Your marketing strategy is vital to your company’s success. So vital, in fact, that it can feel impossible to delegate. But there comes a time when leaders must choose, develop, and unleash a team to execute the plan without constant involvement.
The good news is that marketing ROI can be baked into your plan. To do that, you must find and invest in the right agency.
Establish what you want to get out of the partnership
Before scoping agencies, decide now what path you’ll take to reach “ROI,” a famously tricky target. You can easily fumble this foundational phase by setting goals that are fuzzy or philosophical, hard to measure, out of reach, or ill-timed.
Know what sabotages marketing partnerships
Your overarching goal is simple. In fact, we’re handing it to you: you want a synergistic partnership. Don’t settle for just another vendor. Revenue is the byproduct of an electric, proactive agency collaboration.
To find that fit, beware of commoditized services and how those hurt the relationship.
Agencies that offer these subpar services are often:
- • Generalists. They’re not limited in expertise to one area. They don’t focus on core strengths or industries.
- • Least expensive. These shops usually promise the lowest cost and highest quality (simultaneously and unconditionally). That’s a red flag.
- • Unable to define or specify “quality.” When pushed, they may revert to buzzwords or cliches instead of specifics.
- • Unprepared to show or describe QA (“quality assurance”) processes.
- • Neglect to vet their own clients. They claim they serve all customers. They may assure you that you (and all other brands) are a good fit.
- • Lack innovation. They can’t point to a recent creative risk that worked out. They struggle to show what differentiates their service from others.
Yes, you will encounter shops like these in your search. So, early on, endeavor to find someone who specializes but who’s also holistic-minded. Determine that you’ll find a team that can integrate their niche offerings into your other marketing activities, as well as your overall business strategy.
Decide which marketing skills and strengths to hire for
At Ignite Spot, we’ve always advised business leaders to hire talent that brings new strengths to your business. Your marketing team can’t be everywhere your customer is. That’s where an agency can help. Here are some of the most common specialties you may want to target in a partnership.
Paid search. This is also known as pay-per-click or “PPC.” Google claims that for every $1 you spend on their Ads platform (formerly called AdWords), you’ll average an $8 profit. On the other hand, some users say “Google ROI sucks,” and “Adwords sucks!” These complaints are often prompted by Google’s seemingly arbitrary penalties and bans, limited targeting, cannibalization, and low-quality traffic. Seasoned PPC teams help you navigate these unfamiliar rules and squeeze the biggest return out of your paid search investment.
Search engine optimized content (SEO). A 2020 survey of business bloggers revealed that SEO is the most important traffic source for their website.
Source: Orbit Media Studios
Social media. Social channels provide a unique blend of paid and earned exposure. Brands — and their spicy personalities on social — have become a thing in recent years. Yet, marketers still cite ROI as their #1 social media marketing challenge:
Source: Sprout Social Index
Traditional media. Radio, print, outdoor, and TV ads are making a comeback. People still read magazines, and Gen Z is leading a resurgence in print media consumption. Savvy brands aren’t ignoring analog marketing. During the pandemic, for example, Audible ran a nostalgic TV and radio spot encouraging consumers to “get away” with their product. Wyndham Hotels is going a step further by acquiring Travel & Leisure Magazine. And Zoho took to the skies above a competitor’s conference in a creative, gutsy stunt to promote their own solution. Remember, traditional doesn’t have to mean predictable.
Source: Zoho via Twitter
Email marketing. Over three-quarters of people say they prefer email marketing over interrupt ads from channels like social. Why? Because unlike with popup ads, they’re in control of their consumption. Other benefits of email include personalization, data collection and analysis, and yes, higher ROI.
Experts at the Direct Marketing Association say that email’s ROI averages 122%, quadruple that of social or PPC.
Content marketing. This is an area where we at Ignite Spot excel. We produce blog posts, videos, webinars, and a branded community group just for our most elite audience members. Many business owners believe that content marketing is text-based and/or digital only. It’s not. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s definition, content marketing includes in-person events and audio content like podcasts, too. It works hand-in-hand with all other marketing tactics. Sadly, though, 39% of businesses that do content marketing don’t measure ROI.
Web design. Often, your website is your customer’s first impression of your brand. If it’s structured properly, your site’s design improves its rankings in search engine results. Experts at WebFX have found that investing in website visitors’ user experience yields a 9,900% return on investment.
Determining specific objectives early on like this helps narrow down the dizzying array of agency options available.