Hiring an agency in 2021 is crucial to support your brand’s future, so let’s empower you with some value going into these conversations. Entering into the world of Digital Marketing Agencies, the spectrum of nuance and what feels like a thick fog of confusion rings true. There are two reasons this is the case outside of some agencies making up confusing non-universal names for advertising tactics. First we see that what the owners expect they should be able to get from an agency and what the agency delivers are off. If both aren’t on the same page, it’s easy to hire the wrong partner and lose trust within your organization. Find an agency that can be your guide to help you navigate these nuances. 

The biggest fear of a business owner is not only spending more than they need to on marketing but that it also doesn’t drive the business forward. All business owners have wasted more than they care to admit on marketing efforts that delivered lack-luster results so being on the same page is step one. What results can we expect to see and how over what period of time?

Before we dive into the other questions you should ask your potential agency partner, here’s an interesting observation, typically the best clients for an agency within your brand are less likely to reach out early on. It’s the businesses that are good but maybe haven’t walked into greatness, the top 1/2 of your locations. They’ve been around a long time, they have brand recognition and they are making money. Comfort in the present-tense and the fear of wasting marketing dollars yet again hold this owner back from picking up the phone and being your next record breaker. 

On the other side of the spectrum, by observation, the clients that are attracted to a conversation with a new agency partner are the ones that need more help than marketing can offer. Store cleanliness, customer service, employee morale, and not following the franchise proven process can hurt new initiatives. Get buy-in from your franchisees that can benefit from great marketing and have the funds to do so so that you can build off that success. Let’s be honest, every franchise system has the loud opinionated under performer. Let’s be strategic in who we launch these early campaigns with so we can build long-term systemic change.

So now that the table is set, let’s dive in. 

When interviewing potential agency partners, start with these questions.

Based on your experience, is our required local marketing spend enough to be effective in a systemic change to our local marketing initiative?

All too often, brands desire to change to a more local approach with their marketing however they sometimes fail to let go of the national, regional, and co-op marketing structures. This limits the agency’s ability to unleash world-class local marketing as the dollars are spread thin. 

Tell me about a partnership that you are proud of at the franchisor level? At the franchisee level?

Tell me about a situation where the partnership with you and your client didn’t work out? Why was that the outcome? How do we make sure that doesn’t happen to us?

What can I expect in communication from your team both at the corporate level and the franchisee level?

Are your technicians dedicated experts on each platform or do you have people working on multiple platforms or is it all automated? Who drives the marketing, the franchisee, the corporate initiative or the agency partner?

Do you strategize unique product offerings for each location or do you have a set plan you typically use?

Do you have contracts?

Who owns the data, the agency or the owner?

For this to work, what are the franchisees responsible for? How can the corporate office be of better assistance to this initiative?

Are our website and social media standards conducive to your marketing efforts or do changes need to be considered?

What’s missing for us to be aligned on our content strategy?

Digital marketing is tracked, how do you communicate the results?

These questions will help guide the conversation as you dive further into the world of getting local with your advertising. Knowing the answers to these questions from potential agencies that you would partner with, can make sure that your needs match the agencies ability. This is the key that helps unlock a long lasting partnership that benefits all.