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Top 3 tips for selecting and managing your specialist agency

Working with a specialist agency can have massive benefits. You get expert advisory, a pulse on trends and probably some spare time on your hands to accomplish other tasks. But it can go sideways easily if you’re not careful. Kavita Singh spoke with Steve Kemish, Propolis Hive Expert in Executions and Campaigns, about some key tips.

1. Do your due diligence and research beforehand

When it comes to selecting your specialist agency, there are a list of questions that need to be addressed, and you’ll need to be a bit strict with asking them. Start with experience. Find out who they have worked with in the past and when you do, proceed with caution.

Steve says: “Do you have clients we can talk to? With any supplier, not just an agency, they will put their best reference clients in front of you. You want to talk to the ones that they’ve lost. So ask: ‘Could you tell us about any clients you’ve lost in the past year, and why?’ And those are the ones you’re going to want to talk to.”

On the same note of transparency, Steve urges clients to ask who would be doing the actual work. Oftentimes, agencies outsource to some degree, and, while there’s nothing wrong with that, are they being transparent about this from the jump?

He continues: “If you find an agency that specifies that they don’t do it themselves completely, but they do have partnerships, that’s really important from an NDA point of view, because the client will think signing NDAs will be passing on to others. Well, how do you know from a protection point of view that they’re bound by those same rules?”

Also, make sure you ask about their experience in your industry – specifically, how long they’ve been doing work around your sector. Specialist agencies can be extremely beneficial as experts, and will know upcoming trends ahead of the curb, but you need to make sure they’re well-versed in your industry, so the output will pay dividends.

In addition, Steve mentions that it won’t hurt to gauge their understanding of a particular geography either, as different areas of the world have different peculiarities. For instance, Steve was working with a client recently where they needed to have an SEO specialist at a regional level. Not only can that offer a load of insight, but just knowing where your agency is located and what time zone they’re in can establish what kind of meetings you’ll be having. If you all want to jump on a Zoom call, is that easy to schedule? While it doesn’t have to be the be all and end all, it should be considered.