If you’re anything like the b2b companies we’ve been talking to lately, I bet your business – or the market you operate in – has undergone some pretty seismic changes over the last year or so (must be something in the water). Perhaps you have some new faces on the scene, maybe your buyer persona has changed: with any luck you’re also realising the opportunities that lie in other markets and the digital and social space.
Your world is changing, there’s no doubt that we all need to know how to choose the right marketing agency: but how can you be sure your current agency is helping to drive you forward and not holding you back? Here are 5 signs it might be time to start looking around - along with a few good reasons NOT to go changing your agency.
1. Old answers to new questions
As your market and the challenges and opportunities surrounding it change, it’s natural - and wise - to ring the changes and try something new. If your agency is resisting change, wanting to keep things the same, or coming up with old solutions to new problems, then maybe it’s time to start looking further afield.
Sure, the rapidly changing nature of today’s media means that no-one can claim to be an expert anymore - at least not for more than a week or so - but still, you can expect your agency to be leading the charge and sitting comfortably abreast in the digital world.
2. Consistently-off-the-mark solution
We’re not talking about the occasional slip-up or disappointment here: everyone is entitled to a bad day. We’re talking about strategic and creative solutions that are consistently out-of-kilter with your brand, your position in in the market, your business objectives or your target audience. This could indicate that while your business is charging ahead, your agency is still at the start line tying its laces.
3. A lack of interest in business objectives
If your agency is only concerned about the results of their latest campaign, you’re probably not getting full strategic value from them. Chances are you’ll get better return from an agency that sees the bigger picture and has a firm grasp of your business objectives from the outset.
4. b2c solutions for your b2b business
Most b2b marketers would agree that b2b businesses need specific b2b solutions. If your agency is regularly coming up with b2c solutions (perhaps with a wafer-thin veneer of b2b-ness over the top), chances are it’s not going to be working for you – or your customers.
5. No longer bringing in the returns
Maybe you’ve seen media and production costs go up, without taking your response rates along for the ride. Perhaps you’re simply getting an inkling that there might be smarter, more effective ways to get more for your money. If either of these sound familiar, chances are your agency is just recycling the same old strategies, without considering whether they’re still relevant to your market, or taking advantage of the digital opportunities available to them.
Whoa, cowboy! Reasons not to say goodbye.
Of course there are lots of bad reasons to ditch your agency too: Whether it’s a new CMO or marketing manager just wanting to make their mark, or disappointment because a new agency hasn’t hit the ground running quite as fast as you’d hoped, or just general, unspecified dissatisfaction, remember that a client – agency relationship is just that: a relationship, needing patience, humour and the occasional ‘date night’ to keep things running smoothly. But if after all this, your client-agency relationship still hasn’t got its mojo back, maybe it’s time to start exploring the alternatives.
Want to know how to choose the right agency? Download our 7-step checklist to choosing the right inbound agency and get it right the first time.