Are you asking your agency the right questions?

January 25th, 2024

How to get the most from your marketing agency

Working with a marketing agency can be invaluable in boosting your brand, increasing sales, and helping you stand out in a crowded industry. But how can you ensure you’re getting a good return on your investment? Here are three questions you should be asking to help reframe your relationship and get the most value from your agency partnerships.

Stop asking: What is your hourly rate? Or how much is this meeting costing me?
Start asking: What value can your agency bring my business?  

If Agency A takes 10 hours to make an ad at $300 an hour, it costs $3,000. If Agency B creates that same ad but it takes 30 hours at $150 an hour, it costs $4,500. So, my question to you is: what is the impact of an hourly rate on your bottom line?

As an agency, we believe that we’re in the business of brain power. Our product is ideas that:

  • Are rooted in experience and strategy
  • Are formed with thoughtful consideration and attention to detail
  • Create real results for your business and your bottom line

For your business, it doesn’t really matter whether an idea takes our team 10 hours or 30 hours to formulate and create. What’s most important is the value that idea brings your company or organization.

So how do you get your agency to come around to this way of thinking? Start treating them like an extension of your team and less like a vendor. Challenge them by asking how they would solve a business problem versus asking them to create a specific tactical solution. For example, instead of asking whether your agency can create a brochure, ask how they can help increase sales in a particular category.

And if you’re concerned that changing your way of thinking on this will only increase the hours and thus the cost, consider an agency that offers a membership model (read more on our membership model here).

Stop asking: What should we tell our audience?
Start asking: What does our audience need to hear from us?

Many companies are on-brand. They know who they are and what they sell. They are authentic to themselves and communicate their offerings. But how many companies are on-brand and on-customer?

At Bozell, we begin at the end – with the customer. We start all client relationships with a discovery session that includes our proprietary 360 Listening process. The key word here is “listening.” We gather data across search, social and news sources to give you a well-rounded view of what people are saying about your brand, your competitors, your products or services, and any other pertinent topics related to your industry. Only when you know what matters most to your audience, and have an unbiased, honest understanding of how your brand/products/services truly benefit the customer, can you understand how to appeal to them.

Understanding the end-user should inform your core messaging and set a tone that will resonate with customers. It will also help you focus on relevant, engaging, content ideas, and avoid landmines that may trigger your audience. Collectively, these efforts will not only help sell a product but will build loyalty over time.

So, the next time you receive work from your agency, ask these questions:

  • Is this message authentic to us?
  • What’s in it for the audience? Are we addressing their needs and communicating the benefits we provide in their life?
  • Does it cut through the clutter and help us stand out from the competition?

If you’re unsure about the answers, or you’re simply guessing, a bit more research is in order. Because, in the end, the customer is truly who has the final say in everything we do.

Stop asking: What did we do last year?
Start asking: What should we do this year?

Embrace change. That’s one of our core tenets. Because we believe that in order to stay relevant and competitive, you need to be willing to change to the latest and greatest. If you think you’re up to date on culture and technology and advertising tactics, you’re wrong. There is always something to learn. If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that we never know what will change next.

Don’t get stuck in your advertising ways, especially if it’s just because it’s comfortable. Evaluate what has advanced in your industry, what new experiences your audience is confronting, what new communications challenges have popped up, etc. Not all changes are huge fundamental shifts in everything you’ve known. Minor adjustments can be just as important to an annual plan. Something that worked last year, might only be a small part of your plan this year. Or something you said “no” to a few years back, might be just what you need this year.

Whatever your plans are for this year, just make sure your marketing decisions are intentional. And if you need help making intentional plans for your marketing strategy, contact us and we can talk about your needs.