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There are many ways to answer this question. Most obviously, we would say that we can make it easy for you. Choose Brand Tackle! However, it’s really not that simple. Not every company is the perfect fit for us, nor are we the perfect fit for every company.
Choosing the right marketing partner is an important decision, so we’ll offer the following guidance:
1. Understand and be prepared to articulate the reason for choosing an agency.
Do you have a marketing project in mind? Are you looking for a full-service advertising agency to handle all of your marketing activities? Do you simply need supplemental creative support? Have you identified a current set of projects or needs? Are you ready to re-brand? Are you releasing a current agency of record? Do you have a budget? Are you launching a new product? Before you start calling advertising agencies, or marketing firms, you should have an idea of what you’re looking for – or at least a general direction or scope of needs. That way, when you talk to several agencies (and you should), you’ll be able to ask for proposals that you can review.
2. How many advertising agencies, or marketing firms, should I plan to interview?
You should probably talk to at least three, but no more than five. Most agencies are excited to talk to potential clients, and should do so for no charge, but it’s not fair to the agency (or you) to spend more time than necessary for a reasonable search. Many agencies spend hours preparing new business proposals, in addition to meeting time, and you should be respectful of that time. Do your homework first and only include agencies who have a real shot at your business. And unless you’re a public company, or government agency, try not to send out a cattle call RFP – unless you are required by law or shareholders.
3. How do I find agencies to include in my search?
You should start by talking to peers, friends and other marketers in your community. Nothing beats an actual referral. However, you should also include a web search to round out the candidates. Some of the terms you should use, include, but are not limited to: Houston marketing firm, Houston advertising agency, Houston branding firm, Houston creative firm, Houston web design, etc. Obviously if you’re not in Houston, you should consider your city name in the search, but we’re assuming the majority of people reading this are in Houston or the surrounding area.
4. How long does the agency search process take?
It really depends on your specific needs. If you have a quick project and a real deadline, you may not have the benefit of going through a long agency search/review process. However, if you are rebranding or have a long-term goal of establishing a real marketing partnership, you really shouldn’t rush into anything. Generally speaking, it will take about a week or so to set up meetings and another week for proposals – then your review process is up to you. Conservatively you should expect the process to take about three weeks to a month. That’s not to say that we (and others) haven’t received a call on a Monday and delivered creative the same week. If you are planning on doing project work, it doesn’t hurt to test the waters on a well-defined project and make your decision after it is complete.
5. Do I have to sign a contract once I’ve chosen an agency?
It’s a good idea to formalize the agency/client relationship with a contract or a detailed proposal/agreement that outlines the scope of work with cost estimates. This will protect you and the agency. At Brand Tackle, we believe that surprises are for opening Christmas presents, not for invoices. We are extremely flexible with our agency/client agreements. Our philosophy is to build long-term partnerships based on quality work and fair compensation – creating value every time we deliver a project. We want our clients to be happy with our services and keep coming back for more. Life is too short to work with people that you don’t enjoy working with and/or trust.
6. Is it better to build in a monthly retainer or estimates for project work?
It’s up to you and what works best for your organization. If you do choose a retainer (with or without Brand Tackle), you should be very specific about what’s delivered. At Brand Tackle, we rarely engage in monthly retainers. We prefer to outline specific projects with agreed-upon cost estimates, deliver those projects and provide specific value for each task. However, if you are more comfortable with a retainer, we’ll be glad to explore it.
7. When do I know if it’s the right time to search for a new agency?
If you’re reading this section of our website, you have your answer.