Effective marketing is critical to the success of almost every business. While there are some companies with the size and resources to manage this important job in-house, most businesses aren’t able to navigate the increasingly complex world of digital marketing on their own. Often, finding a highly experienced and trustworthy marketing strategy consultant will increase the likelihood that your efforts will achieve their desired outcome.
Determining the right digital marketing strategy to connect with your target audience, build your brand and grow your business can be challenging. There are more digital marketing channels than ever before, and not every option will be a good fit to achieve your goals. Without the help of a dedicated marketing strategy consultant, you may struggle to arrive at the right mix of tactics to effectively grow your business.
In addition, many of the marketing strategies you implement will require specialized expertise, both in the planning and execution phases, to achieve the best possible results. Working with a marketing strategy consultant will provide the expertise and specialization necessary to maximize the ROI on your efforts and ensure your marketing budget is being used wisely.
While the benefits of working with a third-party marketing strategy agency may be clear, choosing the right one isn’t always easy. There are many agencies out there vying for your business, and not all of them will be a good fit for what you’re trying to accomplish. Choosing the right marketing strategy consultant is critical to the ongoing growth and success of your business, and you should engage in a thorough evaluation process to ensure you get this important decision right.
The following tips will help you identify the right marketing strategy agency to build your brand, generate quality leads and grow your business.
Define Your Goals
In order to effectively evaluate potential marketing strategy agencies to partner with, you must first have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve. Different agencies will have different strengths and areas of expertise, so you’ll want to choose a marketing strategy consultant that is ideally suited to achieve your specific goals.
Are you looking to generate more qualified leads? Launch a new product line? Increase your ecommerce sales? Overhaul your branding? These goals all require a different approach and expertise. Knowing your goals can help you narrow down your list to the marketing strategy agencies that specialize in what you’re trying to accomplish, and it enables you to identify the success metrics necessary to evaluate their performance.
Set Your Budget
It’s also important to set a budget at the start of your search. Unless your company has unlimited financial resources to throw at your marketing efforts, you’ll need to find an agency that can most efficiently and effectively make use of your available budget to maximize the ROI of your efforts.
Most good marketing strategy agencies should be able to work within your budget and set realistic expectations for what can be accomplished with the resources available to them. They should be able to present a variety of options for how to best use your budget and explain the pros and cons of each strategy. Ultimately, this will help you to better understand what is possible, allowing you to prioritize the strategies that most closely align with your goals.
Create a Short List of Marketing Strategy Consultant Candidates
Once you’ve identified several potential marketing strategy consultants who possess an expertise and specialization that aligns with your goals and offers services that are within your budget, it’s time to narrow your options down. Use the following criteria to determine the best two to three marketing strategy agencies to engage in deeper discussions before making a final decision.
A Customized Approach
Choose a marketing strategy agency who is interested in you and who demonstrates a desire to understand your overarching business goals and your unique situation:
- Are you receiving a boilerplate proposal, or is the agency providing custom recommendations to achieve your specific goals?
- Does the agency introduce new ideas and fresh ways of looking at your situation?
- Is the scope they present focused on your situation and goals or are you getting “we sell this, therefore you need it” type of reasoning?
Does the agency take a professional, solution-oriented approach to this relationship? For example, if your financial planner laid out a plan without first asking questions about your personal and family needs, you would not consider the plan. Your goals and situation are unique. Your partner should continuously seek to understand in order to ensure their solutions align with your needs. Good partners want dialogue to understand what is required, and marketing partners are no exception.
Industry experience is an important factor to evaluate, as this may be an indicator that they will be a good fit for the needs of your business. Some marketing strategy agencies choose to specialize in certain niche industries. There can be a benefit to working with an agency that has extensive experience working with businesses in your specific industry since they most likely will possess a more sophisticated understanding of what your business does, and the unique factors associated with successfully marketing to your target audience.
However, this industry experience can also be a double-edged sword. Certain industry specific agencies may take a cookie cutter approach to marketing, touting this as a “tried and true method” to achieve results in your industry. The truth is that your business is completely unique, and the best marketing approach for your competitors may not be right for you. Therefore, this industry specialization should be balanced with a willingness to customize your strategy based on the specific goals you’ve established for your business.
Don’t dismiss a potential marketing strategy agency simply because they haven’t worked with other businesses in your industry before. Often, agencies that work with businesses in a wide range of industries have a broad understanding of how different marketing tactics work to achieve specific goals, regardless of the industry.
In fact, working with a partner who can demonstrate experience across a broad array of industries is the most likely to be able to introduce fresh ideas. Many companies have broken through by employing strategies first tested and proven in industries other than their own. An agency with such a portfolio is most likely to connect those dots and present those paths for your consideration.
A good marketing strategy consultant should be able to evaluate your industry, your online presence, your goals, and the efforts used by your competitors to develop an effective strategy that will achieve your desired outcome. Often, working with someone who isn’t laser focused on the specific nuances of your industry will provide a fresh approach that can deliver superior marketing outcomes.
Full transparency is essential anytime you’re entering into a new business relationship. It’s critical to your ability to build trust with your new marketing strategy agency. When you engage a potential consultant in an initial discussion, make sure they are completely upfront about every aspect of their recommendations, including the:
- Reasoning behind their approach
- Tools, channels and budget required to implement the strategy
- Expected timeline to develop and implement the strategy
- Metrics necessary to evaluate success
- Realistic expectations for what can be achieved
- Alternative options that may be able to achieve your goals
Lack of transparency during the initial consultation process is one of the biggest red flags you’ll encounter. If you feel like the consultant isn’t being completely open and honest with you from the start, it’s best to eliminate them as a candidate.
Choosing a marketing strategy agency to work with is an important decision. Ideally, this will be a long-term partnership that will help you achieve sustained growth and profitability for years to come. Getting this decision right the first time will help you avoid the inevitable delays in progress that typically occur if you have to pivot and start the process over with a new agency in a year or two. Therefore, you’ll want to vet the agency’s credibility and experience prior to including them on your short list.
There are several ways you can evaluate their credibility:
- Look at their website – This is one of the easiest and most important ways to evaluate a marketing strategy agency. Since helping you build a strong online presence will be one of their most important jobs, seeing how effectively they market themselves online will give you a good sense of what you can expect. Evaluate the following factors:
- Website design – Is their website design modern and professional? Does it contain clear, compelling calls to action (CTAs) that make it easier to generate leads?
- Search engine results – Does the agency’s website appear high in Google search results? This will indicate that they have a strong SEO background and should give you greater confidence that they can achieve strong SEO results for you.
- Branding and messaging – Do they convey a strong, cohesive brand throughout their website and social media profiles? Are the brand logos, colors, imagery and typography consistent? Does their messaging effectively and consistently convey their brand across all channels?
- Review their portfolio – Most agencies will post a portfolio with examples of their recent projects. This is a great way to get a sense of the quality of work they produce. If the agency doesn’t have portfolio pieces on their website, ask them to send you a few to review.
- Read client testimonials – Most marketing strategy agencies include some testimonials on their website. Read through these to get a sense of what other clients have to say about working with them.
- Read client reviews – Look at review sites such as Clutch, Google and Yelp. Does the agency consistently have good reviews on these sites? What are clients saying in these reviews, and do they seem authentic?
Once you’ve narrowed down your short list, ask the agency to provide you with a few references from former or existing clients that you can speak with. Checking references is an important step that will give you peace of mind that you’re choosing a quality marketing strategy agency. If you find some red flags in your conversations with these references, you can eliminate that particular candidate before spending a significant amount of time reviewing specific proposals.
Request Detailed Recommendations
Marketing can be a bit of a rabbit hole. There are so many approaches you can take to this important aspect of running your business, and it’s important to be aligned with your agency on the specific marketing strategy services that they recommend.
Before choosing your dedicated partner, ask each of the agencies on your short list to provide you with detailed recommendations of the specific marketing strategy services they believe will deliver your desired results. Ideally, these recommendations should be made as part of a conversation that provides greater context to help you understand the reasoning behind the recommendations being made.
During this conversation, you should also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding the approach being recommended. If you’re unable to receive comprehensive answers to your questions, it’s generally a sign the agency may not be the right fit for your needs.
Assess the Agency’s Ability to Deliver Your Desired Results
While your marketing strategy consultant should be expected to help you dream and ideate, the reality is that ideas are easier to produce than results. At the end of the day, the results achieved are the true measure of the success of your marketing efforts. Therefore, your best choice is likely a partner who can demonstrate live, actual results.
When you defined your goals, you should have identified specific success metrics that would help you evaluate the performance of the marketing agency implementing your campaign. Ask the agency to send you specific examples of the results they’ve achieved with campaigns they’ve run for clients receiving similar services contained in your recommendations. Examine the performance data in these reports carefully to make sure they can demonstrate a track record of success that is similar to the KPI results you’re looking to achieve.
Webolutions Can Develop a Marketing Strategy That Grows Your Business
The complex, ever evolving nature of marketing makes it very challenging to develop the right strategy on your own. If you’re ready to work with a dedicated marketing strategy consultant who can help you build your brand, generate more leads and grow your business, Webolutions can help.
As Denver’s leading marketing strategy agency since 1994, we’ve worked with businesses of all sizes in a wide range of industries. During this time, we’ve developed a strong track record of success – and we have both the hard data and industry accolades to prove it.
At Webolutions, we take a data-driven, holistic approach to developing your marketing strategy. We’ll customize our recommendations based on the specifics of your industry, the factors impacting your market, and the value you bring to your customers/clients. This ensures your plan leverages the methods and channels that will most effectively achieve your goals.
Our transformational Intrinsic Multiplier™ Approach to marketing strategy and implementation has been designed to grow your business faster, smarter and easier. With this unique approach, we’ll help you achieve highly competitive differentiation by conveying your purpose, core values, mission, specific set of strengths and unique culture to your audience. By defining your true value and establishing what makes your business special, we can deliver the results necessary to position you for success for years to come.
In addition, our team includes some of the most highly experienced digital marketing professionals in the industry. With broad areas of expertise in just about every subspecialty of digital marketing, we have the chops to implement any strategy at the highest levels, and we provide you with robust performance intelligence data that lets you evaluate the success of our efforts.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Webolutions provides marketing strategy services to clients nationwide from our offices in Denver, Colorado.