There are simply loads of branding, advertising and marketing agencies in the South East. We should know, as a South East marketing agency we’re part of that landscape! But whilst this means we have to be super sharp in our service delivery, it potentially presents bigger challenges for our prospective clients who have to choose from these thousands of possible options.
That’s why we thought we should try and help make that decision making process easier (and not by just saying “choose us, we’re amazing!”). Everyone at Genius has worked in-house at a business like yours at some point in their careers, so we pooled our knowledge and tips to create a guide to choosing a South East marketing agency, advertising agency or branding agency.
So, before you get into the nitty gritty of choosing a company, let’s start with the ground work…
Let’s figure out if you need a marketing agency, a branding agency or an advertising agency.
Think of marketing as being a cake (yum). Most marketing agencies cover most if not the whole cake. Advertising and branding are slices of that cake. As are strategy, PR, research, pricing and a host of other areas that make up marketing as a discipline. Branding agencies and advertising agencies provide services in their specialist “slice”, so all their people are devoted to that one thing.
Larger companies tend to have bigger, more specialised marketing departments with numerous in-house people responsible for their own “slice of the cake”. This means it often works better for them to work with a specialist firm or firm/s per person. These companies then only deal with the part of marketing that is that person’s job.
A marketing agency offers multiple specialisms under one roof, allowing smaller businesses who may have only one in-house marketer or even no dedicated in-house resource to have a sole provider for all their marketing services.
Of course, as with any generalisation, you find multiple exceptions to the inferred rule. Some larger firms give much of their marketing support work to a single marketing agency and some smaller firms will also choose a variety of specialists suppliers.
What’s important is finding the firm that’s the perfect fit for your business. And that’s where this next set of tips comes in…
What to look for in a marketing agency in South East
Here are a few pointers that we’ve found useful to think about when looking for a South East marketing agency:
- Your marketing budget vs. the agency’s costs: You can choose the creme de la creme of South East marketing agencies and still find that decision a poor one if your budgets and their costs are so far apart that you won’t be able to afford the support you need.
- Compare the services you need vs. what the marketing agency offers: You’ve found a company that says it is a South East marketing agency, however this doesn’t mean they automatically offer everything you need. Make sure you have a list prepared in advance and check that against each supplier.
- How your South East marketing agency provides your most important services: Again, just because a South East marketing agency lists something as a service they offer, that doesn’t make it their specialist area. They may outsource it to another provider because they don’t often get asked for it. This isn’t necessarily an issue for less important or frequent services, but if there’s a disconnect between what you’ll need most often and what the South East marketing agency’s team are best qualified to provide, they may not be the best partner for your business.
- The quality of their work: A good South East marketing agency should be able to show you a portfolio of work that is nicely and neatly designed, with compelling, error free copy and above all be able to talk you through the results they achieved for the businesses they serve.
- Testimonials and references: Any company can put up a pretty website, flashy presentation or smart brochure to impress you, but actually be unreliable with their service delivery in real life. Make sure you speak to some of their current customers before you finally choose a South East marketing agency, to make sure they live up to their promises.
How to choose a branding agency in South East
Choosing a South East branding agency isn’t dissimilar to the previous process, you’re just looking at an area that is more niche and your questions will be more refined as a result.
- The branding agency’s fees: There’s little point in choosing an outstanding branding agency if your budget won’t even stretch to creating a basic logo. You can choose the best form you can afford for the initial identity creation, but you’ll also want to think beyond that and have budget to spare for developing and refreshing the brand at a later date too.
- Your chosen branding agency should offer more than “pretty”: A decent South East branding agency will offer a deeper, more meaningful branding process than simply coming up with an attractive look for your business. To make sure the brand they are proposing works, they should conduct market research if you haven’t already done so. Your branding agency should also be able to provide sound business reasoning for all their proposed decisions around your brand. They should offer ongoing brand management, development and strategy services that allow your brand to be a valuable asset, generating revenue for the business rather than just giving you a presentable public face.
- Quality of branding work: Your chosen South East branding agency should be able to show you a portfolio of work that is well designed, features persuasive, stylish copy with no mistakes and above all be able to talk you through how that brand has delivered value for the client’s business.
- Testimonials and references: Most companies can put up a pretty website, presentation or brochure but actually prove to be very unreliable in your service delivery in real life. To protect yourself, make sure you speak to some their real customers before you finally choose a South East branding agency, to make sure they live up to their promises.
How to assess a advertising agency in South East
Advertising agencies are renowned for putting on stylish, impressive pitches and those found in the South east are no exception. But when you choose a South East advertising agency to work with, you need more than a flashy presentation. You need to be sure that they can deliver effective advertising services for your business. Here are a few things to bear in mind:
- A good advertising agency delivers effective advertising: All ad agencies like to win awards for their work. It makes that agency look good to prospective clients and allows them to charge more for their services. However, often you’ll find effective ads are not necessarily the ones that win awards and when talking to an advertising agency, they should demonstrate an understanding of this. Effective advertising that delivers tangible revenue into the business always trumps an “award winning” piece that was too clever for its own good and therefore had little effect on sales.
- South East advertising agency fees: Your advertising isn’t a one off expenditure. depending on your business structure, you’ll need to use these services anywhere between monthly and quarterly. So whereas we’d previously said to choose the best branding agency you could afford at the time, for advertising you need to work with a South East advertising agency that’s priced in a way that you can use it day to day over an extended period.
- Review their advertising results: Each South East advertising agency should be able to talk you through the results behind the pieces of the work in their portfolio, so you know you’re not just looking at pretty ads but ads that actually worked.
- Testimonials and references: It’s easily possible to put up a pretty website, presentation or brochure but actually be unreliable in your service delivery in real life. Make sure you speak to some real customers before you finally choose a Dublin advertising agency, to make sure they live up to their promises.
We hope this helps you in your search. And if you’d like to chat to us about whether we can help your business grow, of course we’d love to hear from you.