Today is Black Friday – a day which until recently was largely irrelevant, but which now consists of ridiculous shopping deals and chaos in stores up and down the country. The tradition was imported from across the pond in the last few years and represents the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. With stores typically opening earlier than normal and offering special offers on multiple products, mayhem generally ensues. You may already have seen Black Friday marketing materials land in your email inbox as companies look to outdo their competitors and secure the largest amount of revenue on the day.
For those of you looking to outsource your B2B marketing activity, you may have found the marketing agency marketplace to be as equally chaotic as a Black Friday store. As agencies look to secure your custom, they’ll no doubt pepper you with marketing materials and ill-timed phone calls. But, choosing a B2B marketing partner doesn’t have to be as traumatic as trying to buy a TV in the Black Friday sales. And here’s why…
You’re in control
You know that it’s important to outsource some or all of your marketing activity in order to reduce the pressure on your in-house staff. However, this doesn’t mean you have to work with the first agency that you talk to. The fact is, you’re in control, you know your budget, and you know what you want to achieve. So, it’s more about letting the agencies prove that they’re good enough to work with you and who can generate the best results from your investment.
Know what you want
Before stepping into the B2B marketing agency marketplace, be sure you know what you want to achieve. Is it leads, sales appointments, ROI, social media growth? Only by knowing exactly what you want to get from the activity can you determine who will be the best agency to offer it. Don’t be swayed by organisations that are offering an increase in fluffy metrics such as email open rates. It’s not how many emails that are opened which will impact your business, it’s how many leads click through and go on to make a purchase from you.
Be aware that some agencies will be more adept at certain activities than others. For example, some agencies will have huge experience in generating the best results from social media, others from content, and others from telemarketing. There are some organisations that are capable of utilising multiple channels in a campaign, but first confirm that they are able to generate results across all the channels they use.
Look for previous results and awards
One way to separate the wheat from the chaff in regards to B2B marketing agencies, is by reviewing their previous results and accolades. When deciding on the agency to partner with, be sure to ask for case studies of their existing clients and, if possible, ask to speak to the clients directly. By analysing not just the results, but also the methods and channels used, you’ll be able to identify which agency is most suited to your needs.
In addition, be sure to always check out their trophy cabinet. If the agency has never won any awards, don’t consider it a bad thing, but if the agency has won many awards, then it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing.
Stay focused on ROI
So, you’ve seen and spoken to a variety of agencies and reviewed their previous activity, results, and clients. You understand their approaches, their expertise and you know they’ve got experience with other businesses similar to yours. But, what about the ROI? This is the most important factor above all else when it comes to B2B marketing. Number of leads, number of social media shares, email open rates, are all metrics that agencies can use to show how good they are, but if their activity doesn’t result in ROI, then it could all be for nothing. So when you’re out there in the B2B marketing agency marketplace and it seems like you’re caught up in Black Friday chaos, just remember that ROI is the true measure of success.
To see if the time is right to outsource some or all of your B2B marketing activity…