What frustrated you the most about the last agency you worked with?
It was probably something they did or didn’t do, that you weren’t expecting. Something you wish you had known before agreeing to work together, and you won’t let it happen again. This next time around you will realize the importance of looking past the campaign pitch and digging into the parts of the agency that will impact your relationship with them the most.
So what type of questions will help you understand what kind of partner they are?
Below, we have a list of five must-ask questions for the next time you hire a PR agency.
1.Can I Meet The Team We Will Work With
It’s essential to understand the agencies culture and to do that; you have to meet the talent who will be working with you. The person sent in to close the deal could be very different from the individuals that will be helping everything come to life. You have to keep in mind that agencies will send in their best team to win new clients but you don’t want to fall in love with them to then find out you are working with a completely different team.
Make sure to ask if you can meet the individuals who will be responsible for working on your project. Use your time together to ensure you connect with them on the same level that you connect with the great work they are doing.
Take it a step further and ask to see the case studies from the team of people who will be working on your campaign. If the reason you are choosing that agency is for their previous work, then you need to work with the individuals who made it happen.
2.How Often Will We Have Meetings
Understanding their expectations for you from the beginning will make all the difference. Imagine picking an agency thinking your work is done and then all of a sudden daily phone calls and weekly in-person meeting requests show up on your calendar! Now you are more involved than ever and not to mention, and this was not the relationship you were looking for.
You can avoid this frustrating feeling by asking about their expectations of your involvement before you even get started.
- How often do you prefer to talk to your clients?
- What amount and type of decision making are left to the client?
- Who will be your main point of contact?
- And what is their preferred form of communication?
That way there will be no surprises and you know exactly what you will be getting into. You will understand if this agency is an over or under communicator and that is something you can work with!
3.Who Are Your Strategic Partners
Most agencies don’t do it all these days. There are social, PR, SEO, digital, content and a lot of other types of agencies that specialize in one thing. So if a service or type of technology is mentioned in the campaign they are pitching, that they don’t do, who will do this work?
Figure out if they already have a dedicated partner, processes, and policies in place when these things come up. And maybe an even better question is: What services do you provide?
That way you can identify what they offer in-house and what gaps they will have to fill. A good agency will be transparent and will not be afraid to list exactly what they do and where they turn to others for help.
4.What Do You Know About Our Industry
No matter what type of agency you are looking for you want to know they have had some experience in your field and maybe if they have worked with a competitor.
They probably won’t have the level of knowledge you do but you will be able to tell if they understand your industry enough to create a campaign that is not only good but relevant. You can phrase this question in another way by asking: What do you know about use that we might not already know?
The agency may not know more about your business than you do but they should be able to provide a new perspective to it. Often times working with someone who isn’t in the thick of it every day is what makes the campaign so good but you also want to ensure they have done their homework. What new insight can they bring to the table?
5.How Do You Plan To Measure Success
This is probably the most important question! With some of the billion dollars brands asking agencies for a pay-by-result agreement we can ensure you that agencies are focused on metrics, measurement, and ROI more than ever before. And if they can’t answer this question than that is a huge red flag!
Going into this endeavor you had a goal in mind of what you are expecting this agency to help you accomplish, so make that clear to them and find out how they plan to measure these goals.
Now, this isn’t saying you can’t be flexible with those goals. You could go into this and find out something totally new about your target audience that changes everything. Adjusting your goals so they factor that in is not a problem but not having any goals at all is.
Take it up a notch and ask the agency about their reporting practices. They should have a standard practice of monitoring all measurement and reporting that comes with it. The agency you work with should have reporting practices in place where the are communicating campaign updates, both good and bad to clients regularly, at least twice a month. These reports should include updates on goals, comments about what is going well and not so well, results from tests, changes in tactics and metrics. If the agency can talk about these things then this is a sign they are connected with their clients!
Wrap It Up
How an agency responds to these above questions will give you a better idea of the success you will have than the case studies they hand over during their pitch.
These five questions are something you should ask every agency. It’s easy to fall in love with an agency because of campaign promises but when it gets down to actually working together, building a partnership and impacting your brand that ones that will follow through are the ones who can answer these fives questions flawlessly.