How to find the best marketing agency for your business

Even after more than 30 years in the marketing industry and working with hundreds of clients from around the world, there’s still one question I can almost guarantee every prospective client will ask us: “How do I know Media Relations is the best marketing agency for my business?”  The short answer is, we’re the best at what we do. But it’s essential for both sides to ask questions to determine if working together makes sense.

We have many successful agency/client collaborations that have endured for decades. I’ve considered what makes those relationships work so well and came up with nine questions you should ask before hiring a marketing agency.

    1. How long have you been in business? An agency with proven longevity is more likely to be there for you in the long run. Also ask about staff tenure. There are many advantages to using experienced professionals who act as a well-functioning team. Another benefit of longevity is the agency’s contacts. We started building our proprietary media contact list more than 30 years ago. We’ve found it’s more accurate and extensive than the commercially available lists other agencies may use.  
    2. Have you delivered measurable results for similar products and services? Having strategic marketing professionals already familiar with your industry – especially its terminology and current marketing environment – is a valuable shortcut to success. I estimate that Media Relations has run marketing campaigns in at least 50 to 60 industries. When we acquire new clients in a familiar industry, it’s like giving a new Formula 1 car to a seasoned racing team. They can’t wait to prove what they can do!   
    3. What are the qualifications of the people who will be assigned to my account? The strongest strategists will have work histories in marketing and/or the news media. Having former journalists on our staff streamlines conversations with the media. And everyone in our office (even our accountant!) must demonstrate competence in basic marketing concepts and principles.
    4. Do you follow a process to ensure your deliverables are on point? Processes bring order and clarity to an otherwise chaotic, fast-moving work environment. As a client, you deserve to know what to expect. Media Relations has been ISO-compliant for decades. More recently, our marketing processes have been explained in the best-selling book, “The CEO’s Guide to Marketing.” We even gave our process a name: Strategically Aimed Marketing, or SAM 6® for short.
    5. What are the unique benefits of working with your agency? What does this agency offer that you may not find elsewhere? For example, we pioneered the performance-based PR model, Pay Per Interview® which means clients pay only for results. We also offer Media Grade Content®, which would pass a journalistic litmus test.   
    6. What is your fee structure? Establish that up front. Will you have a monthly retainer bill, even if nothing is delivered?   
    7. What credentials and/or awards have you earned? While not essential, these speak to the integrity and caliber of the agency. What is its Better Business Bureau rating? Are the digital team members Google Analytics and Ads certified? How can the agency demonstrate that it has earned the respect of the business community?
    8. Is my marketing budget sufficient to do everything I want to accomplish? The right agency will spend time with you discussing and prioritizing your goals and their deliverables before you sign a contract. They may also suggest working with you to build your campaign in stages.
    9. Will I need to go elsewhere for some services? From media stories to social media campaigns and website design, marketing is multi-faceted. Working with just one agency helps ensure consistency in your messaging and task execution. They become like a familiar extension of your internal marketing team.

Bottom line: Your marketing budget is precious to your business. You should get something in return for every dollar spent.

Asking the right questions will help ensure that you have found the best marketing agency for your business. We would feel privileged if you include us in your search. Because we are performance-based, we’ll always be up front with you on whether we believe we can deliver your desired results. Let’s talk. Call us at 952-697-5269 or complete our contact form.

Written by Robin Kocina

Robin Kocina is a proven marketing industry leader who has been instrumental in growing Media Relations Agency, a top performance-based PR agency, from its inception in 1987 to its current status as a successful integrated marketing agency with international clientele and multi-million dollar revenues. As President, Kocina now concentrates her efforts on the agency’s direction and fiscal growth, as well as new business development in the company’s Minnesota and Florida offices. Kocina’s financial acumen is evidenced by her recognition as a Top Women in Finance Circle of Excellence (Finance & Commerce, 2013) as well as Top Women in Finance (Finance & Commerce, 2010). A highly regarded community leader, Kocina believes strongly in sharing her marketing and leadership skills through community service. She served as chairman of the board for Depart Smart. She also serves on the Leadership Board for the National Federation of Independent Business, and actively involved with the Women’s Presidents Organization. She is a past board member and Chairman of the Board for WomenVenture. Robin is the recipient of numerous honors for her leadership and community involvement: Inductee into the Women Business Owners Hall of Fame (2018); Exceptional Businesswoman Award (2016); Volunteer of the Year (Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, 2010); 25 Women to Watch (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 2008); Upsize Lifeline Award (Upsize Magazine, 2008); Standing Ovation Award (Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, 2006) and Luminary Award (National Association of Women Business Owners, Minnesota Chapter, 2005).

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