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3 questions you need to ask yourself before outsourcing your marketing

Thinking of outsourcing your b2b marketing activities or brand work? Good for you. It’s great to get an outside view sometimes – so this is an exciting step, one full of the promise of accelerated growth and everything else a fresh pair of eyes can bring to your business.

But it is also a process that carries some risk. Going down the wrong path here can result in wasted budget and an awful lot of frustration for both client and agency. So, if you want to get the best results from your outsourced partnership, you’ll need to address 3 key areas before you put out your brief:

Question 1: What do we want to achieve?

Question 2: What sort of help do we need?

Question 3: How do we decide who’s best for the job?

Take a look at the questions below to help you collect your thoughts and gather your organisation’s needs into a tidy bundle, ready to find love with the right agency partner.

Question 1: What do we want to achieve?

First step is to identify the goals your organization is trying to meet.

A great way to do this is to visualize what you’d like your company to look like when you’ve been working with the agency for 12 months. Now work back from this to draft the deliverables you’d expect the agency to have achieved at the end of that year.

Make sure your goals are SMART – specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely) and remember that they can include quantitative and qualitative deliverables, e.g.

  • Have untangled the various product brands, and supplied a clear position, vision and voice for each.
  • Have achieved 40 new business meetings, which will translate into 5+ sales by December.

Question 2: What sort of help do we need?

When you start to look, you’ll see that there is a dazzling array of agency types to choose from, spanning from pure brand consultancies to full service agencies, to social media, digital or content specialists. You’ll also need to decide whether you need a full-service agency, or whether you can supplement a specialist agency’s offering with some in-house nouse.

So how do you know what set-up suits you best?

To answer this question, look back at your 12-month list of deliverables. Now make a list of all of the services you think you can manage in-house, and the ones you believe you’ll need to outsource.

Question 3: How do we decide who’s best for the job?

Now you’ve got your goals and needs nailed, it’s time to research agencies and invite responses. Do some research to get some preliminary insight by calling, searching the web and asking for recommendations. Then determine a shortlist of 3 -5 agencies that you think might fit the bill.

Here are some thought-starters to help you compile your shortlist:

  1. Skill base and services – do they tick the boxes?
  2. Quality of previous work (case studies and awards)
  3. Relevant experience in your industry
  4. Recommendations, or prior experience with the agency
  5. Culture fit – do they seem like people you could work with? Are they interested (we mean super-interested) in working with you?

Once you’ve identified your shortlist, you can start the pitching process. This is something we’ll talk about further down the track, but in the meantime the communications council has some great resources to help you plan the process. Good luck and have fun!

If you'd like to keep your marketing in-house, download The quick-start guide to inbound marketing for technology companies today!

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Brand chemistry is a b2b marketing agency focused on delivering quality leads and measurable results for our clients. Take a look at our client case studies to find out more.

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