Whether you have a sophisticated marketing operation or are trying to launch your first marketing campaign, creating quality content marketing is always a challenge. That said, it can be a lot easier if you partner with a good B2B marketing agency. By guiding your strategy or producing quality content to fill your editorial calendar, an agency can help you work more efficiently, connect with your audience, and get the results you want.
However, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2021 Technology Content Marketing Report, marketers cite “finding partners with adequate topic expertise” as their number one problem with outsourcing work.
This lack of expertise isn’t just frustrating; it’s burdensome to your brand. The point of outsourcing is to take things off your plate, not take more time to teach people how to take those things off your plate. We know how difficult this can be, which is why it’s so important to find the right B2B marketing agency for your brand. But with so many agencies out there, how do you find one with the expertise you need and the ability to execute?
5 Tips to Find the Right B2B Marketing Agency
We know a little something about brand-agency dynamics, so we’re here to help both sides find the right partnership. If you’ve had trouble finding the right B2B agency to help with your marketing, we hope these tips will make the search that much easier.
1) Know what you need help with.
This may sound obvious, but you need to be specific about what you’re struggling with when you approach an agency. If you don’t know what type of content you’re going to create, it will be hard for an agency to determine whether or not they have the skills to help you.
That doesn’t mean you need to have a full content strategy fleshed out. (In fact, that may be something you want a B2B marketing agency to help you with.) But you should know your audience and the type of content you’re looking to serve them.
Tip: It’s helpful to have your brand messaging well defined, including your messaging pillars. If you’re selling yourself as the best IT security software in the market, knowing your key stories will make it easier to brainstorm ideas and communicate what type of content you’re looking to create.
2) Ask for recommendations within your industry.
Word of mouth is always a great way to find an agency, and it’s especially helpful when you hear it from an industry insider. Ask colleagues in your industry what agencies they’ve worked with (and, most importantly, which ones were pleasant to work with). Or look at work in the wild that you admire. You can often track down the agency that did it.
Tip: Just because an agency works in your industry doesn’t mean their work is particularly successful. Comb their website for case studies and results. (If an agency doesn’t have any public-facing work to share, that’s a red flag.) You should also take a look at their blog or contributions to industry publications. Good agencies regularly share their expertise.
3) Ask an agency for specific examples.
Don’t be shy about your needs. An agency can’t showcase every single piece of work they’ve ever done on their site, but they have a large archive of work that demonstrates their expertise.
Even if they don’t have exactly what you’re looking for (say, a whitepaper about a very specific subject in your exact field), if they have produced a large report that is similar to what you’re looking for, that shows evidence of their ability to execute and synthesize the information at hand.
Tip: If there’s something particular you’re looking to create, ask for examples of similar work.
4) Ask about their network.
You may not be able to find a boutique B2B agency that specializes in your exact product/service/industry (e.g., provides IT solutions to cheetahs with computers). Don’t despair. Even when you find an agency that does specialize in your exact niche in your exact industry, your account producer won’t likely be an expert in IT solutions for cheetahs. Instead, what you’re getting when you work with them is their access to an established network of experts.
If they don’t have the experts in-house, the right agency will know where to get them (and probably already have an established relationship with them). Note: If you’re looking to produce a large volume of content, working with a larger network of people isn’t just smart; it’s mandatory to scale up.
Tip: Ask about their content creators, who they work with, and what their qualifications are.
5) Take your time.
It can be frustrating to hunt for the right agency, but what you want is more than expertise. You need to have a strong rapport. Take time to interview and vet various agencies. Remember: You’ll waste more time and money if you need to change agencies again, so take the time to do your due diligence.
How to Improve your B2B Marketing
Whether or not you outsource your work, there are plenty of ways to strengthen your marketing.
- Follow best practices. Try these tips to create better B2B content.
- Experiment with different formats. Whether it’s brand video or infographics, mix it up and see what happens. To start, here are 5 different types of formats you can try.
- Optimize your content creation process. Even if an agency is helping you create content, it’s always smart to strengthen your internal process. Find out how to master content creation to create better content at scale.