If you are in marketing buying services you’re likely to have faced this problem several times. How do you select the right agency for your project? Should I chose the one that gave me the least cost or should I go with the one that made the best presentation? Or should I go with the one that seems to have the infrastructure to do my project?
Selecting the right marketing service provider for your project can often be a frustrating process. This is compounded by the fact that with the pressure of budgetary squeezes, often the final decision would rest on marketing procurement rather than with the operating manager. Which is why in 9 times out of 10, clients tend to go with the least cost option as the sole way to selecting a service provider for their marketing projects.
Fortunately, this need not be the case. While cost is a very important consideration because we all like to stretch our budget, it need not be the most primary one. Let’s look at how you could get the best service provider to work for you
- Declare your budget :
One simple way to remove cost as the primary decider is to set your internal budget and communicate it to all the service providers. This ensures that agencies or service providers who are going to quote to you would typically quote around the budget leaving you to use other means to select who you are going to work with.
Almost all of us work with a budget in mind but we rarely tend to declare this openly to service providers in advance. The result, you get such a variance in your cost proposal that you are unable to compare the service providers in any decent manner.
Our advice: Declare a tentative budget. It will help you get better proposals as the service provider will not un-necessarily suggest marketing plans that increase your budgetary spends.
- Scope out your work
A one liner brief like “ I want to promote my brand on social media “ will either elicit a thorough intellectual whitepaper proposal filled with reams and reams of information or will give you a short 1-pager note from a bored business development executive. Most often than note, un-scoped out work will require several rounds of meeting before the agency is even aware of what your project requirements are. Waste of everyone’s time.
While it is difficult to write a detailed scope of work, it is fairly simple to simply jot down what your expectations from the project are. As a client or a buyer of marketing services, the reason you are imitating a project is to achieve something. As a service provider knowing what the client wants to achieve will initiate thinking into how best to achieve that within the given tentative budget.
Our Advice: Scope out your end results from the project and share it with your service providers
- Check out the firm
Large corporations go through a rigorous vendor empanelment process. They can afford it. And usually these processes are mostly documentations rather than any serious effort to determine the quality of the service provider.
How do you check out the credentials of the service providers who are pitching for your marketing project? While the website is great place to start with, we would like to put a cautionary caveat here. Don’t buy a book by its cover- read its contents.
Our advice: Ask your service provider to give you 3 names of clients they don’t work with anymore. Talk to them to understand the reason.
- Understand the thought behind their proposal
Most good agencies will spend time on your brief if they think it’s worth their while. Their proposals will look more thought through than someone who is simply putting in a proposal because you asked for it. Would you rather work with someone who wants your business and has thought about your business than with someone who really doesn’t care?
Our advice: Read the proposal carefully, don’t rush to see the last cost sheet.
Following the above 4 steps will ensure that you end up with the right marketing service provider for your business. As we always keep mentioning, marketing is an art form coupled with scientific analytics. You need to have the best marketing service provider working on your project if you want your project to succeed. Don’t settle for the second best.
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