Determining if a Marketing Partner is a Good Cultural Fit
Part three of three-part series
In part two of our three-part series, Tangelo Media offered advice on determining a potential agency partner's working style and how to gain insight into what to expect from your daily interactions. In part three, we explore how to decide if a marketing agency is a good fit for your company culture.
Here are some steps and questions you should consider that will enable you to assess compatibility:
1. Define your company culture:
If you already clearly understand your company culture, then it will be much easier to evaluate cultural compatibility with an agency. In this process, you should specifically define your values and working style, communication preferences, collaboration style, decision-making processes, and overall work environment. And if you don't think your organization is living up to its values, this is a good time to recalibrate before you start working with a partner.
2. Create an open dialogue:
Schedule a meeting or call with the agency's representatives to discuss your needs, goals, and company values. Pay attention to their communication style, attentiveness, and how they respond to your questions.
3. Ask about their fundamental values:
Inquire about their standards and how they align with your company's mission. Look for common denominators such as transparency, collaboration, creativity, integrity, flexibility, or any other critical cultural elements of your organization.
4. Discuss their approach to collaboration:
Do they involve clients in the creative process? How do they handle feedback and revisions? Ask for examples of how they have successfully adjusted their approach to accommodate the preferences of their clients.
5. Inquire about their team dynamics:
Make sure you clearly understand who does what within their organization. Ask about their team structure, the pain point of contact, and how they foster collaboration. Learning more about how their teams are organized and where responsibilities lie within their company will ensure more seamless interactions.
6. Request client references:
Speak directly with their previous and current clients to gain firsthand insights into their experience. Inquire about the agency’s responsiveness, communication style, and collaboration.
7. Consider their relevant experience:
Assess if the agency has a background in working with companies similar to yours in terms of size, industry, or target audience. If they don’t have that experience, ask them how they would be able to adapt to your organization. While not a direct measure of cultural fit, shared industry knowledge and understanding can be beneficial.
8. Trust your instincts:
Pay attention to your gut feeling when interacting with the agency's representatives. Do you feel comfortable and confident in their ability to align with your organization? Have they responded quickly and appropriately in all of your interactions to date? Do you enjoy your conversations with them? Would you survive being stuck in an airport with them for hours? This last question may seem like an odd thing to ask yourself, but an important dynamic of any successful relationship is compatibility.
In summary, determining the right agency partner can be a bit like choosing your friends or a significant other. It won’t necessarily work unless you have compatible values, are willing to respect each other’s viewpoints, and address challenges openly when they inevitably arise. By going through the steps in the three-step process that Tangelo Media has outlined, you can make a more qualified decision and have a better chance of long-term success.
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