One of the most relevant things I’ve learned as Write Connections’ Director of Growth & Operations Support is that when it comes to marketing, there’s always more to learn. And I don’t just mean more to learn about new trends and tools—I mean more to learn about our clients. What they need, what works, and what actually matters to them. 

More often than not, they know they need to market their business or organization, they just don’t have the capacity to do it themselves. So they contract firms like us. Which is great! We wouldn’t exist otherwise. But unfortunately, a lot of people don’t take the necessary time to vet potential marketing firms before hiring one and then end up in a partnership that just doesn’t work. 

To prevent that from happening to you, here’s a few things to think about when you start to shop around for your perfect marketing partner: 

1. Does Location Matter?

It’s true that most marketing agencies can market your organization from just about anywhere, but if your goal is to develop a targeted marketing strategy for a specific audience in a specific location, you might want to go with a local firm that’s familiar with the area in which you operate. But in just about any other situation, location is a matter of preference. At Write Connections, we have clients in nine states, which we think is pretty awesome. That said, we’re still a big proponent of in-person meetings (when they make sense). Not every meeting has to be in-person, but having coffee or lunch with clients every now and then makes a difference. Plus, with our local clients, we’re able to offer more services, like conducting focus groups and facilitating retreats. Essentially, it’s about knowing what you want from your marketing partner. Which brings me to my next point. 

2. Know What You Want

Like I said at the beginning, you might not yet know what you need in terms of marketing services. And that’s totally understandable—the menu is quite extensive. There’s social media management, email marketing, website design, brand development, Google ads, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads—all the ads—it can quickly get overwhelming. Our advice? Leave it to the experts (that’s us). If you tell us your concerns—maybe your website isn’t user-friendly, or your logo is outdated, or no one is liking your posts on Instagram—we’ll take it from there. More often than not, what organizations think they need in terms of marketing isn’t what they actually need. That said, if you really want to run a billboard campaign this spring, or you have this great idea you want to try on TikTok, we’re all ears. The most important thing in any professional partnership—or any partnership, for that matter—is communication.

Most marketing firms can do what you ask, but not every marketing firm is easy (or fun) to work with. So, when I say “know what you want,” I’m not just talking about the deliverables—I’m talking about the dynamic. Do you want a firm you can call on to brainstorm ideas? Do you want a firm you feel comfortable with, someone willing to listen to your opinions? Or do you want a firm who simply does what they’re asked? Any answer is fine. Just remember that when you choose a marketing firm, don’t just base your decision on what they do—base your decision on who they are and how they operate too.

3. Try It Out

When it comes down to it, you’re not truly going to know whether you’ve chosen the right marketing partner until you actually work with them. That’s why we recommend conducting a trial period. If the marketing firm in question isn’t open to the idea of a trial period, they’re probably not the one—to us, inflexibility in a marketing firm is a red flag. How do you conduct a trial period? First, you tell the firm that you’d like to work with them on a trial basis (maybe three months or so). Be sure to set clear goals and expectations before the trial period begins, and have a plan to review and reassess—both internally and with the marketing firm—when the trial period ends. This is the best way to get a feel for the firm’s communication style, their capabilities, and how best to collaborate with them going forward. And if it doesn’t end up working out, that’s okay! Finding the right fit is more important—for both of you.

A Shameless Plug (this is our blog, after all)

At Write Connections, we’re not just an extra set of hands—we’re a skilled and efficient thought partner who knows a thing or two about marketing. Yes, we can do your social media, and yes, we can rebuild your website. And if that’s all you need, we’re happy to help. But our bread and butter is helping build better organizations. Whether that’s through marketing, consulting, or a little bit of both, that’s what we’re here for. We help people grow their brand—internally and externally—and in so doing, grow their business.

Ready to grow with us? Let’s chat.