By Courtney Fraas

Interviewing digital marketing agencies can be an overwhelming task. How are you supposed to know which agency is the best fit for your manufacturing business? What questions should you ask to ensure the agency you select is the best partner for the job? 

Ready to learn how to go about hiring a digital marketing agency for manufacturers? Here are 10 key questions to ask potential digital marketing agencies during the interview process.

What are your agency’s capabilities? 

Marketing encompasses a wide range of disciplines, from paid media to search engine marketing to inbound marketing and everything in between. To ensure your manufacturing company gets the best of all worlds, hire a multifaceted digital marketing agency that can help your company with a variety of marketing needs.

Can you share previous work? 

You can either ask this question directly and have the digital marketing agency send you a link to a portfolio of client work, or you can do your own digging online. The important thing is to get a feel for the work the digital marketing agency produces and determine if the work is on par with your expectations.

Need help setting marketing goals, comparing agencies, and getting prepared for  an agency partnership? This guide will help.

Who are some of your previous and current clients? 

When interviewing marketing agencies, be sure to ask about previous and current clients to determine if the agency is a good fit.

If you’re in the manufacturing industry and a digital marketing agency you’re scoping out mainly works with tech-industry clients, that agency may not understand your company’s marketing needs because they don’t specialize in your area of expertise. 

On the other hand, if a digital marketing agency works with many clients in your industry, this could be a red flag too. They may have a thorough understanding of your business, but do they work with your competitors? Is there a conflict of interest? Will your manufacturing company benefit from working with this agency? 

How much work will you outsource?

Marketing agencies are busy places. Lots of clients means lots of work, and sometimes outsourcing is needed to get that work done on time and on budget.

It’s important to find out what types of projects a digital marketing agency typically outsources (if they outsource projects at all). Outsourcing smaller tasks, such as copy editing or writing a blog, is all well and good, but you may want an in-house team handling a strategy-heavy project, such as a website redesign or rebrand. 

Who will my team be working with?

Hiring a digital marketing agency is a long-term commitment. You may be working with this agency for a year or (hopefully) more. Ensure your in-house team and the agency team members you’ll be working with are compatible. Are agency team members approachable? Knowledgeable? Personable? Are they people you want to work with on a daily basis? If so, the digital marketing agency may be the perfect fit for your manufacturing business. 

What project management tools do you use? 

Knowing that a digital marketing agency has its project-management ducks in a row is a must. You don’t want an agency wasting your budget on project management tasks. You want that money dedicated to marketing tasks that will boost your business’s bottom line. Ask potential marketing agencies what systems they use to optimize communication processes between team members and clients. 

What marketing software does your agency use?

Is your manufacturing company using specific software such as HubSpot or Salesforce? Make sure the agency you’re interviewing has expertise in handling software platforms your company utilizes everyday. 

Another question to ask is, “Does the agency have special qualifications pertaining to these platforms?” For instance, HubSpot classifies partner agencies into tiers (i.e., elite, diamond, platinum, gold, and so forth) based on experience and results. If your company is focused on improving inbound marketing using HubSpot, you may be more interested in a digital marketing agency that is an Elite HubSpot Partner Agency. 

How often will my team meet with your team?

What kind of client are you? Be honest. Do you want your digital marketing agency to take the reins, implement marketing strategies, and give you an update on a biweekly call? Do you want to be more involved in the process and meet weekly to discuss updates? Do you want minimal involvement and a monthly overview regarding progress? When interviewing a potential digital marketing agency, ask how often they recommend meeting to discuss projects.  

What does onboarding look like and how long will it take?

How a marketing agency gets all team members—on your team and their team—in sync is important to the success of a partnership. Aligning goals and objectives between both parties with a well thought out and organized onboarding process ensures priorities are clear and expectations are met.  

When can I expect to see results?

A good agency will set realistic goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This means there should be a check-in date at the end of each week, each month, or each quarter (whatever timeline you settle on) when you and the agency will sit down to examine data and set new goals based off of those results. Marketing is an iterative process that requires trial and error in order to find success, so make sure the agency you select emphasizes the importance of goal setting when answering this question.

Hiring a digital marketing agency for manufacturers isn’t an easy task. But ask the right questions (like the ones above) and you’ll make your hunt for a strong marketing partner a bit easier. Trust the process. Good luck!

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Courtney Fraas

About the author

Courtney Fraas is a SmartBug Media Inbound Marketing Senior Specialist based in Berlin, Md. With eight years of marketing experience, Courtney’s specializes in copywriting, visual design and project management. When she isn’t crafting customer-focused messaging, Courtney is busy traveling near and far, playing with her pup and becoming an expert Airbnb host. Read more articles by Courtney Fraas.

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