While we don’t like to consider ourselves an “agency” that is largely the market void that we interact within. Organizations often are finding themselves seriously unhappy with their agencies and public relations firms because they do not clearly define the partnership. Our experience with our partners has been largely positive. We’ve been active for a little over two years with over twenty-six happy clients. Most of our business in now repeat business because we seek to set measurable expectations and execute on our given projects with efficiency.
We have had several occasions where organizations ultimately passed on engaging with us and later returned after a bad experience with another agency. Tales of these experiences provoked a question: What are these agencies doing wrong and how can we avoid making these mistakes ourselves?
A big factor for some was a lack of creative focus. Some agencies prioritize graphics above all, and the showcasing of that creative work quickly lures organizations in the door, but they forget their actionable needs - being able to effectively communicate sophisticated product value propositions to relevant audiences.
An agency that may be amazing at graphic design might not know anything about the space you’re working in, which is often the case. You need a content partner that not only has relevant experience in speaking to your target audiences but has taken the time to create extensive internal knowledge libraries about the relevant products, the market, and the professionals you’re attempting to sell to. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being stuck in a retainer with an agency that complete over-pitched you while they quickly scurry to research exactly what it is you do on the fly.
When it comes to B2B software products, many agencies have a learning curve of wading through summaries of first result management consulting level jargon being pumped out of research firms and the big four and others is not comparable to consistently and actively monitoring regulatory changes, relevant governing bodies, regulatory trajectory, and understanding regulatory global actions to macro-level and micro-level events.
Most software companies don’t only need a creative agency, they need an on-demand think tank that is able to turn all this data into actionable sales and marketing strategies.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet on questions to probe a content partner you’re considering:
· Do you have experience in xyz space?
· What is a project in xyz space that had measurable impact?
· Can you name a few relevant trends that are occurring?
· Who or what is driving these trends?
· What do you think our target audiences are looking for?
· Are there any current conflicts?
· Can you provide a reference of a firm that would. re-engage you?
If the agency in question can provide adequate answers along this template, then examine the pitch and the process. Good content partners are hard to find so you need to roadmap how that business relationship will look like. Are they responsive? Do they have a plan for both the near and the long term? Is the strategy strong enough to provide direction but loose enough to adjust? Do these people have personality? Do they care? All these questions are important factors to consider.