Fresh ideas. An objective perspective. Abundant experience, creativity, and skill all under one roof. There’s an extensive list of enticing reasons why an organization chooses to partner with a marketing agency.

It allows for opportunities to leverage tech and tools you may not otherwise have access to. And, it increases the likelihood that you can and will actually save money — improving both your ROI and topline revenue. Not to mention, there’s the opportunity to relieve pressure from your team — providing team members the chance to focus on what they do best and the areas where they add the most value.

Most organizations simply don’t have the capacity to effectively meet all of the demands. That’s where agency partnerships come in.

If you hire an agency but aren’t building a partnership, you aren’t making the most of your investment.

Even after 15 years in this business, I’m still surprised when I see organizations put an inordinate amount of time and energy into a faulty process for selecting an agency to work with. (But that is another blog.) They should be spending time or energy cultivating the relationship into a high-value partnership. Having a marketing vendor is not nearly as effective as having a marketing partner.

Not Sure if You Have a Vendor or a Partner?

Is your agency curious about the connectivity between marketing, sales and customer experience? Do they seek to understand your internal team’s strengths, challenges and barriers? Are they interested in your organizational structure and decision making? Are they asking you to talk about how to build on your past successes? Have they built a now/near/far strategy?

If they are asking questions like this, thank them! It’s for your mutual benefit. Then give some thought to the questions you are asking your agency. If your questions are generally about how fast they can turn something around, you are not getting the most or best out of your agency.

Consider shifting your approach.

Computer screen with "Digital Marketing" text displayed.

Try these for starters:

  1. How is your staffing strategy and/or team structure evolving to meet our growing marketing needs?
  2. What unique insights are you currently uncovering about our audience?
  3. What gaps are our competitors leaving in their messaging?
  4. How can our media placements disrupt our industry?
  5. What part of our current budget do you think we could better leverage?

Stepping back from the task-oriented details can feel uncomfortable. You may not even know what answer you hope to get. But, if you want to get the best out of your agency — if you really want the extensive benefits of hiring an agency — build a partnership. It starts with smart, high-value questions from both sides. Try it. I’d love to hear how your relationship evolves and how the subsequent marketing (and business) outcomes shift.