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I come from a management consulting background.
No wonder I like ambiguity.
Inbound marketing isn’t different.
Unfortunately, the buy side is unable to see inbound marketing in the same light. Therefore, defined engagement models are necessary to set clear expectations and pricing.
When Inbound Mantra was a newbie (we still are), all engagement models were custom. ‘Scope creep’ was a constant problem. But, over a period of time, thanks to demanding clients and our increasing understanding of the market, we have been able to structure 3 models of engagement. These 3 models have successfully encouraged our clients to think clearly about their objectives.
If you are looking to engage an inbound marketing agency, these 3 engagement models will help you think through the following:
Crudely put, here are 3 engagement models that you as a client can delve into while considering an inbound marketing agency. To a large extent, the nature of the engagement model is a function of the client’s current status quo with inbound marketing.
|Points to Consider||You tell, I do||I tell, I do||You do, I guide|
|Client Agency Relationship||Client communicates requirements and the agency executes to detail.||Client just communicates the business and marketing objectives to the agency. Agency takes the full-service role to define the marketing strategy and execute it to precision within a defined budget. All course correction and re-calibration is entirely the agency's responsibility.||Client has a growth problem with inbound marketing. The agency conducts an As-Is assessment to identify gaps in the existing inbound marketing strategy and make recommendations.|
|Expectations from Agency||Execute specific tasks such as creative designing, PR, website development or SEO.||Agency handles end to end planning and execution. This includes market research, strategy, execution and owning the outcomes.||The agency, in this case, is not responsible for execution. They are only responsible for identifying the current gaps and providing guidance on the right way forward, with a focus on growth.|
|When to prefer this model?||This model is preferred when client is clear about their requirements but does not have the bandwidth and resources to facilitate execution. It is also possible that the client is looking to cut costs by outsourcing.||This model is preferred when the client has limited marketing knowledge and resources. The client is looking for an agency with a specific skill set and trained resources which can help the client grow business.||Clients should look at this model when their adequately staffed internal team is unable to break-out from its current growth rut.|
|The Right Agency||Client needs to look for an agency which has certified talent and strong delivery background. Agency should have a strong body of proven work, backed by strong processes.||It is best to look for an agency which has proven background and expertise in the industry from which the client comes from. The agency understands CAC and LTV prevailing in this specific industry.||Here, just enlisting a proven credible agency would not be enough. For success, it is critical that the account strategist from the agency is a known troubleshooter.|
What do you think of the above table? Are there any models you have come across that I could add to this table.
During my management consulting stint, rough tables like the one above, provided the much needed clarity to think about the solution. It almost always worked out, but not always in the first attempt.
I hope the above table does exactly the same for your situation.