What Makes a Good Marketing Agency

By Madison Taylor
September 16, 2020
Group of young business professionals in meeting room with charts and graphs on whiteboard.

What Makes a Good Marketing Agency

So you’re shopping for a new marketing agency. Maybe you’ve grown beyond the capacity of your current agency, maybe you just started your company and you need to get your name out there, or maybe you’ve had one guy named Greg in charge of ads, social, and blogging for the last six months and Greg is tearing his hair out because he can’t keep up anymore.

Whatever the reason, we’re here to help (and take a little bit off of Greg’s plate). The truth is, unless you’ve got the budget of a multinational corporation, you’re better off hiring an agency than trying to handle all your marketing in-house. Even the biggest brands in the world have effectively hired so many in-house people that they’re running their own little agency in one corner of the building.

So what should you look for in an agency? We’ve got some ideas.

1. People

The people in a marketing agency are what makes the whole thing tick. If you’re hiring them to produce content, you want to know that they have copywriters, web developers, and graphic designers who know what they’re doing. You want strategic minds who have experience working with companies of your size, industry, and needs. And you want an account manager who gels well with you when it comes to open communication and planning.

The best way to assess this is to look at their previous work. Most agencies will have case studies or a portfolio online so you can check out what they’ve already produced, but even if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can ask them directly about their experience in certain areas.

2. Strategy

When you come on board with an agency, the first step will be planning what you’re going to do next. They’ll want to examine every aspect of your marketing to date:

  • How much have you been spending?
  • Where are you spending it?
  • What kind of content are you putting out?
  • How often are you producing it?
  • How long has it been since you updated your website or email templates?
  • How do you tell whether your marketing is working?

It’s ok if you’re brand new to the game and don’t have good answers to these questions — any answer is useful when it comes to building a new strategy.

From there, your agency will probably put together a proposal highlighting the kind of marketing you need to be doing, what it’s intended to accomplish, what it will cost, and how they plan to assess their results.

3. Creativity

One of the best reasons to hire an agency is that they’ll think of things you wouldn’t have ever come up with on your own. Marketing agencies keep their ears to the ground, staying up to date on the latest trends, what’s working and what’s not, which channels are rising and falling (and for which demographics), and so on. When you hire an agency, you know you’re not missing anything.

4. Execution

A plan is only as good as your agency’s ability to execute it, so you need an agency that can turn your monthly strategy into world-class content. You’ll probably be using some combination of social media, blogs, whitepapers, pillar pages, emails, ads, and a dozen other channels to attract and convert users, so you need your marketing plan to be in the hands of someone who knows exactly how to pull it off.

This is another great opportunity to look through the case studies and portfolio of the agency you’re looking into. Poke around the sites they’ve built and look at the functionality that’s built in, the speed of the sites, the quality of writing and design on their blogs and other collateral, and anything else that’s a priority for you. You deserve the best content — find someone who can produce it.

5. Analytics

The final stage of any marketing campaign is knowing whether it worked or not. Plenty of ideas have seemed great on the drawing board but died in the real world, and plenty of other ideas started out as an afterthought but blossomed into surprising success stories.

You need an agency that can generate detailed analytics about which marketing channels are bringing in the most leads, which ones are giving you the best bang for your buck, which should be expanded, and which should be scrapped. Ask potential agencies about the tools they use, the reports they generate, and how they assess results.

6. Technology

At every step of the process, from planning to analysis, technology will play a crucial role. There are thousands of marketing software tools out there, and you need to know that your agency is using tools that you can use. For example:

  • How do they handle project management? Are you looped in on projects or is that all internal?
  • How do they create and share files? Do they use Office 360, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, or something else?
  • Do they use a password manager? How do they share credentials with each other and with you?
  • Which analytics tools do they use? Do they have accounts with SEMRush, Hubspot, Google Analytics, or others?
  • What does the approval process look like? What kinds of files are they sharing with you and how are they marked up and sent back and forth?

You deserve an agency with the latest and greatest tech running their operations, so don’t be afraid to ask about their setup.

7. Communication

This is the glue that ties everything else together. Every client is different — some want to hand over marketing operations to their agency entirely and never think about them again, while others want to be hands-on when it comes to planning and execution.

Whichever kind you are, you need to know what to expect from your agency. How often will they check in with you on how your marketing is performing? What kind of reports are they generating, and how are they presented to you? Think about the kind of relationship you want to have with your agency, then ask them how they do things.

Talk to Madison Taylor Marketing

If you’re looking for a marketing agency to take your brand to the next level, look no further. Madison Taylor Marketing is a full-service agency with the skills and expertise to pull off any campaign from the most basic emails to the most complex integrated marketing campaigns. If you’re ready to start taking your marketing seriously, get in touch!