Whether you are a large Illinois company or a small set up, there will come a time when you will have to make a decision to outsource some of your marketing work. As we all know, effective marketing is the life-blood of all businesses, possibly even more important than sales.

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Social Marketing in Illinois

Selecting the right marketing agency to work with you is likely one of the most important decision you have to make in the entire realm of marketing decisions. Your marketing agency is going to be working with you long term (there is no such thing as a “quick fix” where marketing is concerned!) and that relationship has strong bearings on your success.

There are many resources that you can turn to for advise on selecting the right marketing agency. But one thing is for sure, please do not, never, ever, don’t even think about – calling for a few quotes and awarding the job to the lowest bidder!

Most experts will agree that the marketing agency is likely to be the external party that will become most intimately acquainted with your business. Your marketing agency is almost an extension of you, they are your most valuable weapon. How should you then select one?

Several ways to approach this:

– Get a short list of good agencies either from recommendations or reports

– Ask for a portfolio to understand their past work

– Ask for a proposal and evaluate how to approach this first task

– Do a pitch

There are ways to understand how the marketing agency for your Illinois business charges. You need to understand their processes. I would like to suggest that these methods can be found in many places. But as an insider, I can also tell you that there is a single most important element in your selection of a marketing agency that will make all the other elements pale in comparison.

The whole secret lies in one simple word: PEOPLE

You need to know Who are the people on the team that is going to work for you. You need to understand What their skills and specialties are. You must know How they work, their processes and procedures. You have to know When they joined the agency.

Most important of all, you need to know if you like them. This might sound really silly in our modern, hard-nosed business world. But you should know, that talking with your marketing agency is likely the single activity you will do the most of. Talking to them about your vision. Talking to them about your new products, about your launch plans, about your competitors, about your ideas, about their ideas, about deadlines, about costs…. You will most likely TALK more to your marketing agency alone than all your other staff combined. Now, imagine spending all that time with someone you can’t stand the sight of.

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The second most important point of decision is TRUST. Some how, you need to build trust with your marketing agency. You are going to reveal a lot about your business to them. They need to know this in order to be effective partners in promoting it for you. You must trust them. They must trust you.

I believe that this two points are the most important in any client/agency relationship. You must like each other and you must trust each other. All other things can be worked out. Really.

Future posts, we will explore some of the more mundane methods of selecting the marketing agency. This will of course include a checklist, how to call a pitch and so on. In the meantime, this should stand you well. Get with someone you like, has a good reputation and is trustworthy.

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