A manufacturer’s guide to picking the right industrial marketing agency
Finding a marketing agency for manufacturers
So you’ve made the difficult decision to pick an external marketing team to help your manufacturing company grow. But now what? Up next is what is perhaps the most difficult and nerve-racking chapter in the whole progression: picking the right marketing agency for manufacturers. Hiding a smirk are you? Giggles overcoming you? Those of you who haven’t been here before are likely mumbling something akin to “What’s the big deal, marketing agencies are a dime a dozen, just pick one and go” but those with experience know it’s no laughing matter; this step is feared for good reason.
If you get it wrong, you risk years of frittered budget, lessened ranks, diminished brand, reduced audiences, revenue drop off and withered market share, but perhaps worst of all, an even greater fear of marketing efforts. And being afraid of putting resources toward marketing can be a business killer. It’s a necessary, albeit dreaded, requirement of most SMB manufacturing and industrial service companies.
Let’s also lay out the upside of getting this new marketing agency connection right. That upside is growth, lots of it. Growth in terms of audiences, brand, sales and more. Getting the right industrial agency behind your back can result in highfives, promotions, growing budgets and a feather in your cap instead of a tumultuous lavaflow of cuts, layoffs and nightmare reporting.
Now if you haven’t guessed already, we’re here to help. We’ll be bringing brutal, insightful and occasionally self-serving honesty which we think will ultimately give you the proper handhold as you journey down the path of picking the best marketing agency for manufacturers. Let’s get on with it.
So who are you?
We’re talking the size, height, weight, hair color and the unusual birthmarks of your manufacturing operation. You need to understand this, what makes you – you, to make sure your agency match is good. Some agencies work well with aggressive, smart and successful and some work well with slow, meaningful and quality. If they’re mismatched, they fail big time. If you don’t understand this and control the interview and picking process, you could easily end up the latter. Because, from the agency’s perspective, if your money is green, they’ll take you on as many campaign dates as you’ll pay them for, regardless of the outcome.
Figuring out the you.
What do you need?
Full marketing guidance could be an answer here. This looks like someone or some agency interviewing you and your company, assessing your market and your competition and finding out where you fit, where the market is going, and how to align you with the direction of your market and set you ahead of it.
Specialized or partial direction. Maybe you’ve got a decent grasp on the problems you face, you understand your market and its direction well, and you understand what’s needed and where expertise in marketing is in short supply. You’re looking for an agency to provide guidance in a few specific areas and execute with precision and big results.
Finally, you might be looking for highly specific work. Website design but nothing more or SEO improvement, tactics and reporting but that’s all. You’re looking for a focused agency with demonstrable results to provide pinpoint precision on one or more areas where you lack the internal capabilities, but after this – you’re able to run the show.
More likely, you fall somewhere in between these examples. That’s ok, but you want to know what you need and what you don’t need when you’re interviewing your prospective marketing agency for manufacturers.
What is your team like?
We’ve worked with many industrial clients and from experience, we can tell you, they are not always alike. Knowing your team and how they interact and move towards objectives is an important insight as you enlist your agency partner. Here’s a few broad examples or categories of manufacturing teams we’ve worked with. Many marketing agencies will thrive with some and fail big with others. If you can communicate your internal structure and processes well, it will go far in your potential for success.
Tight and efficient
This is an internal team for a manufacturer that has their act together. They’ve typically been at this for years or have a manager who is relentless in process definition and execution. Each individual has their role and they expect this role to be followed. Deadlines are set for a reason and met, milestones are set for a reason and met. This team thrives on execution and responsiveness and moves their initiative quickly and accurately.
The negative of this team is its potential to put execution and completion of tasks at a much higher level than actual results and the ultimate success of the project. Successfully launching a new product line in record time is great – but if it fails to meet required sales in record time also – was it worth the agility demo to the detriment of the return?
A team who leans this way is better working with a marketing agency for manufacturers that can move fast and efficiently andh has the experience and size to know a good path when it’s in front of them and move efficiently forward. But, it’s important that this agency also has the courage to ask their manufacturing client to stop, come up for air, and assess their direction, goals and objectives. They must occasionally, when necessary, force the team to make sure the campaign is tracking correctly before proceeding. An agency that can do this will bring higher levels of success to their manufacturing clients who like to move fast, even if they’re required to uncomfortably pause on occasion through the evolution of their campaigns.
Slow and plodding
Many large manufacturers would be loosely placed in this category. The company is large, the teams are vast, many people need to have a voice in the ideation and feedback loops. Often times there are multiple projects occurring simultaneously within the same department exerting a split in focus, time and effort much more than it ideally should be. This has the unintended consequence of slowing down the job at hand.
If your team works this way, you’ll need an agency able to be simultaneously flexible and assertive. Planning needs to occur with an eye on variances that are unknown but expected while still producing a viable campaign at launch, even if that launch is delayed. A slow, plodding, often delayed manufacturing or industrial service company needs a marketing agency for manufacturers that is able to keep a project moving behind the scenes while waiting for team feedback, resources, and approvals. An industrial marketing agency that comes to a complete stop and remains frozen until their client comes back online is an agency that will regularly see projects drop, fail and miss their marks in terms of deadlines, returns and budget.
Chaotic but well meaning
Many manufacturing marketing departments are small, led by one person or half a person (someone wearing many hats). While the meaning and intent is present: to produce growth through marketing strategy applied intelligently, the execution is sorely missing. This leads to lackluster results, blown budgets, forgotten assets, missed deadlines and worse.
An industrial marketing agency that will work well with chaotic, frazzled marketing departments of SMB manufacturers and industrial sales is an agency that can bring calm to the crazy, guiding through experience and drawing a client forward to success. The right agency partner here can step in as much as an organizational force as they are a tactician of marketing brilliance. Oftentimes the client lead has great ideas and knowledge on the subject at hand – but needs support seizing and extracting the wisdom and methodically translating it into actionable steps. The right agency partner will give them the support and tools to do just this and follow with the production of a great plan. They’ll help run the tactical pieces, guide and manage the campaigns and make sure all elements are in place, executed and fully monitored and reported on to bring them win after win. This is a marketing agency that is more than strategy but also an industrial companion, great at communication, slow to become frustrated and smart in gaining results efficiently.
Experimental and hesitant
Many times a hesitancy is due to this being the manufacturing company or industrial service company’s first rodeo as it relates to a full-fledged marketing effort. The desire is there, the research has been done, but the spend is new and the idea of working with an external team on large decisions like these is unfamiliar. This tends to lead to constant pullback and a fight to do anything of real consequence. A fear of commitment or failure to truly launch might be characteristic of this SMB industrial company since they’ve always done everything internally and rocking the boat is, well, different. It’s not that they don’t think good results are possible, they just haven’t experienced it before.
This company will need an industrial marketing agency that is able to understand this perspective and work through it. An agency that handles this hesitancy by forcing big changes through arrogance and ear plugs is not the right partner for this company. The best industrial agency partner will bring ideas, demonstrate how these have been applied in similar situations previously with success, and propose common sense milestones and metrics to monitor for success and revisions. The right agency will bring this company into the loop in every step, allow them to see success as it unfolds and have an active voice in the process. Communication is big here – weekly, even daily updates are important to gain that trust. An industrial agency that has the experience in similar situations combined with a strong service and communication record is the proper match for this industrial service or manufacturing company.
Once bitten, twice shy
Here’s an unfortunate but understandable experience we’ve had with small and medium sized manufacturers. They’ve explored and driven marketing efforts internally or with small-level marketing contractors taking on a task at a time, always low risk, low return, and had mixed results. So in an effort to scale, they worked with a larger Industrial Marketing Agency who they believed would have all the answers. The budgets went way up, the involvement and communication went down, but they thought the fancy, skilled agency with all the self-proclaimed know-how knew what they were doing and would bring the rain.
Inevitably, the rain never comes, money and time are lost along with this company’s willingness to trust and try an industrial marketing agency again even though they know they need one. Either they hire their own internal marketing team and spend 3-4x what is needed or they hire another agency but fail to correct their previous mistakes when selection occurs.
The agency that’s truly right here is one who understands clients who have seen the smoke and mirrors before. The lights, the fancy proposals, the huge execution teams with impressive titles, the meetings with way more people than needed, and the ridiculously lackluster results for all that jazz. The right agency will focus on communication, core fundamentals, and a transition of results from small to large. This company needs to hear what’s happening, know why it’s happening, and see the proof of it working as regularly as seems reasonable. Size shouldn’t be a factor here: performance should. A larger agency might be the worst solution for this company as larger agencies tend to neglect smaller clients. Find a marketing agency for manufacturers that is small but experienced and in which you’ll be a big fish in a small pond rather than the opposite with a large agency.
Last but not least, let’s talk about the unsupported industrial marketing team, or often single individual tasked with making marketing “work” for the manufacturing company. We’ve seen this a few times, and it’s always a sad situation. By unsupported here’s what we mean: this small marketing team or individual usually has big expectations placed on them, lead growth of X% annually or revenue growth marks at ridiculous levels. But, they’re provided little support in terms of budget, resources, talent or all three.
The agency that best serves this industrial company is a very patient and creative agency. Truthfully, many agencies would turn up their nose at this situation. To be constantly planning and setting goals that are then undercut or shortchanged by resource starvation would drive many crazy. An agency that is given this notice at the start and has the ability to be creative, move pieces around, work with shortages and still drive a return is an agency partner like no other. The industrial marketing agency able to work with an unsupported manufacturing marketing team and bring success by helping them achieve the objectives they want will likely be small, nimble, experienced and have great communication and flexibility.
Looking for a Marketing Partner?
If you’re like other manufacturers, you’re looking for the right marketing partner to help you reach your goals. Consider reaching out to RedMoxy to schedule a review of your objectives and let us help light your path.
What are your expectations from your marketing agency for manufacturers?
If you’ve never worked with an industrial marketing agency before, or even if you have, you’ll want to understand how to relate your expectations correctly to your new marketing partner. If they’re on top of their game – they’ll be asking for this information from you, but if they’re not, you’re going to want to make sure your expectations are set at the beginning so no one can claim ignorance if things go off the track.
If you’ve developed a marketing plan, this should be well accounted for and easy to relay to the marketing agency. However, if you’re like many manufacturers, the timeline might be in a constant state of flux, and we get it. However, your agency partner should have clear timelines, milestones and due dates for deliverables set at the kickoff. This holds them accountable – but it also holds you and your team accountable and ensures everyone has known the whats and by-whens.
Kind of an important one. Many SMB industrials and manufacturers are tiptoeing into progress with a marketing agency for manufacturers so they’re new to establishing result expectations, they just know they want the budget and time they put into this relationship to come back ROI positive.
A good marketing agency should help define these expectations at project kickoff so you’ll know what to expect. However, think in terms of your key success metrics: how do you know the campaign was successful? Leads, Sales, Retained Customers, Click-throughs, Traffic Growth, Page Rank, Follower Growth, Industry Brand Awareness… the list can be long. You’ll need toknow what matters and create reasonable but positive metric indicators of certain numbers and at certain time points, as hat will show if the campaign is succeeding or if it needs revisions and improvements.
New Website Launch:
- Final website approval and launch by end of Q1/March 30th.
- Traffic at or exceeding 4,000 daily organic visits by end of Q3/Sept 30th.
- Traffic at or exceeding 12,000 daily organic visits by end of Q4/Dec 31st.
- New Customer +300 month over month compared to Q4 2022.
- Return customers +100 month over month compared to Q4 2022.
This is an overly broad, generic, and in some senses unlikely results list but it illustrates well the need for specific metric-based results where success or failure is defined statistically and time-based. Adjustments can always be made if results that begin filtering in show an obvious planning error.
The primary budget for any engagement is important and establishes a well documented and agreed upon understanding before relationships kickoff. However, what we’re really stressing as it relates to budget are the extra, unforeseen details that come up. If you’re running a PPC ad campaign on Google and having great results – can your industrial marketing agency extend the daily budget and go bigger Do they need your approval before doing so?
What about overages in time and materials? If your team requests certain changes from your marketing agency, do they have the authority to make changes and bill you extra without notifying you? Or does any and every extra hour or resource used outside scope – need to be emailed and approved?These may seem ticky tack but they will destroy an agency relationship faster than almost anything else.
Be upfront about what your agency can and cannot spend in terms of overages and be loud about what you expect them to seek approval on. Finally, if you’re going to be strict here – then follow up quickly when they seek these approvals and understand that the success of your campaigns often hangs on your ability to be quick and willing to flex from time to time.
Approvals and Review
Make sure you lay out your expectations on who your marketing agency is supposed to seek approval from and how often. Do you want to read, consider and approve each social media response, email message, keyword strategy update, and PPC ad tweak?
If you’re the type of team that likes to micromanage that’s ok, but be upfront about it. Requiring this level of control makes it necessary to be speedy about your responses to approvals requested. If you’re making your marketing agency wait 12-24 hours (or longer) for each response, you could force the sinking of your campaign from the start.
We’ve worked with manufacturers who’ve taken this approach initially, but once they saw they could trust us in budget, in the management of their brand and message, and in getting the results they expected, they loosened the reins significantly and improved their results even more.
The point here is ensuring that your marketing agency for manufacturers knows how to treat your brand. They are putting a vision of your company out for many to see, and you’ll want to make sure their vision of you harmonizes with your vision of you. This can be as simple as correctly stating your tagline, but it can get much more involved. Awareness of brand standards and requirements affect message, fonts, logos, colors, trademarks, photography, graphics, video and much more. If you’ve got a brand guide (a booklet explaining your company’s brand elements, usage details, and requirements) this can help tremendously. If you need one, contact an industrial agency like RedMoxy to help create one. If your agency does respectfully request changes or proposes an idea to take a different route or try new messaging, be open to their recommendations, if they’re good – they might be onto something worth listening to.
Task work vs Strategy
What we’re trying to explain here is a manufacturing company’s need or desire for a designer or developer or a content writer instead of an actual strategy team AND the designers, developers and content creators. Let me break it down, because there’s a big difference between the two directions in terms of deliverables and budget.
Task work. This would be the hiring of a designer, a developer or a marketing content writer to carry out the direction of your internal marketing lead be that a CMO, CEO, owner, marketing director or other. This assumes you have someone internal at your company setting that direction, creating the strategy, establishing the timeline and managing the campaigns and tactics as they need to play out for your industrial company. This option is far, far more affordable since you’re paying for individual talent, typically on an hourly basis, as you need it. They take your direction and execute it. But they typically don’t provide you strategy; they simply work towards the strategy that you are setting for them. So if the strategy is wrong, or you’re unsure of the proper direction for a campaign, you can’t blame these tactical, hourly workers for its success or failure. The blame comes right back to you.
Strategy work. This is what you’d consider a more typical marketing agency for manufacturers’ process. A manufacturing company or other industrial B2B company will recognize their need for marketing, or more likely recognize their need for growth in certain markets, all markets, or in launching a new product line. Whatever the marketing need, this company also recognizes that they need help not only in tactical task work such as design or writing, but more importantly, in identifying the strategy required to achieve their goals and managing the ins and outs of a successful marketing campaign. This need finds its solution in a good industrial marketing partner, an agency that can act as an experienced guide, willing to offer ideas, strategy, execution, management, reporting and all the deliverables needed to accomplish the objective. This marketing agency is also on the hook for the results so long as this was understood from the beginning. If the company isn’t happy with the results, this agency can be dropped and new strategies and partners can be secured. A final major difference here is, of course, the expense. While this agency is providing more services and far more deliverables, they’re also likely using a bigger staff, spending more hours and needing greater resources. You’re not paying for one contractor at a time, you’re paying for a team, so it’s going to cost more.
How involved do you want to be?
Maybe that doesn’t seem relevant straight away, or unimportant in the present, but if it’s not communicated it could be a problem. Ask yourself a few questions to understand how connected you’d like to be to the day-to-day tactical and decision making process. Do you want daily updates, daily emails and ever-present communication on what’s happening? Do you consider yourself a micromanager and would expect that level of control over any team, even if they’re an external or vendor team?
Or, on the other hand, do you expect this experience to be largely distant? You’re needed for high-level strategy approvals, you’re needed to review reports and accept deliverables, but the day-to-day is removed from your desk. That’s why you’re hiring an external industrial marketing team afterall – so you don’t need to worry about the daily work, right? Your expectation is that this industrial agency does what they do best, bring in the marketing results you’re after, and you’re not going to get in their way.
Which sounds more like you? Whichever way you lean, or even if it’s closer to the middle, it’s an important detail to communicate to the marketing agency you’d like to work with. If you’re a micromanager, make sure they’re up to that load of communication. If you’re on the other side, ensure that they can work independently, without constant approval and direction from you and make sure to understand what they absolutely expect from you in terms of communications. Ask for a meeting schedule and make sure to stay connected in some way.
Know your industry
Now this isn’t necessarily a question you need help figuring out. I’d assume most marketing directors understand their markets, niches, industries, competition and more to a fairly profound degree. What we’re really after here is a simple piece of advice: if you need it, find an industrial marketing agency that’s previously succeeded in your industry or something similar to your industry. We’re not saying that if you make paper plates you need to find an agency that’s brought the last 3 paper plate manufacturers into a global market – but we are saying it would be wise to talk with a marketing agency for manufacturers that’s worked with paper product manufacturers – an agency that’s familiar with their audiences, buyers, competitors, and other peculiar nuances that make that industry unique.
We’d also advise you to be smart about being this particular. Getting too specific about the marketing agency you work with will have you narrowed down to 1 or 2 even being an option, and then you’ll pay through the nose. There may be plenty of great marketing agencies that have related experience that are much better options and would love to bring you on as a client.
Finally, this really only needs to apply to strategy, planning and brand-related work. It doesn’t necessarily apply if you’re looking for any industrial marketing agency to run SEO campaigns or paid digital advertising. It might be nice, but those types of campaigns are much better in the hands of agencies who know how to bring results based on data analysis and SERP engineering. If that’s what you’re in need of, take SEO experience over market experience, but if you can get both in your agency, all the better.
Putting it together to find the right marketing agency for manufacturers
Let’s put together what we’ve learned earlier and add a few additional details in order to develop a sketch of the perfect marketing agency for manufacturers for your industrial company.
You need an industrial marketing agency who:
- Size – Big agencies have more resources, but you might be a small fish in a big pond and the service and attention you receive might, unfortunately, reflect that fact.
- Communication – Agencies who are less focused on communication are able to move faster towards objectives as they are less weighed down by the need to receive client feedback, approval and oversight of every action they take. With that, however, you are more at the whim of the direction, focus and results your agency can bring you. If they’re off, results suffer. It also may be painful to get their attention or have them hear your concerns. The opposite also applies, an industrial agency that needs an official approval of every last minute detail can be slow to produce results and waste time and budget focusing more on carefulness rather than conversions.
- Deliverables and Expectations – The number of deliverables, meetings, time and resources you require your industrial agency partner to provide in order to accomplish your goals, the more expensive and time consuming the results will be. For many initiatives an expensive and time consuming process is expected for a quality result. Rebuilding your primary, public-facing website along with identity refresh across all your collateral, for example, is worth doing right, and, in a situation like this, allow your agency the flexibility to do the job right. However, some objectives can be performed well, dare I say, even better, with fewer meetings and fewer deliverables, so resist requiring them or finding an agency that insists on them. A short-term, or seasonal ad campaign run to a specific audience or market, or an SEO campaign run to target a few keywords that have dropped below acceptable levels. Require solid reporting, updates and research, but after that, get out of the way of your expert team and let them work. Assuming their reports show good progress, letting them work will give you better results, quicker.
- Location – For many, this is not relevant. If you’re comfortable working remote, through Zoom or online meetings, then move swiftly towards your goals and hire the best marketing agency you find, but just make sure they are able to work entirely remote and have a comfortable process for doing this. If, however, you need regular face-to-face meetings or expectations of occasional on-location debriefs, strategy sessions, photo shoots or other needs, it’s obviously highly important you know your industrial marketing agency knows this. They don’t need to be local, but they will charge T&E, and that can get expensive if you need on-location meetings weekly for an out of town agency.
- Scalability – Many manufacturing companies we’ve worked with have started on small projects with us: an SEO initiative, content strategy or limited website updates, for example. But oftentimes, once they experienced our work and service, asked us for more and more, and for many we’ve become their primary, go-to marketing agency even though that wasn’t their intent at the start. While we toot our horn freely, it does bring up an important note that if you like the idea of expanding once you find a good marketing partner, make sure they’ve got the workforce and capacity to grow with you.
- Budget and Timeline – Be upfront about this. Some industrial marketing agencies will give you a solid estimate and stick to it, only going outside when it’s approved by you. Other agencies will give you a loose estimate, and then finalize 3 or 4x higher than that original estimate. If the price an agency quotes you is difficult to believe – ask them to break down the work in hours, resources, manpower and more. This should give you an idea if they’re running tight or overpriced.
- Niche – No, this isn’t a necessity, and at some points it’s even a detriment. However, if you have the ability to find an industrial marketing agency that has experience with other industrial companies like yourself, or within a similar niche, they might be worth checking out. Make sure they not only have experience in the right niche, but show success in that niche!
- Frankness and transparency – Push for this whenever possible. Again, some industrial marketing agencies are large and have a proven process that they stick to regardless of if you think it’s transparent or not. If you can tolerate that, and if they produce the results you’re after, then that decision is up to you. However, this isn’t typically the case. When a marketing agency fails to communicate well, is elusive with answers, continually shifts due dates without solid reasons, and provides foggy results and reports rather than straightforward ROI metrics that you’re after – you might have a problem. It’s better to avoid this in the first place by seeking references and asking tough questions of the agencies you’re considering for a partnership. How do they handle scope creep? How do they communicate when a resource is unavailable or a due date needs to change? What is their process when an expected result doesn’t happen? Being upfront about this at the outset will save time, money and everyone’s guesswork on inter-partnership relations.
Things to watch out for:
If you’ve gotten this far, chances are you’re somewhat serious about picking a new industrial marketing partner in the near future. Here’s a few additional pieces of advice as you finalize the process. A few pointers to keep an eye on and be vocal about throughout the procedure.
- Awards – it’s great and all that this agency has awards, but let’s be clear. Many of these “awards” are agency types awarding other agency types for their agency type work that impresses other agencies. This is often, by no means, based on any metrics that your business actually cares or should care about such as a growth in sales, leads, brand awareness or sentiment or the like. Be wary of agencies who throw their award shelf around as though it actually means anything to most SMB industrial businesses, because… it doesn’t.
- Niches and expertise – We’ve talked about the positive and negative of this. It’s great to have experience, and oftentimes, it’s preferred to have an agency that has worked with (and hopefully succeeded for) other companies with similarities to yours in market, industry, niche, etc. However, this shouldn’t be your main factor. Yes, the marketing agency should be experienced with industrial, but after they’re over that hump, if they’ve shown success and meet the other important factors such as budget, success, size, communication and more – consider them strongly. You don’t want to exclude great options who can deliver great results, just because they don’t have an exact match to your company in their portfolio. In fact, many might argue that an agency who remains too narrow in its focus is a long term negative to your potential creativity and ability to reach new audiences with fresh ideas and messages. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and when they’re in a rut that works “ok,” it’s hard to get them to see outside of what’s comfortable and easy and works “good enough”. You want an agency that’s going to work hard, be creative, and push to rock your world, not just achieve “good enough”.
- Packaged Marketing – now, in many ways, pre-packed marketing isn’t necessarily bad. This can take the form of pre-packed strategy, creative, development and process, even content, and it is generally executed much quicker for far less cost. If your industrial marketing needs aren’t reliant on unique market differentiators or quality creative effort but rather on sheer force and quantity, this can work to some degree. However, don’t mistake a pre-packed marketing strategy sold for a bargain price by an industrial marketing agency for something that will move the needle. If you’re looking for true, thoughtful, experienced marketing results and communication from a team that knows your company, your market and your needs, this won’t come from anything prepackaged, and the “industrial marketing package – gold level” will probably be a waste of time and money.
- Content quality – I’m sure you’ve heard that consistent content matters, but we’d go further and claim that in our current environment of ridiculously high levels of content saturation on any topic, it’s quality that really matters. If your marketing agency can’t show impressive content created, written and supported with genuine creative resources, well, you might need to keep looking. If a strong content production strategy is in your playbook and you understand the important role it will have, then you need to find an industrial agency who has the skill to produce attention grabbing AND holding content and knows how to deploy it to your benefit.
- Real numbers – know the metrics that matter and make sure the agency you’re talking to reports on these. If you’re looking for better lead development from your website and are looking to engage an SEO agency, don’t be impressed by an agency who promises higher traffic counts and stops there. Instead, make sure they have a strategy to bring qualified traffic, improved click throughs, a lower bounce rate and drive higher conversions. The first term sounds great but it’s really only a number game term, Aanyone can generate higher traffic if they don’t need to care about the audience. The second set of terms is demonstrating a real return on investment.
- Communication – Finally, if communication matters, learn about your marketing agency before signing. Will you be working with the person you’re currently dealing with? Do you know the team that will be assigned to your account? Is the team local, regional, overseas? Are you given one main manager to whom you have full access or are you just a number, another contract, being passed around inside a treadmill of projects, team members, designers and other specialist who know nothing of your company, competition, marketing or experience and will be changed out with another unknowing team soon? If this type of experience will frustrate you or your company’s team, make sure you’re upfront and ask the right questions to uncover this. When a marketing agency is built with this poor communication, high-turn approach, it’s nearly impossible to force them to do anything else, the least of which is practice better, consistent communication. We see these previously-burned clients come through our doors often and they’re always delighted when an agency like RedMoxy actually remains consistent in teams and communication and demonstrates a sustained interest and knowledge in their company and goals. They also tend to appreciate the results an approach like ours produces. Win Win.
A good manufacturing customer?
Why should you need to worry if you’re a good customer? You’re paying them right? Well, actually it does matter and could mean the difference between long term successful marketing and short-lived, half-hearted campaigns that bleed more than succeed. It takes two-way effort from both sides to put a successful strategy and brand together. Having a like minded view and approach to marketing, communication and quality is imperative to reach the wins you’re after. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind that can make your manufacturing or industrial service company a highly welcomed addition to the client list of any quality marketing agency for manufacturers.
You know what you expect from them, but understand they need the same from you. Commit to frequent, clear and transparent discussions. Be clear about how and when you need communication from them and ask them for the same. Require communication processes be established that describe platforms (software, email, text message, etc) frequencies, and timelines. Finally, be self aware. Agencies often can’t move forward without consistent direction from you, their client. Knowing this and acting on it regularly is best to keep campaigns on track and pushing towards wins.
Commitment to process and plans
As you expect them to live up to their commitments, you should strive to do the same. Many marketing agencies for manufacturers will rely on your manufacturing company to provide specific insights, guidance, resources and more to help a marketing plan progress and campaigns run. If your end isn’t completed ,these things can’t move smoothly ahead. Additionally, be timely in your approvals and feedback. Your agency partner needs your input and they need it clearly and timely to keep their end of the bargain up regarding timeline and deliverables. Make sure to provide the feedback they depend on you for.
Know when to trust their experience
Depending on the level of control you prefer over your marketing and brand, this may be simple and easy for some, and incredibly hard for others. If you’re one who enjoys micromanaging and controlling the direction a plan is taking, it is important to understand that you’ve hired this experienced industrial marketing agency for many reasons, but likely one of those reasons is their trade wisdom and ability to deliver results. While you can and should be in control, largely speaking, you need to be strategic with your agency’s capabilities. Leverage their experience and knowledge, which means, at the right time, let them lead. Let them provide direction, show their experience and reasons why they think it will work, and then let that play out. You know that at the end of the day if things aren’t moving as they should, you can pull the plug or ask for shifts in tactics. However, be smart, don’t control every move and know when to let your agency shine and do what you hired them to do. Get out of their way when the time is right, and if they’re any good – it’ll pay off.
Good bye or hello and Good Luck!
Well that’s it. Our hope is that you’ve got some additional guidance, ideas and tips to leverage as you begin or continue the process of picking the right industrial marketing agency to enlist.
We have been through most of these challenges at RedMoxy and understand why some relationships work and others don’t. In our experience, there’s a right agency for every manufacturer or industrial service company out there, and it’s your job to ask the right questions to make sure you’ve created the right match.
If you’re a small or medium sized manufacturer, distributor or industrial service company that is looking for a strong industrial marketing agency, it might be worth reaching out to RedMoxy and letting us hear about your needs. ho knows, we might be the perfect match.
Good luck! Or feel free to contact us here to talk with us about your current needs.