If you're a brand seeking some assistance with your marketing, you might want to turn to a professional or external marketing agency. When meeting with a marketing agency for the first time, the agency's goal will be to help build a roadmap for your brand. The agency will want to learn the ins and outs of your business and what you want to achieve. This is why you must prepare.
Preparing for your initial marketing meeting will help the marketing agency understand your brand and what it's all about. Preparing will also save more time and money as you ensure you and your agency are on the same page from the get-go. When you take the right steps to prepare, your agency will be able to get started on your new marketing strategy ASAP.
To adequately prepare, you should have various materials and ideas ready to present to your agency. It's best to have plenty of documents or assets that accurately reflect your brand, offerings, and audience. For startups, some of these might be part of the reason you're coming to a marketing professional, so you may also want to bring some ideas.
What is an onboarding process for marketing agencies and what does it look like? Here we'll discuss some of the many items you can prepare for your next meeting.
As you get ready for your first marketing meeting with your agency, there are plenty of items you can prepare beforehand. These will help communicate your wants and needs to professionals and put your business on the right track.
It's important to know how your brand voice and tone should sound. Different brands will use different messaging strategies, including how they communicate to their unique audiences. For instance, some B2B brands might use a more formal tone to connect with audiences, while B2C brands marketing directly to the consumer might use a more conversational tone. Regardless of your brand’s style, it needs to be consistent across all marketing materials and channels, which is why written guidelines are critical.
Even if you're not entirely sure how to set guidelines in this area, you do understand your industry and market well. Your agency can then work with you to identify the right voice and tone and establish guidelines for both your agency and your business.
Another important item to prepare is your brand archetype. This is a type of persona that embodies your brand. Depending on your business, there are multiple archetypes that can describe it. The goal of the archetype is to connect the brand to its audience by appealing to a particular set of personality traits.
For example, the archetype of The Innocent tends to focus on trust and happiness as an optimistic persona. Meanwhile, The Outlaw attempts to rebel against the norm and become an industry mover and shaker. The persona you choose for your brand should align with your industry and your target market, which can help with updating marketing strategy messaging and content.
When hiring a marketing agency, you should also gather a list of keywords that you want your brand and offerings to rank for on your website. Keep in mind that the competition level for keywords will depend on both the broadness of the terms you choose and the popularity of your industry.
For example, if you're trying to target "commercial packaging" as a packaging manufacturer, you will face stiff competition from many leading competitors. Instead, you might want to target "commercial packaging" for specific types of businesses, such as "commercial packaging for retailers." This would also account for your audience.
Conversely, if you're in a relatively low-competition niche, you may have an easier time ranking for those broader short-tail keywords.
You can perform a search for some popular terms in your industry and give some ideas. Even if it's hard to rank for some keywords, your agency may be able to help you target those with effective search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) strategies. Your agency should also be able to help you identify various keywords with high volume and low to medium competition that are often easier to target.
To complement your brand archetype, you should build unique buyer personas for each segment of your target audience. Consider the fact that different segments of your audience will have different wants and needs. They'll have varying lifestyles, pain points, and other factors that influence their interaction with your brand and offerings. You can understand these requirements by developing customer personas.
Your customer persona will serve as a hypothetical person to whom you're trying to market. For example, one buyer persona might be Startup Steve, who is trying to get a startup off the ground with cost-effective, scalable, yet reliable offerings. Another could include Professional Patricia, who is a busy professional seeking a solution that will help save them more time and energy.
You'll be able to craft a narrative for each persona based on specific demographics and psychographics. Demographics may include their age, occupation, income levels, and other similar factors. Meanwhile, psychographics would look at certain behavioral factors, including their aspirations and attitudes.
In-depth customer personas would be able to give your external marketing agency a clear idea of your target audience and individual segments.
To get you started on your buyer personas, you can take the following steps:
Your marketing agency may not be entirely familiar with the types of products or services you offer. To ensure your agency understands your offerings well, take the time to create an overview. This overview should discuss the summary of the types of products and services you offer and what they do for your customers. You should also disclose the different categories of offerings and the specific items in each.
Discussing all offerings in an overview will make it clear what you're selling, which can lead to a plan for how to sell your products and services. Your agency can then dive deeper into these offerings to fully comprehend them and your specific industry.
There are some steps you can take to put together a comprehensive overview, including:
When hiring a B2B marketing agency, these professionals will also want to complete a competitive analysis to better grasp your industry. What your competitors are doing can say a lot about what works and what doesn't when it comes to marketing. While you should never directly mimic and copy your competitors, you can take some cues from them to guide your marketing.
When preparing for your marketing meeting, build a list of some of your top competitors and their websites. Your agency can then look closer at these competitors and their platforms to gauge their strategies. Your agency can identify keywords they're targeting, how new and existing customers are engaging them on social media, and other elements that can influence your marketing strategy.
Additionally, your agency can determine what your competitors aren't doing that you can do. For instance, your competitors might neglect a specific audience segment that can bring some value to your business. In this case, professionals can help you attract this segment through marketing that makes you stand out. Your competitors may also fail to address a specific pain point that you can touch upon to appeal to those struggling with a particular issue. Other differentiators that may give you a competitive edge include:
In short, there are plenty of ways for your brand to stand apart from competitors. The key to identifying these opportunities is to know your competitors well.
You may already have some content developed, including webpages, blog posts, videos, social media posts, and more. Look at your analytics in a content audit to find out which content is performing the best and present it to your marketing agency. Based on the data you collect, such as page visits, session duration, conversion rates, social media shares, and other metrics, you can figure out which content is helping you reach your goals.
Your marketing agency may then be able to determine what type of content your audience is most interested in. Using this data, the agency could continue to develop and optimize similar content. Eventually, you'll have a complete content marketing strategy that consistently performs at its best. Your agency may also help you discover new content ideas and formats that yield even better results.
If you want to analyze your existing content to gauge performance, you can do so using a combination of Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Both of these tools enable you to easily gain insight into your content's traction and engagement among audiences. You can also go by the number of leads or customers certain types of content have helped convert.
What works for one company's marketing strategy won't necessarily work for another. If you find an agency offering any kind of one-size-fits-all solution, they're not going to truly help you based on your unique needs. Instead, professionals should be able to help you identify specifically what your marketing strategy needs to succeed.
Depending on what your business requires, there are many potential elements to consider in the ideal marketing strategy, such as:
There are many areas to cover in a successful marketing strategy, but each strategy will vary. An agency can help determine which areas need more work and attention, which will enable you to get the most from your marketing budget.
You may already have some documentation that can give a marketing agency some guidance. These documents may include the current marketing channel strategies that you're using. Additionally, you might have some visual assets in a brand guide or another resource that can establish consistency. Visual assets could help with cohesiveness when it comes to brand colors, logos, preferred typeface, and other elements. This documentation could serve as the basis for any future marketing work.
All of these items are important to prepare for an initial meeting with your marketing agency. At Steel Croissant, we use these to create a personalized marketing strategy for each of our clients. We've found that it helps when the client and marketer are immediately aligned, as this ensures we start developing the right strategy the first time. Our team will work closely with you to determine your every need when it comes to marketing. We'll also work to understand your brand and the offerings you want to promote. Based on these, we'll also take the time to learn as much as possible about your audience and the competition you face. In the process, we hope to serve as your long-term marketing partner.
Contact us today if you would like to learn more about what we can do for you and get started on your next project.
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