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A Needle In a Haystack - Things to Consider When Hiring an Agency

There are currently more than 25,000 marketing agencies in the UK. Finding the right one can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Our Content Manager, Sam Stanhope, explores the key points to look for when appointing a new agency.

GO! Insights

Sam Stanhoe
Content Manager, The GO! Network

There are currently more than 25,000 marketing agencies in the UK - to put that into context, that’s 68.49 agencies for every day of the year. It also takes (on average) 350 hours to find and appoint one. To put that into context, 350 hours is more or less exactly the same amount of time it would take to watch all 8 seasons of Game of Thrones five times over. That’s a lot of hours. But when it concerns the performance of your business, you want to make sure that you chose exactly the right agency for your requirements. 


So how do you cut through the noise and find your perfect partner? Here are some hints and tips for how to make the agency search process as pain-free as possible.


Things to consider when looking at a new agency appointment


Consider your ethos and personality


Obviously, an agencies’ performance and credentials are an important factor when deciding on hiring them. But just as important is picking an agency that match your own values and personalities. Picking up the phone or jumping on a video call for casual chats is a great way to know if your goals and ethos are aligned, and which agencies you will feel comfortable working with.


Lesniak Swann, in our “Mutual Success” series, says that “the best client-agency relationships are typically built around the people, as much as they are around the creativity and ability to deliver campaigns.” 


Understand your actual business goals before taking them to an agency


Agencies are usually specialised to reach specific audiences and achieve goals tailored to your business and customer base. It’s important to know your business’s needs and find an agency whose area of expertise will really drive results for you. 


Are you a B2B company looking to expand into B2C? Do you need to increase brand awareness or improve organic search rankings? For example, when online physio equipment and fitness store Meglio were looking to improve growth through digital channels with a focus on PPC, Velstar (appointed through The GO! Network) helped double web sales in just over a year. Due to the success of the relationship, Meglio also tasked Velstar with creating a new site and tech stack alongside SEO and paid social. 


Make the brief you’re sending out to agencies is clear and concise


Briefs are a tricky beast, but the more information you give about solving your business challenge means the easier it will be to find an agency to solve them. 

“The creative brief is a unifying document that identifies the key benefits of a campaign, project or launch and helps tell the story of why a product or service is important to the audience.” – Russell Oakley, CEO of GO!


Here at GO!, we regularly coach brands through the briefing process on everything from digital performance and social media campaigns to SEO and web & app development.


If you want more guidance on writing your brief, you can down our interactive guide here.


Look for agencies that are invested in you from the get-go 


First impressions are important. When dealing with your agencies, keep in mind of those that are prompt at responding to your enquiry with a personalised answer, and the ones who take longer to respond and with a pre-made template. Agencies whose communications remain constant and enthusiastic means that they have a genuine interest in your company and will be dedicated to helping your brand.


Check out their online presence


If they can’t market themselves, how the hell they gonna’ market somebody else, can I get an Amen? (couldn’t resist a RuPaul reference.) It seems like an obvious thing to say, but go and check out their website, their LinkedIn, their social media and so on. Part of an agency’s job is to sell you, so they should be very good at selling themselves. 


There are many ways that a marketing agency can market themselves. Client testimonials are often one of the first things that you should be looking at when choosing an agency partner. Case studies allow you to investigate the specifics of an agencies work and present a picture of a company’s ability to solve a variety of issues similar to your own.


Other things to look out for are industry awards, PR, thought leadership pieces and event attendance (talking of events, see which events our Partners are hosting in the coming weeks.) 


Let GO! run the process for you


You could run the agency search yourself, or you could sit back and watch all ten seasons of Friends four times over while GO! does the work for you. As we said before, the agency market is saturated if you’re not familiar with it, you could be in for a long and drawn-out search process. Here at GO!, we know the agency market inside and out, so we’re always ready to qualify agencies that meet your criteria.


The GO! team’s understanding of the market has been built through years of speaking with agency leaders and managing the pitch process for brands across all marketing disciplines and industries. Though we often use this expertise to run agency searches, it also allows us to advise on all aspects of your agency relationships, from budget to performance. We’re always available to share best in-class examples, give you industry benchmarks, or get you in the room with your peers to exchange ideas.


Are you looking for an agency partner or just want to know more? Get in touch here and one of our team will be more than happy to help.

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