In age of constant clutter and traffic, anyone who has set out to establish a brand would realise the true worth of an efficient creative agency.
Partnering with the right creative agency is crucial to the success of a business and making the best choice can often prove to be an intimidating process for business owners. Whether you are looking to revamp a former marketing campaign, giving the brand image a complete makeover or deciding the right channels for your services, you must begin by getting yourself an agency that works best for you.
As the market continues to up its game in terms of improved service and faster results, creative agencies work to remain at the forefront of this race. Thankfully for business decision makers this means that the task of identifying a pool of potential partners becomes much easier.
A little digging into your network is always helpful as it yields top recommendations based on the firsthand experiences of peers which serves to point you in the direction of your best partner. Often enough agencies are also constantly on the lookout for new clients and would readily pitch to an interested customer, which further simplifies the entire process.
However, before jumping straight into sending out pitching invites, doing some groundwork can be extremely helpful.
Before you pitch
If you are looking for an agency to work with, you need to establish clarity on what you need to accomplish with the partnership. Laying out a set of objectives that you need to meet with respect to the marketing or branding goals of your business will not only help you get the desired results, but also help your agency set forth in the right direction.
You do not have to share an extensively carved out plan at this stage, as this would eventually be created from the collaborative work that you and the agency experts put into the partnership. A simple document known as the brief outlines your expectations from the relationship will do. At this point you should also remain sensitive to the budgets available to you and set realistic targets.
Anything that the two parties agree to should aim to optimize the resources available to both and deliver on the marketing objectives of the company.
Ask around. . .
This is also a good time to ask around and seek recommendations of creative agencies that are best suited to your industry. Any partner who is familiar with the nature of your business and the competitive environment you operate in would have an easier time starting off and the risks of going wrong will be minimized by the depth of their previous experience.
Risks can pay off. . .
This does not mean that anyone new to the landscape would not be able to give results. In fact, a debuting creative agency might be able to bring fresh flavor to a clichéd marketing environment and break the clutter. It is always a matter of who connects best with your vision for your business.
Once you have listed down all the partners you could work with and feel you are reading to begin the pitching process, get some background into the identified agencies. It will help to know what kind of work they have done in the past, what platforms they are better at and what has not worked out formerly. This investigation might help you narrow choices further while also allowing you to discover the reputation of an agency’s culture and ethics and how they treat clients which can be decisive in the choice of an agency. Anyone whose methods are at odds with yours might not provide the synergy you are looking for.
When you feel that you have enough information, you are ready for the next step.
Meet them first
It is important to personally interact with creative agency representatives before the pitch is made. This meeting gives you a sense of what the agency may be like to work with and whether it is the right match for you. In this first meeting, you can gauge their manner of working and the level of flexibility they are ready to offer. Such meetings can also tell you the financial appetite that you would need to show as some agencies are more expensive than others.
A good idea is to meet at least three to four agencies for this preliminary check so that you can experience the range of the spectrum in your choice span. As agencies work for multiple clients, their schedules can often be hard to manage, be sure to understand what is the level of exclusivity and resource dedication they can give to your business.
Ask questions and be prepared to answer them, a good creative agency will usually have a lot more to ask you than you might ask them. This is a good sign as it shows interest and care on their part. This is also a good time to be forthcoming about the kind of budgets you can peg to your marketing activities. A fair budget helps in managing expectations so that neither side faces any problems later on.
Once these meetings are out of the way, it is finally time for
Understand that this pitch is for you to know the extent of the creative ability of the creative agency and not yet an actual plan creation for your marketing needs. The agency realizes that they may or may not get the account, so be prepared if they do not bring in heavily customized solutions. However, it is fair to expect that the general nature of the pitch will be made with your business needs in mind and should offer you enough insight to make an informed decision.
Whatever plan the creative agency presents has room for your feedback and input. Remember to ask questions and offer suggestions to check how open they are to your views. Also be open-minded in the reception of their ideas as they might surprise you. In case the agency relies heavily on industry jargon, feel free to stop and ask them the meanings of words that are new to your ears. Terms like brand equity, consumption habits, SEO, touchpoint and positioning are sure to pop up within the pitch. It also helps to read up a little in advance to know the marketing and media trends going on these days.
Finally, remember that this process is meant to find you a relationship with the right partner who can help you drive growth and success for your business. Such a partner will have read into your business, understood your needs and offered you solutions that you actually require. Whether you need to complete a short project or find a long term retainer client, ensure the agency you choose to work with has respect for your end goals.
As with any partner, the equation may not always be linear and the little bumps along the way will only help you learn more and create greater value for your customers.