By Elyn Buscani, Business Development, Account Manager
Hey marketers, we see you. We know that you’ve been overworked and stressed for too long, especially if you’re working in healthcare or hospitality marketing. And, although digital technology and automation are taking over more marketing functions, it has likely increased your workload. In a recent survey, 39% of International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) research respondents noted that fragmented audiences and the speed of change require new skills and ways of working, and an additional 15% of respondents noted the constant change in communications technology and channels.
As Rasor’s business development lead, I call on marketers and purchasing agents facing big decisions, often with hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake. No matter your budget, it’s important to make the best use of your budget, and, more importantly, your valuable time. When you’re ready to bring in outside help, here are guidelines that will help you find a marketing firm that is a good fit.
- Take the time to get to know potential partners – Who are their clients and how long are their relationships? How long have staff members worked for the firm? What are they really good at? Don’t be afraid to ask random questions like “What would the name of your debut album be?” It can help spark conversation and provide surprising insights. (Note: At Rasor, potential candidates have to pass a rigorous writing and editing test before they even get the chance to interview.)
- Identify what you need and be available for questions – It’s really helpful to have a written scope of work and formal request for proposal. However, even with the most well-written RFP, responses to questions can be even more illuminating. You can even share your RFP for input from a few potential partners before it’s released.
- How much management do you want to provide? – If you want to have a partner who can take direction and run with it, you will want a team with strong project management and a range of experience. A freelancer will likely need more support to complete the larger or more complex projects. Either approach may be appropriate depending upon your goals.
- Fast, good, or cheap (pick two) – The right partner brings value to your business and won’t be afraid of having frank conversations in pursuit of the best results. In addition, if you have a timing deadline or a very limited budget, please include those details in conversations with potential agencies.
- Measure twice, cut once – The best decisions increasingly rely on good data, so it’s important to have a partner who measures and uses that information to continually refine and improve outcomes. Again, you could ask a creative question to gauge their analytical skills such as “How many cups of coffee did your staff drink last month?”
The right agency partner wants you and your organization to succeed. They’re already trying to attract your attention through their marketing and social media. So, identify a test project and start conversations with them.