5 Steps For Onboarding a Marketing Agency

By Madison Taylor
November 30, 2020
Business women greeted to meeting with handshake in meeting room

When you hire a new agency, there’s a lot you should look for — primarily transparency, communication, and experience. But the search process is just the first step. A successful relationship between your organization and your marketing agency depends on a successful onboarding. With that in mind, here are a few of the steps you should expect.

1. Knowledge Sharing

Think of onboarding a new agency as you would onboarding a new employee. Even if the agency you’ve selected has experience working in your industry they have no experience working with your organization. If they’re going to speak to your potential customers in a way that’s informed and on brand, they’re going to need a deep understanding of your organization, the market landscape, and your buyer personas.

The knowledge sharing phase is about just that. This is typically a series of long and in-depth meetings, so buy some bagels and set aside at least half a day for discussion. Before the meeting, you should receive a list of requested items ranging from credentials to existing marketing materials and process outlines in order for the agency to complete some background work. .

The meetings will be more about answering questions and diving deeper into your organization. Prepare to talk about:

  • Organizational goals in the short, medium, and long term
  • Marketing objectives that have been aligned to the organizational goals
  • The state of your market and industry including any recent market research
  • Your competitors, what you do better than them, and what they do better than you (be honest!)
  • Who your customers are, how much they typically spend, and whether they become repeat customers
  • How your sales cycle is currently functioning, how marketing works with the sales team, as well as metrics like close percentage and lifetime value of a customer
  • Past marketing strategies and campaigns and their performance Your future vision in terms of brand perception, expanding to new markets, launching new products, and so on

Every agency will prioritize different information and run their meetings differently, but all of them are going to dig deep into the past and future state of your business. Be ready to teach them everything they need to know about your industry while learning everything you need to know about how they plan to help you meet your goals.

2. Audit Your Existing Systems

No one likes the word “audit,” but this is purely a fact-finding step to ensure that the foundation is in alignment with your goals . Your agency is going to dive deep into everything that makes up your current marketing infrastructure, including:

  • Website infrastructure and performance
  • Martech infrastructure
  • The flow of data between marketing and other areas of the organization
  • How you manage passwords and access for security
  • Existing marketing channels and their performance
  • Existing marketing campaigns and their performance

This doesn’t mean we’re going to throw out everything you’re doing — if you’re working within Marketo and everything is set up to support the goals, that’s great! The point of this step is to find out where everything is, how it works, and how it might be improved.

3. Goal Setting and KPIs

To use data to inform strategy and evaluate performance we need to measure, but in order to do that, we need to decide what to measure. This step is all about assigning key performance indicators (KPIs) to your organizational and marketing goals. Every goal will come with its own set of metrics. For example:

  • Brand awareness: In order to measure brand awareness you may want to set a KPI of increased direct website traffic or an increase in your overall Q score.
  • Lead generation: Typical KPIs related to lead generation are around overall site conversion, form submissions, and lead quality metrics. Loyalty: When measuring loyalty you may want to associate KPIs around , churn rate, lifetime value, revenue, and customer success feedback.

Every campaign will come with its own unique set of metrics based on your goals, your customers, and your industry. What’s important is that you know which metrics to look for and what will be realistic stretch goals. If your current site conversion rate is .02%, setting a 20% goal within a year may not be reasonable. A “stretch goal,” simply put, is a target set above what is expected to be accomplished. Goals and associated KPIs should be aggressive, but not outside of reality. .

4. Collaboration u0026amp; Feedback

It’s finally time to start marketing! The setup phases above typically take about a month, depending on the size and complexity of your account. After all the preparation is done, it’s time to start building the strategy and associated deliverables for your marketing efforts. This is the phase where the agency moves from absorbing as much information as possible to making recommendations and deliverables. Collaboration with your team will be the most demanding during this phase as you’ll need to provide detailed feedback. Work with your agency on the best methods for collaboration, keep lines of communication open, and develop a process that works for both teams to share feedback.

5. Refinement

Of course, there will be more steps after the onboarding process is complete. You and your agency will monitor the performance of your campaigns, make adjustments as your goals change, and look forward to evolving your working relationship. Every organization is continually changing so as updates are delivered internally, be sure to share that with your agency so they can pivot with you. Talk to Madison Taylor Marketing

If you’re ready to successfully onboard an agency, let’s start a conversation. We are innovative thinkers, consummate professionals, and boundary-pushers intent on delivering the best strategy, systems, and execution you’ll find anywhere. Ready to put your plans in motion? Get in touch.