When you head out looking for a new sofa there are certain things you'll look for - a style to match your character, a fit for your budget and above all something that will stand the test of time. It's the same when you look for a PR or Inbound agency. You need to know the company you hire will complement your team and culture, will give you an ROI and will form a lasting productive partnership.
It's easy to get carried away with the big lights in London and the promises of the big agencies. However, small agencies geared specifically to your market might be a better fit all round. And you might find there's the perfect one right on the doorstep, especially if you're based in the Thames Valley.
So what should be on the shopping list for a tech PR or Inbound Marketing specialist in the Thames Valley?
- Number one priority is that they get what you do. But not only do they understand it, but if they explained it to a total outsider and they'd get it too.
- They know the issues you solve. You're not in technology just for the fun of it (though we admit some tech is fun). If you're in B2B tech you're solving a problem - like how can a business be faster, leaner and the investment they make be cheaper? Your agency has to see the connection between business need and technology.
- They know the sectors you serve. You can't be good at understanding the issues unless you know how different markets work. Retail, though connected, is different to manufacturing. Aviation is different to oil & gas. Make sure your agency doesn't just get the tech but also the customer you need to win.
- They are fast learners. 3G is different to 5G. 5G needs everything from contiguous spectrum, through mast upgrades to 5G handsets to launch. It's new. It's different. If you're about to enter a new dawn in your sector, or launch a new product, you need an agency that will learn all about it fast and be able to articulate the challenges and benefits, and how you fit in, quickly. Your success to gain market and thought leadership will depend on it.
- They spot an angle. Imagine a Venn diagram - what you want to talk about, what the press wants to talk about, or in the case of inbound what your customer / prospect wants to read about, and the sweet spot in the middle is what you need focus on. Your agency has to be hitting this bulls eye every time.
- They have a track record. You can't be good at point 5 if you don't deal with the press everyday and get coverage every time you do. Similarly, every inbound campaign should be bringing in leads. Challenge the agency to show you results and their hit rate.
- Every client is a reference. If they are as good as they say then you should be able to pick up the phone to every client and get a consistent positive appraisal.
- You have a rapport. Don't pick a name pick the people. You will have to deal with them every day. If they don't fit in with your values and culture then don't go there.
- They value what they do. You may find you aren't drawn to the London agencies because of price. You may then find a local agency is still stretching the budget. If all the above is in place then it's probably a sign that they are reassuring expensive and will hit the parts others can't reach.
So back to the sofa. If it's not quite what you were looking for, not as comfy as you'd hope then you'd send it back. You might want that option on an agency too.
We say no problem. Try us with a project, give us a dry run. We give you 100% whether it's short- or long-term. It's our reputation as much as yours.