How to find a food marketing agency that fits your needs
There might not be so many specialized food marketing agencies out there, but there are still enough that make it hard to decide for one. Therefore, we have put together a small guideline that we think should be considered in every selection process. From our experience of countless client conversations and feedback loops.
1. Decide what you are looking for
Before the actual search for a new food marketing agency even starts, you should know exactly what you want. Should it be a classic agency that is perhaps close by, that has been recommended to you or whose projects you are convinced of? Or should it be a specialized food marketing agency that knows the industry and its processes inside out and can think along with you? Perhaps you would prefer to have one person sitting directly with your inhouse marketing team, for which, for example, a single food marketing expert or freelancer is better suited. Flexibility and identification with your brand is very high in this case, but specialization in many disciplines is often not. All these questions should at best be answered before the process of the actual search even starts. Because the better you know your own preferences for the day to day work, the easier you can find an agency that meets those requirements.
2. Decide what you value most
Not all food marketing agencies are the same, and that's a good thing. Some work for larger clients, others for smaller, one might have more staff, the other has less, some work with a higher degree of specialization (for example, only food packaging), others with a wider range of expertise...this list could go on forever. All these constellations have an impact on experience, projects successfully completed to date, flexibility and prices, and should therefore also suit your needs.
Besides those hard facts, however, personal cooperation is also essential, because working with a food marketing agency is like an extension of your own internal marketing team. A friendly interaction at eye level should therefore be a high priority in the selection process - both from the client's and the agency's point of view - because after all, all parties want to work well together for a long time.
3. Decide if the agency´s service portfolio suits you
Working with many different agencies at the same time can be tedious and require a lot of control, so that the efficiency of brand management often suffers. It is therefore not without reason that many companies decide to work with lead agencies, which unite various network partners and take over the project management at the same time. Depending on the size of a food brand, it is therefore advisable to find out about the portfolio of a new agency in advance in order to check whether the services that you would like to obtain are covered by it in the main parts. The broader a portfolio, the easier it is to talk to the same contact person about various topics and to manage the marketing activities holistically - just as an internal marketing department does. If you are looking for a very niche specialization in a certain field, it should explicitly appear in the agency's references (and better not just once) in order to be able to assume a high degree of professionalism in exactly this niche that you need.
4. Decide if you want to join the agency´s existing client base
How does it feel to look at the current references of your favourite food advertising agency? Do the brands seem like an exciting overview of modern food companies, in which you would like to appear? Do the reference projects seem interesting and suitable for your needs? Then it might be a good idea to start the interview and check whether there is a certain chemistry as well. If you already have the feeling that the agency is working with clients who are too big/too small, too innovative/too old-fashioned, too diversified/too niche, etc. compared to you, you should openly discuss this point in an initial meeting.
All in all, food marketing agencies are usually driven by a great deal of passion for a great industry and are therefore always eager to do the best possible job. Whether it ultimately fits and harmonizes with a brand is decided by each individual case. We hope that our checklist could make a small contribution to finding your new agency partner, and hopefully keeping it for a longer time.
Photo credit: Ian Schneider, Unsplash