By David Wolf
Hiring a marketing-services agency for your self-storage business is an important decision that involves evaluating a lot of criteria to ensure you hire the right partner. There are many questions about the best path to take when it comes to the assessment process. This overview separates the fiction from the facts.
Fiction No. 1
You should only work with an agency that has self-storage industry experience.
This is not necessarily true. Finding a marketing agency with expertise in the self-storage industry and an understanding of the drivers that impact tenant acquisition is certainly beneficial, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
Fiction No. 2
Case studies and client references are not crucial when selecting an agency.
This is incorrect. Case studies should be a key criteria of the agency-selection process. Evaluating samples of work is also very helpful. Ask for examples that are relevant to the engagement and scope of services you seek. Lastly, ask for client references so you can discuss their experiences working with the agency you’re considering.
Fiction No. 3
The ownership of creative and digital assets is not a major concern.
It’s important to define who maintains ownership and the rights of creative and digital assets in your relationship. For example, some marketing agencies offer a template-hosted solution, whereby it skins a website using your brand and creative assets on its Web-operating platform. This is a cost-effective solution that provides a proven site layout and positive user experience. However, if you terminate the relationship, you may be left without a website.
I strongly advise that you maintain control of all digital assets as well as website and marketing materials in any relationship you enter. It ensures you can terminate the relationship without any business interruption and protects you if something adverse happens to the agency.
Fiction No. 4
The best way to hire an agency is through a lengthy request for proposal (RFP).
The best way to evaluate a marketing-services agency is to have it do a project. If you’re asking for a specific deliverable that takes a lot of time to produce, compensate the agency for its time and resources. You may also want to consider hiring a consultant to help you write your RFP, particularly one who has experience in evaluating agencies.