Essential steps for managing an outsourced marketing agency

Are you currently partnering with an outsourced marketing agency or thinking of bringing in a new agency?

Hiring an external company to handle your marketing needs can be a great choice if you find the right match—and in many cases, the pros outweigh the cons.

But hiring any organization that you plan on working within the long-term is an adjustment that will likely come with a few challenges, even in the best-case scenario.

Here are some best-practice steps for managing an outsourced marketing agency.

If you need help finding the best agency near you, I’d be happy to help you with your search.

1. Discuss Your Organization’s Core Values

Your company likely has a clear mission and values which can influence everything from operations to company culture.

Discussing these when you are first hiring an outsourced marketing agency is crucial. There’s less chance of friction or conflict when you partner with other organizations with a similar approach and vision.

This means you’ll be more likely to move forward with a sense of trust and loyalty, which leads to more opportunities for a win-win relationship.

Before you make the final decision to hire an outsourced marketing agency, consider conducting a thorough search for a group that not only has the skills and background you need but a similar approach to business.

And remember, this isn’t just about business goals in the strict sense of the word; it’s about making the whole collaboration easier and maybe even fun.

This is true no matter what type of organization you are running.

Consider hiring a professional marketing consultant to help you source your best-fit marketing agency.

2. Be Clear (But Realistic) With Expectations from the Start

To get the most value out of a marketing agency, you need to build a great relationship from the start, which means establishing clear and realistic expectations about roles, goals, timelines, budgets, and priorities is important to your success.

Understand, too, that some level of disagreement is only natural when you’re working with a new team or organization. You can even discuss how you will manage conflict from the start as well—for instance you can tackle topics like:

  • What to do if there is negative feedback on a project
  • Who to contact to make major decisions if the key lead is unavailable
  • How you will give and receive feedback
  • Your ideal meeting schedule
  • Your ideal communication channels
  • How you would like to receive updates
  • What types of reports you’d like to be seeing
  • How projects are approved
  • Who will be approving projects
  • How the agency works to move forward with your success
  • Who oversees and manages the budget

Having everything laid out upfront can help you avoid potentially disastrous miscommunications down the line and make more space for creative collaboration.

In the beginning, you’ll likely be putting a lot of energy and work into this new relationship.

Still, if the foundation is there from the start, the agency should need minimal communication as the relationship moves forwards.

Just make sure everyone is on board with your preferences and your organizational and operational needs as early as possible.

3. Stay Open to New Ideas

If you run your own company, you likely have some pretty set standards about how you want the organization to be run, which is only fair.

However, a successful relationship with an outsourced marketing agency will require some level of letting go — that is, you need to be able to let them take over and do what they do best.

Now, this doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind or just going with any old agency; you can proceed with caution and communication, thereby building trust over time.

But you also need to be open to other types of ideas, concepts, and projects which may involve something other than your standard business processes. This is what paves the way to innovation.

4. Keep All Important Documents in a Central Location

When signing on with a new outsourced marketing agency, both sides will undoubtedly have a pile of documents to work through. Choosing a few key documents that everyone has access to refer back to if things start to feel blurry is essential.

For instance, a monthly brief for social media kept in a shared Google Doc is a great way to ensure all writers and designers are on the same page for social and blogging strategy.

Your key documents should outline:

  • Key metrics
  • Key goals
  • Benchmarks
  • Budget goals
  • Cautionary notes such as copyrights

Keep everything together with your contract and plan to renegotiate the contract regularly as well

Having some central guidelines will help to streamline processes and keep everyone on the same page

5. Establish Preferred Communication Patterns

Miscommunications can lead to problematic disagreements and projects not completed the way you want or expect.

Ensure that your key communication point of contact understands the how, where, and when regarding priorities.

There will be a lot of back and forth, so make sure there is one person to coordinate or be a backup for the rest of the team.

Choose one person on each side who can keep everyone updated on progress, but be sure not to “dump” too much work on someone in charge of coordination.

At this time, you’ll also want to establish who are the most relevant stakeholders on the project and make sure teams on all sides are aware of key personnel.

Just like with any other professional relationship, making sure communication patterns are efficient keeps both productivity and morale high with your outsourced marketing agency

6. Establish Clear Roles and Goals

When everyone knows who is responsible and has a set of clear goals to meet, they are much more likely to work well together.

Find a team member who can handle most higher-level decision-making and act as a point of contact when existing decision-makers aren’t available. This is important if the outsourced marketing agency has projects they need approved on the fly or close to the deadline.

Goals should be clearly defined based on metrics and link back to the company’s mission and

Establish a handful of key KPIs to focus on when you first develop your contract with an outsourced marketing agency

7. Appreciate the Fresh Perspective

Your company may have chosen to work with an outsourced marketing agency to bring in new ideas and perspectives.

This is an opportunity to work with marketing professionals who truly have your organization’s best interests at heart. To that end, you must be willing to let go of control and stay open to new ideas instead of doing what you might be tempted to do…which is micromanaging.

Establishing a healthy feedback and dialogue process can help each phase of the project move forward.

Let go of control, focus on common goals, and enjoy the collaboration. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will likely bring your business some big success.

Find an Outsourced Marketing Agency

If you’re struggling to find a brand new or replacement marketing agency to help grow your business, I can help.

I offer marketing agency search and performance management services to organizations looking to partner with great marketing agencies.

Contact me for more information!

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