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Things to think about…when hiring an agency
According to Marketing Week, just 8% of brands are ‘very satisfied’ with their agency partners.
A crazy statistic when you consider how important the job is you’re asking them to perform. So whether you’re looking to consolidate your agency partners, replace them, add a specialist into the mix, or hiring for the first time, the following template is designed to ensure you’ve covered the basics…
- Decide what you need help with
- Calculate your commitment
- Ring fence your budget for the activity
- Make a shortlist
- Ask the right questions to determine the best fit
- Have confidence in your decision
- Protect yourself
- Double check the terms and conditions
- Kick off meeting
Decide what you need help with
Certain agencies are specialists in a particular field, such as PR, marketing communications, web development. Whereas others position themselves as full service, and therefore do a little bit of everything. Think about your needs today and in the future to determine whether your chosen agency can satisfy all those requirements, or if you’re happy to manage multiple agencies all in specialist fields.
Ask the right questions to determine the best fit
- Who would your account manager be?
- Who is actually doing the work?
- What does the process of working together look like (briefings, producing the creative, reviews)?
- How long will things take?
- Do they outsource to other agencies/freelancers/contractors? Or is everything done inhouse?
- What experience do they have in your sector?
- Can they share their best examples?
- What other clients do they work with?
- What does success look like to you? And how do you intend to measure performance?
- Does their working culture fit yours?
- Do you actually get on with the people you’ll be working with?
Have confidence in your decision
Eventually you’ll have to decide on the best agency to support your needs. But if you’re nervous about making a commitment, think about how to mitigate that risk…
- Ask for recommendations or to speak directly with the agency’s other clients.
- Depending on the work you’re outsourcing, you could engage them to do a test piece.
- Include a probationary period in the contract, so you can change your mind at any time within the first three months.
The first thing you’ll want the agency to sign is a ‘non-disclosure agreement (NDA)‘. This prevents them from sharing any information that you have provided to them.
You’ll also need a contract. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy document littered with legal jargon. It’s simply an expression of what you’re hiring the agency to do, the costs involved, and the timescales you’re working to. The agency will usually send this contract to you.
Double check the terms and conditions
Things to look out for…
- Additional fees: on top of the project/retainer fee, there can be other costs to cover setup fees, travel, purchasing data/images/video, software licenses.
- The term of the contract: some agencies work on a rolling month-by-month basis, whereas others will tie you in for a fixed-term. Also, look at whether your hour allocation rolls over, or if you have to use them up within the month.
- Copyright: make it clear who the copyright belongs to at the end of the project. This includes whether you’re happy for the agency to use your work to help promote itself.
Transferring source files: your agency should transfer all source files to you upon the project completion – not just the final item. If you wish to make amends in the future, you will need these original files.
Kick of meeting
Your new agency should welcome you with a kick off meeting. Here they learn more about you, your company, and your preferred way of working. You’ll start to talk through the requirements of your project in more detail so they can scope it out further. And set expectations for what success looks like. It’s usually a good idea to invite multiple stakeholders from your side to this meeting.
Getting started with Process Bliss – free template
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