This past weekend I got my trade show game on at the Digital Marketing Bootcamp put on by my friends over at the Local Search Association. LSA is in the business of local and the LSA Bootcamps are events that attract a broad range of SMBs that are looking to market online. A seemingly target rich environment for CallRail.
LSA was looking for someone to give a talk on how to hire a digital marketing vendor and given all the work I have done around that topic it seemed a pretty natural for me. The presentation was pretty short and sweet. It is embedded below.
The gist of the presentation is that hiring a marketing vendor is a lot like buying a car and when you compare cars it is good to do what Car & Driver calls a comparo. The meat of the comparo is the spec sheet and driver ratings (here is an example of one with the M3). Using the same methodology that Car & Driver uses to rank cars is a solid approach to select a marketing vender (we used it to select our marketing automation platform at CallRail, more on that at a later date). The framework really seemed to resonate with the participants. During the course of the presentation I provided the participants with three templates that they could use in their vendor selection process.
The first was a marketing technology criteria evaluation template. The marketing technology criteria evaluation template is literally a spreadsheet that can be populated with selection criteria and then have the selection criteria ranked by the people involved in the selection process. In the template the ratings for two people are summarized on the first sheet. You can add or subtract sheets for people depending on the size of your team and roll it all up to the summary sheet. I have used this in the real world. It works very well. It forces you to think about what criteria are important and to rank how well each marketing technology delivers on that criteria.
The second was a marketing technology price comparison template. When you are getting quotes from several different vendors at once it is often times hard to compare them apples to apples. Using this template will help solve that problem. It will also help you to get a better price.
The third template that I provided was an agency brief. Where fairly simplistic the brief template is a good starting point to provide a little direction to marketing services companies when looking to bring one on board to help with a certain aspect of your marketing. I know this because I suggested we start using them at CallRail not too long ago to hire a marketing vendor. Since then the team has adopted it to provide first direction to the vendor when we are are starting a new project. So it is not only good for hiring an agency but can be used to get new projects started.
Hiring a marketing vendor is not hard you just have to be methodical while trusting your instincts, make sure the firm or technology is going to work to grow your business, and hold the provider as accountable as you would an employee.