If you’re considering partnering with an agency to help you grow in these challenging times, assessing their thinking must be high on your list.

Here are five key areas to assess when selecting a new agency that can make a difference to your business. 

  1. Actions, not just insights: Technology is essential to organise, manage, and report on data. A wealth of tools are available for companies to buy to help them make sense of their data and package it up in attractive reports. But these technologies are designed to assist thinking, not replace it. After all, insights not connected to meaningful, impactful actions have little worth. Make sure your agency adds value by applying analytical expertise to interpret the data and feed it back in the form of clear recommendations that support your decision making and make commercial sense.
  2. Multichannel must mean multichannel. Just because digital dominates marketing thinking, it’s not the be-all or end-all. Focus must be built around those channels your customers use and offline remains critical. True multichannel thinking must embrace all media and not be biased toward certain ones. Ensure the agency is set up to be channel neutral, so strategies reflect the real world, not a distorted view.
  3. Strategy, not just tactics. While tactics play a role, all too often, agency thinking obsesses around these. But business drivers are strategic. It’s strategy that makes the difference, justifies your investment in the agency, and helps elevate the value of marketing in your business. So make sure the agency can deliver where it matters.
  4. Ensure senior experts work on your business, not just the pitch: When assessing an agency, you often meet experienced leaders who give the best impression but then never work with you. Always meet in advance with the team supporting you to ensure they have the skills and know how to deliver what you need. If it’s strategic marketing and deep analytical expertise you’re expecting, having experienced senior support as part of the team behind you is a must.
  5. It’s people that make the difference:  Are you looking to invest in a partnership that offers up new perspectives, challenges your current business thinking, evolves how you operate and ultimately drives commercial outcomes? All this requires people with proven client-side experience in delivering marketing that grows businesses. People that can influence and work at the board level.It’s the quality of the people that determines the quality of the thinking, advice, and outputs you get. And quality thinking is the biggest asset an agency has: this is where competitive advantage is gained. As Henry Ford said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” Ensure the agency has individuals with the credibility, knowledge, maturity, and gravitas to gain internal respect quickly and, through the quality of their thinking, deliver outputs that will make a difference.

Really take the time to understand what an agency can deliver for your business before deciding who’s best for you. And remember, while factors like technology can be bought by any company, it’s the thinking and the calibre of people behind it that can’t be replicated and where value lies. 

If you’re seeking to bring certainty to your marketing during these uncertain times, get in touch with us at [email protected], and we’ll be happy to chat with you.