Finding an industrial marketing agency that understands your specific industry challenges can be a daunting task — especially if you’ve never worked with an agency before.
Before you start your search, you may want to compile a list of questions to test any potential partner’s ability to address your pain points, such as:
- Do they fully understand the biggest marketing challenges in your industry right now?
- How much experience do they have working with clients like you?
- Are they familiar with the specific terminology that makes sense to your industry’s audience?
- How do they structure their costs and customer billing for marketing services?
- Are they willing to sit down with you and answer more questions like these?
A full-service, industrial marketing agency should be willing to meet with you early in the vetting process to answer your questions and provide the information you need to make an informed decision. You may also want to ask yourself, “Do they fit our definition of an industrial marketing agency?” If a flashy ad agency that usually works on campaigns directed at consumers does not fit the bill, then you’ll want to rule out any business-to-consumer (B2C) agencies.
Why B2B Agencies Work Best for Industrial Marketing
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is essentially marketing to other companies where more than one person is involved in the purchasing process. In industrial marketing, these decision makers are not easily swayed by emotion (unlike B2C audiences who often purchase based on emotional response to advertising). Your industrial B2B audience needs to know what value your business will deliver to theirs.
A full-service, B2B industrial marketing agency should be able to help you answer these questions about your target audience:
- Who is the key decisionmaker, and what is their role at the company?
- What is the company’s role in your industry?
- What is important to their organization?
- Who are their typical customers? What’s important to them?
The agency should also demonstrate experience working with clients in your specific industry or “vertical,” whether that’s manufacturing, distribution, or heavy industry.
Drawing on this understanding, a true industrial marketing agency should be able to effectively communicate your company’s unique capabilities and expertise to your target audience. Without this framework, the details that matter most to your customers will likely be missed — or skipped over with a generic marketing message.
Vetting Your Next Industrial Marketing Agency
Once you’ve narrowed down your agency candidates based on this criteria, here are eight ways to determine if an agency is the right fit:
- Vertical – Do they really understand your industry’s audience?
- Specialization – Are they a B2B, full-service partner with a holistic, approach to concept, design, and delivery of a variety of industrial marketing initiatives?
- Capabilities – Do they have the expertise you are you looking for in a full-service agency? These capabilities may include:
- Brand strategy
- Analytics and search engine optimization (SEO)
- Website development and marketing content
- Graphic design
- Video production
- Customer and competitor research
- Digital advertising
- Whitepapers and eBooks
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Print media and sales collateral
- And more, depending on your specific requirements
- Process – Does the marketing agency have a documented process for how they work with their customers? Ask them to show you their process.
- Experience – In addition to client references, do they have a track record of delivering results?
- Accountability – Do they have the ability to demonstrate progress and analyze data from ongoing marketing efforts? Ask them to explain what metrics they use to measure their marketing efforts.
- Culture – Does their work philosophy fit with your company culture?
- Cost – Their pricing should reflect the value their marketing agency brings to the table.
It All Starts with a Conversation
The secret to any long-term relationship is communication. Before you choose an industrial marketing agency partner, make sure you’re both on the same page. The agency should be willing to answer your questions and then deliver an official “pitch” of their services. Before you pull the trigger, make sure you’ve gathered enough information to answer the question, “Is this agency the right fit for us?”
To dig deeper into the process of finding the agency that will best fit your company, download the free guide, “How to Choose the Right Industrial Marketing Agency.” Then you can decide if you’re ready to have that first conversation about making marketing a strength of your business.