7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Marketing Company

Peter Drucker (a.k.a. “the man who invented management”) said, “Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only these two – basic functions: marketing and innovation.” 

As design and construction professionals, we trade in innovation, in building, in making, in realizing dreams. For many, it is much more challenging, and more stressful, to tell our stories of expertise and create those new customers. Hiring a marketing company can take the weight off your shoulders – if you choose the right partner. 

What should you ask before you sign on the dotted line?  

Top Must-Ask Questions When Hiring a Marketing Company 

1. Have they worked with clients in your industry before? What do you do when you have an issue with your heart? Go to a GP or a dermatologist? They’re doctors, and they have a general idea of where the heart is and how it works! But you’d feel better consulting with a cardiologist, a specialist in that field. The same is true when it comes to marketing.  

A general firm may have some inkling of the needs, goals, challenges, and pressures of the design and construction industry – but if they are not specialists, you risk a strategy that flatlines. The point is that you need a company that not only works with clients in your industry but specializes in this area. It didn’t exist for design and construction pros; so, we built it with Haven. 

2. What are their strongest strategies? While specializing in your industry, your marketing company should also offer a comprehensive range of services, from traditional push strategies to content-based pull marketing. In which does this firm excel? From video and email marketing to social media and sales enablement, their strengths should align with your needs and goals.  

3. What does their process look like? Marketing isn’t a “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” type of proposition. Not when your budget dollars and brand reputation are on the line. You need a solid, proven process that delivers quantifiable results. Any marketing company that you are considering should have a documented, clear plan when it comes to your engagement with them. We call ours the Haven Difference. Steps include:  

  • Initial Meeting 
  • Discovery  
  • Strategy Creation 
  • Development & Implementation  
  • Analysis & Optimization 

We take potential clients through each step, explaining what happens, when, and by whom and what the deliverables are. Expect, and accept, nothing less than complete clarity and transparency throughout every stage. 

4. Who is on your marketing team? You should have a dedicated account manager who you meet with (face to face or at least via video chat) to discuss your brand, needs, and goals. This is the person who oversees all activities related to your account – and the one you can email, call, or text when you have questions or concerns. You should know them, and they you. If there’s always someone different answering the phone or handling tasks, it can become not only confusing but frustrating and time-consuming.  

There will be others working on your marketing strategy and implementation (e.g., video producers, copywriters, photographers, etc.) – but they work through the account manager so you have one point person from the very start. 

5 How does their pricing work?  Marketing is an investment in your company’s present and future success and as such, you need to know what it’ll cost you. This also enables you to track your ROI and determine if you are, in fact, getting what you’re paying for. Marketing firms may operate on a retainer basis or on a project-based model. This largely depends on your needs and goals, as well as the specific services you require.  

Use our Budget Calculator to get an idea of what you should spend on marketing – and what you should get out of it.    

6. Do they have results driven case studies? It’s easy to get caught up in marketing speak and the promise of generating new leads, converting more customers, and boosting profitability. But how will the marketing firm do this? And how have they done it for other clients? Results-driven case studies take you through their processes, their strategies, and the outcomes they have helped other, comparable businesses achieve. Case studies should be specific, detailed, and ambiguity-free. 

7. Can they provide references? The only acceptable answer is, “Yes.” Reputable marketing companies are happy to provide you with references (and they should have reviews and testimonials on their website and social media, which you should also peruse). Past or current clients are the ones with the insights you need when it comes to their experiences – and results – with the firm. Be sure to follow up. Ask them: What about their experience was positive? What could have been better? What were their goals? Did they achieve them? How? What was the process like? Would they hire this company again or are they still working with them? 

Only when you are completely satisfied with the answers – both on an intellectual and gut-level basis – should you proceed with hiring a marketing company. The stakes are too high to leave this critical business function to anyone less than the best.  

Learn about the Haven Difference and our range of services created for design and construction professionals by design and construction professionals. Connect with our team.