Preparing to outsource marketing
Updated: Aug 23, 2021
When you know you need marketing support, the worst thing you can do is go to an agency without a clear idea of what it is you want them to do. The biggest challenge we experience when speaking to prospects is the lack of clarity for what they want to achieve and why.
Results are central to any investment, and when you're clear with what you want to achieve marketing agencies can better provide creative and communications solutions to help you get there.
If you're not careful, agencies can also take you down paths you don't need to go down. But you should also be able to rest on your agency for expert counsel, they should be advising you on the best approach to your marketing to ensure you reach those goals.
Remember - marketing efforts are not guaranteed to reach your desired results. What works for one product or company may not work for another, a big part of marketing is testing, iterating and optimising. By having a clear goal, you can see what activities, tactics, channels or campaigns enable you to get that bit closer.
For when you're engaging an agency to outsource, really make sure you prepare yourself with the following:
Create SMART Objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound:
Goals - What do you want to achieve, What result do you want to see? What makes the project a success? This is key as it will impact the direction of the brief, scope and budget. Some metrics maybe
More database/newsletter subscribers
Higher value SQLs
Backlinks or company mentions
Building a library of content
Timeline - When does this need to be delivered? Having a clear idea of when you need to make these achievements will help for more informed resource planning. You need to be realistic and consider feedback and potential delays due to holidays, sickness or potential barriers. You also need to consider the timeliness of a campaign:
When do you need to start to see the results vs when you need to reach the goal
Have you factored in preparation, is there setup that needs to be done first
Do you have other deadlines you need to factor in
Have you considered how other suppliers/ third-parties may need to be part of the project
If working with customers or partners, could there be delays?
Brief - What do you need? Know what action you want to take to achieve your goal, whether it’s running a channel specific campaign or producing specific content. You may not know at first, so take time to speak to agencies and consultants about what they recommend, but when it comes to defining the project - make sure this is written down. Some things to consider
Who is the audience?
What are the key messages?
What action do you want them to take?
Is this a one-off or a regular occurring activity?
Scope - What will it involve? What needs to be covered? What needs to be included? What needs to be done? Make sure you cover all bases to get a complete project that speaks to the relevant stakeholders/audience. It's important you cover the key aspects you want to see in the project, these can include:
The extent of your responsibilities and your agencies
What tasks you expect them to include without additional charges
What the agency needs to factor in as part of the project
Budget - How much can you invest? Consider both resources for production and expenditure with third parties, and be prepared to ask questions on costs. Always a difficult question, but how can you get a proposal without the agency knowing your investment? You need to understand what part is service and deliverables and what is external costs, things you need to consider are:
Additional services to complete the project
Timeline of the project
Complexity of the requirement
Advertising or media placement costs
Materials required to fulfill the scope.
You may not know how to go about this, take the time to have conversations with marketing agencies and consultants, get to know them and how they go about their products, and pricing, and what support they can provide to your budgets, but also your timelines.
Remember - an agency is an outsourced team, so you need to feel you can go to them and talk openly about the work they are doing for you. You also have to remember that agencies don't have unlimited resources, you are paying them fo their expertise, specialism, knowledge and there will be limits to their delivery.
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