“Check it out” is a good motto for those seeking to hire an automotive industry marketing agency. Here’s a plan to get the most out of your dollars.
The internet, mobile and social media platforms dominate your customer’s attention. That’s why it’s important your automotive industry marketing agency have more than a love of cars. Look for professional marketing certifications that are serious, hard-to-get designations in online marketing disciplines.
2. Check for business complaints.
Check your Better Business Bureau, city, county and state authorities to see if actions have been taken against the agency or its owners.
3. Watch the money.
Never commit to anything at your first meeting. Think about things and discuss it with others. If you feel the agency is pressuring you to buy right away, that’s a warning sign.
4. Ask about outcomes.
When a marketing agency recommends a strategy or a tactic, ask about the anticipated outcome. Focus on your rate of return and how long it will take you to earn such a return. Make sure you fully understand the actions you must take, and the monies you must invest, to generate such an outcome.
5. Get it in writing.
Be sure ROI calculations include marketing agency fees. Have all the project requirements in writing, including project execution timelines. Check so that marketing agency fees are reasonable in relation to your overall marketing spends.
6. Understand the program.
There’s an easy way to make sure you fully understand the actions recommended by the marketing agency, and how these actions fit your overall strategy. Simply explain the program to someone you trust. Do they get it?
7. Ask about alternatives.
Ask the marketing agency about alternative actions other than those they propose. Some agencies don’t have expertise in marketing disciplines that could potentially help you. Some agencies only recommend high margin actions, even though a lower margin option may be in your best interests. Ask yourself how the agency can make money and still have actions be good for you.
8. Investigate kickbacks, rebates, freebies and affiliate commissions.
Ask the agency whether they earn commissions or benefits from others from any of the actions, media buys, or software buys associated with your account. Many firms love the free NFL tickets given away by television and radio stations and thus will recommend this form of advertising simply for the perks.
9. Ignore the references.
Even the absolute worst agencies can find three people to recommend them. Plus, your friends for the most part don’t know a thing about marketing. A trick I like to use…ask prospective agencies who they would hire if their agency was not available. The answers can be quite revealing.
10. Watch for warnings.
Don’t try to outthink your common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Automotive marketing agencies can’t guarantee you first position on Google, nor can they guarantee you that every marketing channel or tactic will produce results. And be aware of pie-in-the-sky claims…if someone tells you they can make you a $1 million with just a $2,000 investment, I have some ocean-front property in Iowa to sell you.