How to Select a Franchise Marketing Agency
Finding and hiring a marketing agency can sometimes feel like herculean task. Everyone claims they are the best, have a proven track-record for results, no cookie-cutter approach, etc. So how do you weed through the endless sea of “expert agencies” to determine which is the right one for you? If you are in the market for a new agency, here are a few things to keep in mind as you engage in this sometimes arduous process:
Make sure they have experience with franchise businesses. This tip can be a double-edge sword, as you want an agency that understands the franchise aspect of your business, but not one that applies a one-size-fits-all approach. After all, every business is different. That being said, ask probing questions about the agency’s experience and approach to ensure that it truly understands your business and your franchising goals, and offers strategic insight that feels unique to your company.
BUT, make sure their roster extends beyond franchise. While it is important to work with an agency that understands the franchise business, it can be limiting to work with an agency that ONLY works with franchises. Working with an agency that has varied experience can be useful in a few ways. First, they are adept at learning new industries and exploring new tactics instead of employing the same ones over and over again. In doing this, they have the experience under their belt without your business having to serve as the guinea pig. Second, more generalist agencies are typically faster learners. This can prove useful if you need to get an agency ramped up and started ASAP. Lastly, because their business isn’t pigeonholed into a single industry, they are able to ask thoughtful questions and offer unique insight into your business compared to an agency that swims in the same pond every day.
Make sure their skill set is both wide and deep, knowing how quickly marketing changes. Marketing changes as frequently as the weather, so it’s important to pick an agency that is nimble and can reverse a strategy at a moment’s notice if a campaign is tanking or if a major business change calls for a new tactic or approach. Pick an agency that not only offers a solid scope of work, but has vast experience that can offer your business flexibility, as well as savvy strategic advice when needed. To help determine if an agency possesses these skills, ask for sample case studies to examine their approach. Is it a lot of the same or do they appear to have the ability to employ a wide range of tactics to achieve varying goals?
Make sure you're not just one of a thousand clients. You may think it is impressive that a single agency works with so many franchise clients, and you may be the next! But many times, these agencies can overextend themselves by having too many clients. This can leave them with less time to devote to your business and more time recycling tactics for efficiency. Instead, opt for an agency that focuses on building relationships in addition to building your business. If an agency takes the time to meet with you and demonstrates they’ve done their research and presents custom, thoughtful recommendations, then they may be a wiser choice than the largest, agency where your business would be a small fish in a big pond. Opt to be the big fish in a small pond with an agency that has time to devote and consider your business.
Make sure they've got chops - Google certification is not enough; are they an actual Google partner? Sadly, anyone can go online and take a test and claim certification and slap a logo on their website, but is that enough? In this crazy, competitive digital age, push for more verification when interviewing agencies and don’t fall trap to baseless claims that anyone can make. After all, there is no certification police! But, if you are looking for an experienced and Google-verified agency or Facebook partner, make sure they are actually designated as such. This is important as agencies that are partners have direct contact with reps, and therefore have access to cutting-edge developments and technology that can benefit clients. And this is not something that you receive from taking an online test. So, don’t fall prey to false claims!
Choosing an agency can feel like dating. You’re looking for the one. The one that won’t waste your time, doesn’t fudge the truth and can make you eternally happy (at least for a decent amount of time). So be picky and ask tough questions about what an agency can and will do for your franchise business, not what they’ve done for a million other ones.
One recommendation is Baltimore-based MGH – a full-service marketing agency that supports clients inside and outside of the franchise world and is both a Facebook and Google partner agency. So the next time you’re in need of a qualified agency with extensive franchise marketing experience, check them out.
A trusted marketing partner with experience in multi-location or franchise restaurants can help bridge the gap as well. For more information, reach out to MGH’s CEO, Andy Malis at 410-902-5012 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit mghus.com.
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