What sets a marketing agency apart from others?
When it comes to selecting a marketing agency to support your small business, it’s important (I believe) to find one that has the right balance of business acumen, and marketing skills.
This may sound obvious, but there is an unfortunate reality that whilst smaller marketing agencies do possess technical marketing skills, often they are rather lacking in business knowledge. Whilst they may be very knowledgeable on digital strategies, without a matching business awareness, there may be trouble ahead!
This most often becomes obvious when the first recommendations made for fresh lead generation is to encourage you to discount your prices. This trims your potential margins BEFORE even checking if price is the buying barrier… and so often it isn’t the key factor!
On a personal note, I find the pricing assumption intensely irritating, as the outcome of such a strategy can be very poor indeed.
It can lead to reduced customer appreciation for the service or product’s true value, along with an increased operational workload, and limited improvement in profitability if not creating an actual loss for the company! The impact of relatively small price discounts can be very high on gross profit achieved, and this lack of business awareness can prove very costly for the client.
What does a business focused marketing agency do differently?
1. They plan for more than just cold lead generation
Enhancing marketing to support your customer’s entire journey is what more often grows the business results that really matter. In simple terms it is an expensive habit to focus on convincing strangers to buy for the first time as your only strategy. Working on your conversion speed and rates, order values and frequencies, and the influencer power of referencing, referrals and introductions, is much more likely to create compound growth in the company.
Our belief is that a business focused marketing agency should understand how your business works. We want to know what affects profit, cashflow, and company valuation, so that we can help you build on all three…and this goes way beyond basic lead generation strategies.
2. They support the local economy, industry and service providers
Buying local, and supporting small businesses is a passion of ours, and we love to help companies establish position and lead in their marketplace.
Now more than ever this is vital as so many SME companies have been hamstrung by Covid restrictions and the economy as a whole. When you are choosing your marketing support, we hope that you’ll make the ethics of your supplier a consideration, and pick one that cares as well as just serves.
Caring means that they are focused on your return on investment as much as you are.
3. They go beyond the task administration
A great marketing agency takes the learning and actions of bigger brands and businesses, and tailors them to be appropriate for the smaller business setting but without bringing the same price tag.
This is why, I find it is surprising to note how few of the smaller marketing agencies have created a proper marketing planning system to use with their clients.
Many will have a method of applying time to tasks, but not that many will actually have a proper planning tool to ensure that what they are doing is strategically considered.
At Growth by Design we never start work with a client without first teaching them our unique Common 10 marketing model. You can get a quick insight on this powerful system here.
What you’ll have noticed is that marketing involves a lot more than just the buzzwords of ‘social media marketing’ or ‘paid search’ would suggest.
4. They apply some personality
Occasionally, a business customer can find that their marketing support is a bit clinical. Whilst it may well be technically correct e.g. an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy applied to website content, it also detracts from the humanity of the company.
It reduces the messaging to words more than meaning, and can surgically remove any empathy or relationship building elements.
When that happens, it can mean that your website gets found more, but then fails to convert visitors to enquiries. On paper it looks good. Ranking position and traffic are up, but orders are the same or lower.
This is where personality comes into marketing. Ultimately, people buy from people, and getting that human message across is still important.
So be sure to choose a marketing agency that can balance the technical side of things with the human side. This is pretty crucial for any content marketing that you actually expect an audience to engage with!
5. They make a clear promise on the future experience with them
In marketing there are no wise guarantees. This may come as a surprise as we often see guarantees touted about “getting to number one on Google” or “20 quality leads each month”.
The reality is that no marketer worth their salt would ever make such a promise right at the outset. It’s simply not within their control to do so. They don’t control enough factors to make such a promise.
Seeking a marketing agency that makes promises around the process they will apply to develop your results in an iterative way would be a safer bet.
We recommend looking for marketing companies that have solid referencing from recent clients. This should be in the form of attributable testimony and ratings, by which I mean you can see who has provided the reference, and when. This is more valuable than self-promoted digital PR.
It’s also worth checking the service level agreements to confirm what is, and is not included.
Personally, I like to see a strong customer statement.
A set of values that are laid out and published clearly. If they are willing to say it publicly, and it is backed up by reliable client testimony, then there is a good chance that you will also get what you’d hoped for.
In principle, it’s a case of checking that what they promised others was delivered upon or exceeded.
Are you looking for a digital marketing agency in the UK with all the boxes ticked?
As you may well expect, this blog has been written to match the ethics and beliefs that we hold dear at Growth by Design. The items listed are what we would look for ourselves when selecting a supplier, and ones that we have worked hard to match in our own client services.
If you are in the market for professional marketing support, and want to discuss your needs with us, we’d be delighted to speak with you. Our award winning marketing agency based in Wivelsfield, East Sussex has a full team ready and willing to help.