The Agency Dating Game: Finding Your Ideal B2B Marketing Agency Partner  

September 21, 2022 / Marjoram

Marketing directors supporting industrial and ingredient B2B brands are in charge of product marketing plans, important business goals and expansive strategic responsibilities. Their plates are clearly full.  

Talented and dedicated marketing leaders find a way to get the work done. However, getting it done is no easy task. Too often, managing a corporate industrial or ingredient B2B marketing team requires finding creative ways to overcome shortfalls in time, budget, staffing and experience. And when you’re constantly being pulled in a thousand directions, staying focused on big-picture goals is nearly impossible.   

Resourceful marketing leaders know help is available. A relationship with the right agency can be a critical lifeline for busy B2B marketing departments. A trusted marketing partner can supplement your team in all the right ways — with innovative strategy, creative zest, project management know-how, and implementation muscle — filling in where needed to help you achieve standout B2B marketing results. 

The right outside team relieves stress and pressure, helping you carve out the breathing room you need to make a dent in your strategic priorities. But finding good help is easier said than done. 

What does an ideal working relationship feel like? How can you make sure the partnership you establish actually delivers on your goals? What qualities should you look for? To start, your agency partner needs to show you they understand the pressures you face. 

The Challenges of Finding Credible B2B Marketing Help 

Frustration. We see and hear it in our client conversations. 

Directors of B2B marketing departments often don’t have enough time in the day for all the things that cross their desks. Their attention can be hijacked at any moment by the shifting and competing priorities of a multitude of high-level product stakeholders. That inability to reliably predict and plan around their day-to-day priorities creates a considerable amount of stress. 

Marketing directors are tasked with helping product teams manage their marketing needs. This means they are often responsible for everyone’s problems. Because of this, too few B2B industrial or ingredient brand marketing directors feel truly empowered to be as impactful as they need to be. They too often find themselves pulled into impromptu projects and put on the spot to figure out execution: Do they add on to their already stretched-too-thin internal teams or scramble to find help outside the organization?  

You don’t want to overburden your team, but counting on quick help from outside experts is also risky. As a seasoned B2B marketing director, you know the assistance ready to source from your company’s approved vendor list is a mixed bag, at best. You can’t always find a suitable candidate to satisfy your specific needs. And not every vetted agency comes through as advertised. 

Finding the right agency partner is critical. And it doesn’t just happen by accident. You have to know what to look for and you can’t be afraid to venture outside of the approved vendor list to find it. It may take time and effort to match your specific needs to the appropriate expertise, but getting the search right is well worth the due diligence. 

What Does the “Right-Fit” Agency Partnership Look Like? 

B2B marketing directors responding to unexpected needs require urgent help. You need a marketing SEAL Team to dive right in and start crossing off mission objectives. Unfortunately, establishing a relationship with a new agency takes time. And corporate procurement processes, which typically require months to complete, don’t help your objective.

One way your new agency partner can begin to earn trust and demonstrate goodwill is by assuming a consultative role while the bureaucratic onboarding kinks are worked out. The right-fit agency partner should be ready to pave your way to a smooth and productive relationship. 

What else should you look for in a burgeoning agency partnership? 

Credibility: A Shared Understanding 

First and foremost, your agency team has to prove they can navigate your world. Expert advice is only impactful if it can be applied to your specific circumstances. Your hired experts must understand the specifics and nuances of your industry. They should also be prepared to work within complicated organizational reporting structures and manage the realities of decision-making by committee. 

Compatibility: Marketing Therapy 

The right agency partners also must understand your world and anticipate your needs. While you’re busy delivering for your many internal clients, your agency partner should be delivering for you. An agency that sees your professional and personal challenges the same way you do can help you weigh your strategic options and evaluate your priorities. This equates to more marketing projects crossing the finish line, less stress and chaos, and a predictable and sustainable working environment.

Capability: Lending Weight to Your Expertise 

Marketing agencies are expected to keep up with the latest marketing trends and industry standards. Moreover, they are unencumbered by long-held organizational beliefs or points of view about your brand and products. This means your agency partner is better positioned to provide an honest and objective assessment of your marketing efforts. They will offer validation, when appropriate, or a well-considered critique when further refinement is needed. The ideal partnership with an outside marketing expert helps you champion your ideas and expand your influence inside your organization.   

Supplement Your Industrial or Ingredient Brand B2B Marketing Team 

Doing more with less is an everyday reality for marketing directors supporting B2B industrial and ingredient brands. Nonetheless, overflow marketing needs should not continually disrupt or destabilize the routines of your internal team. Every B2B marketing director needs a reliable agency partner to help supplement internal capabilities. 

Whether you’re sourcing help from an approved vendor list or casting your agency search far and wide, be intentional in your evaluation of potential partners. You cannot rush a great working relationship. But you can set the stage for success by focusing your search on credibility, compatibility and capability.