In today's day and age, marketing requires a versatile range of specialised skills to be able to provide valuable results for a business. With the digital takeover being more relevant than ever, it is important that an agency not only know how to own the digital world, but how to carry forward the benefits of the traditional-style paper world. It's what I like to call the modern version of "If it ain't broke.. DON'T FIX IT!"
Marketing agency costs typically depend on the scope of work being requested, their specialities, and their current results - but can be a pretty hefty initial investment, when done right. The lingering question has ALWAYS been, is the investment worth it? While there are a lot of "get rich quick" and "I can promise you the world" campaigns floating around, the reality is that marketing can never be classified as a certain guarantee.
For instance, an agency can take on two Real Estate teams in the exact same area and use the same plan to grow their digital presence, local market share, and lead generation, but have two completely different results. Why? Because every entity needs a niche-focused marketing plan that tailors to their own strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities.
How do I select the right marketing agency? That should be the real question here. Allow us to give you some examples of a successful agencies benefits (and all of the things you should be expecting when you get started).
Understanding The 5 Most Important Things To Look For When Hiring a Marketing Agency:
1: The agency's transparency levels.
I cannot tell you how many times our Audit Division has met with a client that is currently working with an alternative agency and we've heard, "I wasn't ever taught that." The fact of the matter is, marketing is risky, marketing can get ugly, and much like the stock market - if you don't know what you're doing, it can cost you big.
It is important to find a marketing team that starts with educating you. No matter how hard the truth may be, the truth is what will always set you free.
For example, in early 2022, we pitched a mortgage lending team on a full-service package and provided them with our free audit and one on one discovery session. In the Discovery Session, the team leader stated that he was currently using an agency running roughly $5,000 worth of digital campaigns with an average of 13 quality leads a month. He asked if we would recommend the same amount and what we planned to do to increase the current ROI he was seeing and change his results. Although we consistently attempt to sway her away from such a blunt delivery (*laughing outside - crying inside*), our Chief Visionary Strategist simply responded, "Can I be candid?" In that very moment, we all knew that a double dose of honesty was being served and were optimistic of learning how it had been received. Eyes wide open and ready to hear what was next, we heard her say, "I would immediately stop all of your ad spend, turn off all of your marketing spend, and trash the entire concept." You can imagine the emoji shock faces around the room when the leader gulped a pretty large gulp. When asked why, she very thoroughly detailed the issues with the foundation the business ran off of (online, at least) and how the marketing couldn't be appropriately supported for conversions. She detailed the Google Business page displaying inaccurate information, the low reporting keywords that were being used on the site, and the broken links that led a potential client back to third-party vendors. In complete awe, we received the infamous, "I was never taught any of those things," and one of the biggest closings of our career.
While it's understood that no two situations are identical, it's important to trust your gut and ensure that you TRUST the integrity and honesty of the team that will take over your marketing.
2: A structured, consistent, and thought-through marketing plan.
When getting started with an agency, you should look within your initial set up package, or onboarding timeline, for the strategic development of a marketing plan. Whether it be a 6 month or 12 month plan, you should make sure that it outlines the following areas:
business and marketing foundation and "groundwork";
local and 'lion' competitive analysis;
service/product focused customer avatar(s);
prior marketing attempts both successful and failed;
forward marketing strategy and timeline of events;
content creation and at least 3 focal call to actions;
search engine optimization budgets, keywords, consistency plan, and monitoring commitments;
digital advertising budgets, keywords, consistency plan, and monitoring commitments;
direct advertising budgets, keywords, consistency plan, and monitoring commitments;
lead generation and conversion planning, including: digital advertising budgets, keywords, consistency plan, and monitoring commitments.
3: An outlined individual or team focused on each areas of your budget.
It is important to know that the agency you are choosing to retain is going to treat your business as their own and watch your marketing dollars just as they do the dollars of the agency. Understanding that you have a person or team, with consistent and regulated follow up measures, is important to making sure that you've selected the right agency.
4: A specific niche marketing summary that nurtures your current and previous clients/customers.
Having an existing business typically means that you have had customers (even if only a few) and you have developed some sort of reputation in your market. A good marketing agency will make sure that their marketing plan will include specific ways that your sphere ("also called your network") is engaged and excited on a monthly basis. Look for signs of the agency requesting assigned access to your CRM, a customer list or selling report, and/or information on your past sales. This will ensure that your agency is going to take your sphere into account when marketing on your behalf.
For example, we signed an automotive repair shop in that came to us with nearly $6,500 worth of monthly marketing expenses and NO local market reach. In a nutshell, that means he was wasting more than six thousand dollars in ad spend online, meanwhile, we couldn't find a single person in the community that could repeat for you the name of his business or what they do. A business that was planted RIGHT in the heart of the community, may I add. We sent a pitch that detailed withdrawing 60% of his online ad spend and investing more than $25,000 into developing his brand and engaging his local market. Exactly 11 days after design delivery, we had received a total of 27 calls from local auto shops wanting to know more about our branding packages and signage from our team. Not because they wanted to Keep Up With The Jone's, but because their customers had mentioned the design. Sweet victory....
What your neighborhood and the people they influence knows about and thinks about your brand should be one of your highest priorities. Ask yourself very clearly, "how are you leveraging your CURRENT (or required) expenses to generate revenue on your behalf?" What does that mean? Well, you pay for that location, right? How is it telling all of its neighbors about you or what you do? Is your storefront calling people to take action or is it just wasted space? What are you doing to USE that resource for YOUR BENEFIT? Because we have to face the music, marketing needs to be a selfish race to being the first and last, all at once.
5: A reputation spend.
Far too many times I hear of agencies telling clients that their plans focus specifically (and solely in most cases) on their business. While that's great... we live in a post-covid world with a whole new kind of customer. Connected to their feelings, emotions, and sentiment, customers what to know the business, want to like the people responsible for the business, and want to FEEL a part of something bigger than themselves. This, my friends, is the 2022 secret sauce we're always preaching about.
Emotional connectivity to your brand, your story, and the relatability of the business is the leading purchase trigger in America. Customers want to feel related to, appreciated, and most certainly valued by not just the company, but the owner.
Let's take the story of Tesla as our primary example. Do you love Tesla? Do you know all about the inner-workings of the car, or how the engine flows? Do you know the make, model, and description of each of the different bodies? Unless you're a car enthusiast, those answers are no. Okay, let's try one more thing. Do you know about Elon Musk traveling to space? Why is that? Is it because the PERSON is as valuable as the BUSINESS or are we just reaching?
At the end of the day, whether or not an agency is "worth it" for your business depends on your individual needs, accomplishments, sales, upcoming goals, and budget. Identifying whether or not this is the right choice for your business has to be a YOU choice.
Could Underdog be the right agency for you?
At Underdog, we take pride in the fact that we practice what we preach. We offer a free audit and discovery session to allow business owners, and their teams, the opportunity to make sure that we're the right team for you. If you are interested, complete an audit application by clicking here and a member of our team will reach out to schedule your free discovery session soon.