Hiring a marketing agency is hard. Hiring your next marketing agency is even harder.
In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be a next marketing agency. But relationships get tiresome, communication breaks down (on both sides), deliverables never show up, and agencies often over promise and under deliver. I see it over and over again, and by the time you and I meet, you’ve officially been diagnosed with marketing agency posttraumatic stress.
But the question all of them leave out, and perhaps the most telling of how your relationship will end, is:
“If we sever ties down the road, what will I own?”
Have you ever experienced so much silence you could hear the wattage of your light bulbs humming?
Ask this question, and by the time you’re done interviewing agencies, you’ll know the difference between a 65-watt hum and 75-watt hum, and possibly the manufacturer of the bulb. But you’ll also know the difference between an agency who has your best interests in mind, and one who’s just looking to line their pockets.
How? Because this question reveals the agency’s true character.
What it really asks is, “How will you treat me when I tell you I no longer want to give you my money?”
When you’re gone, will they:
- Charge you a monthly fee to use their “proprietary” content management system they built your website on?
- Charge you if you want to keep the content on the blog they spend the last year creating and driving search traffic to?
- Remove the back links they paid for on a month-by-month basis?
- Hold your social profiles hostage, along with credentials to important directory profiles relevant to your vertical?
- Refuse to transfer ownership of your analytics history?
Or will they give you what you already paid for and deserve: Everything?