When it comes to hiring an agency, every onboarding is different. In order to make this process as effective and efficient as possible for everyone involved, we rely on a kickoff that’s designed to lay the foundation for a strong partnership from day one.
The kickoff is a place for us to discuss expectations up front, agree to goals and metrics and establish an understanding of what success means for you. It’s also an opportunity for our team to download as much tribal knowledge as possible to gain a running start as we begin research and strategy development for your business.
Here’s how the partnership starts.
What Can You Expect from a Kickoff?
With the growing trackability of digital marketing, it’s easier than ever to base strategy around potential return on investment. In a new partner kickoff, we aim to help our clients identify measurable goals and determine the best ways to achieve them.
To begin the process, you’ll get to meet your dedicated team and learn how we’ll be using our skills to help you, so you always know who you’re sending emails to or who to ask for certain requests. The rest of the time is about getting to know you so we can get an understanding quickly (and minimize revisions later).
During the meeting, some questions will arise that are harder to answer than others — and sometimes there might not be ready answers to every question. That’s okay. The point of the meeting is to figure out where the gaps are and what we need to do to address them together.
Marketing isn’t something you can start and finish overnight — it’s about optimization. The same is true for our relationship; once we’ve gathered all the information we can about your business, we will continually work to improve our relationship and to find new ways to help you grow.
The benefits of this discussion are that we set the course for all future work and don’t have to retread that ground in the future. With a strong grasp on what you want from our relationship, we’re able to be more efficient with our time rather than reinventing the wheel for you.
How Should You Prepare for a Kickoff?
To make the kickoff as effective as possible, bring your previous marketing efforts. If you’ve had some luck in the past marketing for a trade show or a holiday event email campaign, we’d love to know what’s worked in the past and how we can improve it.
In terms of what tangible materials to prepare, many of our clients will share account information and passwords for their CRM or social media profiles ahead of time so we have a chance to explore the materials and discover how they’re being used. This sharing is done through a secure portal on our website to make the process safe and easy.
We also want to know about your relationship with your business.
Be ready to tell us about when you started, how things have changed and even where you want your business to go.
We know that running a business is a full-time job and that stepping away from daily operations that demand your attention is a difficult choice. After all, not every business owner has the luxury to spend half their day discussing how their mission, vision and values drive their five-year plan.
So, as with the start of any new partnership, our kickoff requires a little trust.
As we work together to assess the best path forward, we do so as a team. The most important part of our kickoff process is getting on the same page.
We often find that a kickoff meeting becomes about more than addressing marketing tactics or brand voice. In the course of a two-hour meeting, where we get to learn about you, what makes you tick and why you work so hard to grow your own business, we uncover the underlying reasons your business is unique.
Kickoff meetings are an inspirational launchpad for both our team and our clients because they force us to turn off our phones, disable email notifications and, for a few hours, focus on the big picture and create tangible milestones for your business.
When it’s all over, we leave the room motivated and excited to dive into the work.
Next Steps: Discovery
After meeting to learn about your company, we’ll take what we’ve discussed and cross-apply it to what we find through our own additional research. Once that’s been reviewed, we build and present a marketing plan based on your strategic priorities.
Having developed a strong understanding of your business in the kickoff and by bringing our own expertise and insights to the table, we use the discovery phase to identify the opportunities where the most growth potential exists and craft a plan to leverage those opportunities in the most economical and efficient way possible.
Ready to pull back the curtain of a strategy-minded agency that prioritizes tangible goals? Learn more about what’s involved in our strategy-based partnerships here.
Charlie is the Chief Strategy Officer at Simple Machines Marketing. When he's not doing the marketing, he likes playing guitar, hanging with his family in Chicago and lots of other stuff too but this seems like a good amount for a blog bio.