Over the years, Clay Agency has been asked to present hundreds of new business pitches. Almost every RFP (Request for Presentation) we receive asks us to demonstrate our creative thinking first. We’ve learned that while showing our creative chops is critical to winning accounts, clients really need us to address their business problems.
If you are searching for a support agency to outsource integrated marketing to, it is even more important to look for strategic acumen first and creative second. Successful integrated marketing campaigns can reach multiple audiences on nearly unlimited platforms, so having a knowledgeable partner to help make tough decisions is just as important as tapping into creative ideas.
Here are some of the questions to ask potential support partners to learn how integrated their thinking is:
What do you see as our brand’s biggest challenge?
Ask any agency if they have experience in your industry, and they will always say yes (If their receptionist once worked at a business similar to yours, that counts, right?). Ask an agency for insight into current challenges in your industry, and they may be slower to respond. How well an agency understands what your business is up against matters. A lot. This question will also reveal how well they have researched your position in the market both online and off.
How do you approach content marketing?
If an agency doesn’t have the ability to produce strategic, search-engine optimized content to push out through social channels, they aren’t integrated thinkers. Content marketing is a no-pitch approach to connecting with your customer and winning their loyalty. Any integrated agency worth its salt should have a preferred approach and be able to articulate it. You can read more tips for choosing a Content Marketing support agency here.
How many full-time team members do you have on staff?
Even the largest companies are tired of paying a premium to oversized agencies to accomplish small tasks. Today’s integrated marketing support agencies are running much leaner by contracting with creative talent on an as-needed basis. This allows them to keep overhead and costs low. When an agency is able to scale up or down to meet your specific needs, they are also more likely to be competitively priced as well as agile.
Besides creative, what is your agency’s specialty?
Whether or not the answer to this question meets your needs is up to you. Some agencies will stress digital know-how, but will not be able to produce content. Others will be social savvy, but may not have created many successful integrated campaigns. This question will help you dig deeper to uncover where an agency’s strengths converge with your brand’s marketing needs.
If you ask these questions when choosing a creative agency (or agencies) for integrated marketing support, you can be sure you will get the integrated marketing support you need. Creative is the fun part, and the reason most agencies exist, but how well an outsourced agency knows your industry—and your company’s position in it—will have a much bigger impact on your bottom line.