When is the last time you audited your marketing company? If you have not conducted your own internal review of your marketing company recently, conducting an audit is most likely a good idea. Review these 10 things to determine if the marketing company you are working with is the right fit for your company.
Here is a list of 10 things you should look at and review to audit your marketing company. Be sure to review this before agreeing to work with a new company and periodically with a company you have a working relationships with.
The single most important thing is that your marketing company is delivering results for you. Write down all of the results your marketing company has delivered for you using not only data from them but also your own results data. This data should be focused on actual sales increases and new customers that you can tie back directly to the initiatives that your marketing company is doing for you. If you can not determine what sales increases and new customers your marketing company is driving for your company, this is the first sign you should be looking for a new marketing company.
2. Return On Investment
Whatever you are spending with your marketing company there should be definitely a positive return on investment. You should never view your marketing as an operating cost without a return on investment. It makes no sense to be "investing" and paying a marketing company money if at the end of it you are still getting a negative return on investment. Either you are not including all the results in your ROI calculations or it does not make sense to continue. It is no good to spend $1.00 and only get $0.50 back. Be sure to look at the full impact. For example a newspaper print campaign will only have impact for as long as it runs and how long the customers it obtains stays with your company, plus any referrals you get from those newspaper generated customers. For this type of a program you would take the total number of customers gained from the newspaper campaign times the total life time value of those customers plus the total lifetime value of any referrals you will get from those newspaper campaign customers. Then use this as your return, subtract the total cost you paid your marketing company and calculate your ROI. Again, if you don't see a positive ROI, or you don't even have the data to be able to calculate an ROI (this probably means your marketing company does not want you to know the ROI you are getting because it is negative), it is probably time to look for a new marketing company.
Your marketing company should be able to provide you with reporting on what they are doing, some lead metrics (like website hits, email marketing clicks etc) and most importantly the amount of sales that they are driving for your company. If your marketing company is not doing this then they are not doing their job. I would advise that you find a new marketing company that can provide you with a way to determine the actual amount of sales being brought in by the efforts they are doing for your company.
Ask your marketing company what experience they have, what is the education of the people that are or will be working on your account, what case studies can they provide for you on what they have been able to do for other companies. Then also research the company and the people that work on your account to see what expertise they have on the web and specifically on Linkedin. You want to be working with an expert. If they are not an expert in what you are asking them to do then find another company that is an expert.
5. Quality Of Work
Check the quality of their work. Do they work hard to do their best. Do a random check on the work they do for you that you might not otherwise look at and see what the quality of the work looks like. Do they actually care about your business or are they only concerned with how to make as much money off of you as they can? If they only care about making a buck off of you and do not truly care about your businesses you should not expect the marketing company to grow your business. Instead they will most likely be a cash drain and cause you to be worse off then you were before them.
When auditing your marketing company you should look at what their reputation is currently. It is not enough to go off of what their reputation was when you started working with them. Companies change over time. Their reputation may have improved or have deteriorated. Find out by looking online for reviews, asking your contacts what their experience with the company has been and check online for what others are saying about the company. If the majority of people are saying the marketing company is effective and deliver a positive return on investment they probably are good, if people are not mentioning that they are getting a positive return on investment but have glowing words about the company be cautious. They may be getting treated really nice by the company, but only because the marketing company is making a killing off of them, not providing any real results, charging an arm and a leg and laughing to the bank. Be sure to push for actual sales impact and return on investment metrics from references you talk to or find online.
How does your marketing company treat you. Do they treat you as a person and someone who is important to them, or as someone that does not mean anything to them. Do they make an effort to invest in the relationship with you. Do you feel good being around them and when you talk to them. What does your gut say about them? Can you be open and honest with them? Do you feel you can trust your marketing company? If you are not sure if you can trust them it is probably a good idea to look for someone you feel you can trust.
8. Continuous Improvement
Is the company you are working with make an effort to constantly improve or have they recently become slack in their efforts? Are there still working to drive your business forward by testing new things, learning from results and making refinements and improvements constantly? Or are they simply milking the previous work they have completed for you and reducing the amount of effort they put into your account?
9. Business Strategy
Are they active in reviewing and improving your business strategy? Do they provide good ideas and insights to consider to improve your business strategy? Do they, when appropriate, provide assistance beyond what they are required to by their contract with you? Has the advice they have given you about your marketing strategy worked to grow and improve your business? Are they educated on business strategy and able to give you good advice on what your marketing strategy should be to fit with your overall business strategy?
10. Technological Sophistication
Given the day and age we live in, technology and an understanding of how it works is critically important for a marketing agency to be effective. Does your marketing company know about technology? Do they understand how search engine optimization and website conversion tools like heat map tracking works? Do they use sophisticated technology for their own business or do they use historic technologies and processes?
My name is Chris R. Keller. I work at Profitworks Small Business Services helping various B2B small businesses in Waterloo and Kitchener Ontario generate new customers via our full marketing service solution. Feel free to connect with me on Google+ or if you are interested in getting new customers for your small businesses enter your email in the box provided below and click the "Send Me Free Marketing Insights" button.
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