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9 Questions You Should Ask When Hiring a Channel Marketing Agency

9 Questions You Should Ask When Hiring a Channel Marketing Agency

Hiring a channel marketing agency is a big deal. As a channel partner, your choice of agency will have a significant impact on your level of investment in effort, time and money – as well as on campaign results. You want to be sure that every penny you spend with the agency is worthwhile, and generating the anticipated ROI, especially when many vendors expect a 30-fold return on their marketing dollar spend.

Before you begin talking to agencies, it’s worth kicking off the selection process with some simple benchmarking. This will help you narrow down the field of suitable marketing agencies by answering the ‘four Ws’:

  • What type of campaign do you need? Experience shows there is no single partner marketing agency who can be an expert in every marketing tactic. Will your campaign focus on content syndication, online ads, or telemarketing, for example?
  • Why do you need an agency to run this campaign? Is it a matter of internal capacity or expertise, timeline, or budget?
  • When do you need to reach a decision, and kick off the campaign?
  • Where do you need to run the campaign? The location of the agency can have a major impact on its understanding of the business environment and culture in a particular region or country – which will feed into the success of your campaign.

This kind of benchmarking is something bChannels has done for many clients. We’ve developed a scorecard to help the process of choosing a partner marketing agency that fits individual campaign objectives.

The nine questions that will tell you all you need to know

Once you have used your scorecard to narrow down which agencies to talk to, you need to dig a little deeper into their suitability. You need to ‘get under the skin’ of each agency to discover if they are a good fit for your particular campaign.

Here are nine key questions you should get answers to before making any selection.

1. What is your specialty?

Most agencies are built on a strength in a particular area. Does this speciality coincide with what you are looking for, whether it’s local knowledge, expertise in a particular area of marketing, a strong sales team, or a robust database?

2. What differentiates you from your competitors?

The agency needs to be able to sell itself, if it is going to do a good job of promoting your offering. The agency should be able to eloquently explain what differentiates it from its competitors; its USP. You should feel confident in its marketing abilities.

3. What is your client and channel experience?

Good or great agencies should have an impressive client list, and be able to tell a good story about how their campaigns for these companies were a success. They should be able to provide case studies that are relevant to your requirements in terms of tactic(s), target audience and location. Be sure to check out their channel experience: partner marketing requires a specific skill set.

4. Do you have a comprehensive scope of work?

The agency should be able to provide you with a comprehensive scope of work (SOW), containing meaningful and realistic goals and expectations (for both you and the agency). If the agency cannot provide this, or the SOW is too generic, this is a red flag.

5. What campaign challenges have you faced recently?

No agency is perfect, but it’s a good sign if it is honest about any recent challenges it has faced. Learning from such challenges builds the agency’s expertise in being able to advise you on the dos and don’ts of campaigns like yours.

6. How do you deal with campaign failure?

Campaign failure – lack of meaningful results – is a fact of life. How the agency deals with it is key. Does it have back-up plans for when lead generation KPIs aren’t met, for example?

7. Can we talk to your delivery team?

Having confidence in the delivery team is important. Whether you are asking it to create content, manage your media spend, or deliver telemarketing, you need to be sure your agency gives you confidence. For example, for a telemarketing campaign, you need to be sure the agency can talk confidently and meaningfully with your potential prospects. Is the agency able to run a simulation session using its calling team, and provide a recording of the actual call, for example? This can save significant time and effort in trying to put things right during the actual campaign.

8. What is your team structure and level of concurrent projects?

Agencies should be able to clearly explain their team structure, as well as how many projects it is handling at any given time. It’s worth asking whether the agency has a similar client with a similar scope of work to yours in the same region, and how it would handle this. How does the agency manage such situations in marketing campaigns that rely heavily on its own database.

9. How responsive are they?

How responsive an agency is to your requests is a good indication of the level of service you will receive during the campaign. If the agency is slow to respond to your initial enquiry, this does not bode well for a successful future client–agency relationship.


Packaged campaigns eliminate the guesswork

Working through this nine-point checklist is vital, and it’s not too time-consuming for partners looking at running a single, targeted channel marketing campaign. However, vetting multiple agencies in this way to handle multiple channel campaigns, with multiple focuses, may be too onerous for most partners.

This is why partners are increasingly turning to a single-source, trusted agency model, which provides campaign support across multiple channel marketing tactics. For example, at bChannels, we have created the Digital Partners suite of packaged campaigns, which eliminate the guesswork for partners in the planning, creation and delivery of channel marketing programs. To find out more contact us.

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