Here are 10 things to consider when evaluating your marketing outsourcing partner:
1. Their strategic process is thoughtful and backed by research
Without a road map, any road will do. Strategic planning saves time, reduces costs and focuses energy. If the marketing outsourcing company you are talking with is offering a free or low-cost planning session or pre-packaged off-the-shelf marketing, be very wary. If they are doing drive-by planning, they will likely put the same effort into execution.
2. It’s a collaborative relationship with open lines of communication.
“Alright stop, collaborate and listen.” Vanilla Ice had some sound advice. Your marketing outsourcing company should be a collaborative partner who feels like an extension of your organization and not just another vendor. You’re in constant communication and feel like they really understand your goals and pain points. If there’s a problem, yo, they’ll solve it.
3. Your business is growing.
And people are really talking. Your KPIs are moving in the right direction, and damn, being strategic with your marketing really works.
4. Their ideas are a little out there.
Wait. What? Take a deep breath, your outsourced marketing firm has your back. Their ideas may be a little unconventional but amid information overload, you gotta do things a little different if you want to break through.
5. They save you time.
You are for reals getting to focus on your core competencies. You no longer have to worry about managing a dozen different vendors and invoices or struggle to remember what you learned in Marketing 101 (what exactly did the “four Ps” stand for?). You now have time to focus on your strengths, and that’s HUGE.
6. They take care of everything.
It’s not marketing outsourcing if they only take care of one or a few pieces of your marketing. You shouldn’t have to find, hire, manage, and pay other partners, and pull it all together yourself — it should be seamlessly integrated. You deserve one partner, one point of contact, one invoice, and one margarita on Friday after work. Okay, more than one is fine.
7. They admit mistakes (doh!).
We’re all human and mistakes can happen. A good marketing partner will own up to it and quickly and proactively provide a plan to move forward. More importantly, they’ll extract value from what happened, and use what they’ve learned next time.
8. They can be buttheads.
Okay, maybe not buttheads. Diplomatic buttheads? Call it what you want, but they stir the pot, push back, and make you feel a little out of your comfort zone. What exactly are you paying for if your outsourced marketing firm always agrees with you? (Hint: NADA.) If they use Make My Logo Bigger Cream and agree that “Experience the difference” is a fantastic headline idea – run! Run far away!
9. You review results on a regular basis and adapt your marketing.
A good outsourced marketing firm keeps the momentum going with regularly scheduled check-ins. They review your plan, analyze results against goals, and adapt. This should be a part of their DNA.
10. Your marketing should make you smile.
You shouldn’t lay awake at night worrying about your marketing—marketing is supposed to be the fun part of growing your organization. Your outsourced marketing partner should be a blast to work with, and you should be psyched to show your team what you’ve been working on. Like, crackabottleofchampagnedothehappydancecantwaittoshowmyteam-psyched.
After all, it’s fun to be good.