies at the top of your list submit a formal request for information (RFI). An RFI is a way of obtaining information and knowledge from various agencies before officially discussing a plan or deal with them. Although the procedure itself is a helpful way to standardize information its purpose is to provide information relevant to your brief. The Digital Marketing Association has developed a nice RFI template that can be adapted to your needs.
4. To pitch or not to pitch?
Once you are confident you are familiar with the agencies that suit your needs you have 2 options.
You can either formally discuss with a few agencies in order to find the most appropriate partner though conversation or decide to organize a pitch.
There is no good or bad way, but the nature of your project or campaign will determine your choice regarding the way of selecting the final agency.
Additionally, company guidelines or market culture can influence the decision in favor of organizing a pitch or not, as much as the time available before the expected launch.
After all, an RFP process can quickly become time-consuming for both parties involved. Are you ready for this and do you think it can help you to consider the best creative option or you have a clear idea in mind and you are ready to collaborate with the most reliable agency right away?
Be advised that some agencies may decide that they wouldn’t want to participate in your pitch, if this occurs with one or several agencies you have shortlisted, it can be good to have a backup plan. Whether it means digging again in your long list or resigning from organizing a pitch.
We are able to coordinate and organize pitches across several locations get in touch with us if you need help to organize a pitch.
5. Let’s start!
It is time to get started with what you have planned and prepared for. Starting the collaboration with your agency means setting up guidelines for your collaboration.
It is important to go through the whole brief and tasks, in order to make clarification on the responsibilities of the agency and come to an agreement. This is usually the time to do sign contracts between both parties.
While trust should be central to the relationship, the agreement should protect both parties and define both agency and clients’ obligations and rights. The best collaborations depend on the detailed work and effort to work toward a fair agreement.
Depending on the project it might be discussed and decided along with other elements:
- Non-disclosure agreements (in case it was not signed earlier)
- Payment structure Pricing and fee structure
- Agreement period
- Intellectual property rights and modality of transfer
- Warranty period
- Team set up
- Working process
Hiring an agency shares similarities as the process of employing a new member for your team. It can take time and need clear goals, and responsibilities to be sure to end up with the right candidate.
While this process might be different depending on your specific goals or the nature of your business, following this process will help you to make the right hiring decision and achieve your vision.
Regardless if you are looking to go through this on your own or not we recommend you use our advanced search to find the most suited agency, for your project/campaign. Our database of 11,000+ independent agencies can help you to achieve your marketing goals whether it means creating a multi-touch campaign, building an e-commerce website, or collaborating at scale with influencers our many agencies can help you with your business problematics.
Register for free on Ad World Masters to find the most suitable agency for your business and start to shortlist agencies.
We also offer affordable Consulting Services available through packages to assist you with agency hiring. Our packages cover Agency selection, Creative brief Writing, or Pitch Organization for a price ranging between €100 and €300. Whether you want help with one or several steps mentioned above please get in touch to benefit from our expertise.