So, you’ve chosen a marketing managed services provider for your business. The hard parts of finding the right vendor and negotiating a contract are behind you. However, what you do immediately after signing up will determine your relationship going forward. We’ve outlined a checklist of action items and, most importantly, things to pay attention to going forward.
1. Start with a kickoff call
This is by far the easiest part of beginning a relationship with the marketing managed services provider. Think of it like an extended agenda for your future touch points. It shouldn’t be overly long and will touch on:
- Introductions of key team members, such as an account manager, specialists, etc.
- Important points about your service-level agreement and future support.
- Outlines for current priorities and areas of focus early on.
- Expectations for the relationship going forward.
In short, this is a formal greeting between your teams to make sure you’re all on the same wavelength. After that, your work behind the scenes begins.
2. Define business objectives
Here, your C-suite should come together and lean on expectations established in the previous part. Firstly, discuss your needs internally and get an inventory of all the resources you already have. Secondly, talk to your contact with the marketing managed services provider and work on these steps together:
- Begin with the target audience. This one depends on the model you use. For example, it can mean a Voice Profile or style guide for content marketing, demographics and psychographics for sales copy, or an ideal customer persona if you prefer that model.
- Establish key performance indicators. This is the part where you isolate key metrics and focus on objective data. Whether it’s impressions, clicks, opens, time between deliverables, or internal standards, they can all be outlined and tracked later.
- Specify target goals. Everyone focuses on different matters in marketing. Maybe you’re big on influencer marketing this quarter, or you want to focus on formal press releases to drive industry partnerships your way. Here, make your needs as transparent as possible.
In addition, think about where your MSP can deliver the most value or make the biggest splash right now. Starting a relationship with a win-win is always encouraging for both parties!
Oftentimes after the initial high of a signed contract, we forget about the most basic matters. For example, how often have you had to put off work because someone didn’t give you access to the right account? This can translate into days of unnecessary delays. So, think about the following:
- Which accounts does your MSP need access to? This includes access to Google Analytics, Search Console, social media accounts, and more.
- Which systems should they understand before they start work? This means covering marketing strategies, internal procedures, approval processes, and the like.
- Who should they report to and how? Sometimes, different marketing materials go to different people in your company depending on project. Make sure it’s documented.
- How will deliverables be tracked? Let’s face it. A lot of information gets lost while emailing back and forth. You should have a system or platform to keep track of tasks.
To summarize, this part is about tying loose ends before you delve into working together. Both parties should have an easy time navigating each other’s tools and systems.
4. Review your individual program
Any marketing managed services provider worth their salt will offer an individual program after onboarding. That is to say, they’ll audit your marketing during the earlier steps and determine points where they can close gaps. Here’s how to review and analyze it on your end:
- Personalization. How tailored are their suggestions to your business goals? Where can they be improved?
- Expectations. How reasonable is the program in terms of ambition versus reality? Which resources need to be involved in the process?
- Tracking. What metrics do they suggest using in tracking the success/failure of the program? Who is going to monitor them?
- Contingencies. What measures are there to address gaps in the program? What are the secondary means of achieving outlined results?
Your job at this point is to sit back and ask good questions. The MSP’s job is to address any gaps in the program and help bring it up to your standards. Don’t stop communicating until both parties are satisfied.
5. Hold council
Establish regular strategic meetings to touch base and course correct. This is where planning ends and implementation begins – from here, it’s all in management. Moreover, if you both put enough energy into previous steps, this should be the most enjoyable part. It’s where you:
- Offer and receive feedback. Any healthy business relationship includes both praise and constructive criticism. Therefore, don’t shy away from either.
- Introduce new priorities. Marketing is never the same. Some new thing always comes up and throws a wrench in the works. Shine a light on new points of focus here.
- Refine established practices. By now, you know which parts of the program work and which don’t. So, here’s your chance to improve going forward.
- Monitor metrics. You’ve established KPIs earlier, and now is the time to see how well they’re working out. Above all, focus on the metrics that lag behind.
Strategic meetings are ultimately where you figure out how much ROI your relationship with a marketing managed services provider brings. Moreover, it’s where you expand your program to include new and exciting marketing strategies and (hopefully) create a lasting business relationship.
In conclusion, your journey with an MSP should begin with a kickoff call, go through important business objectives, and offer the tools they need to succeed in the relationship. After that, they should be able to create an individual program for your review that’ll lead to your long-term marketing partnership. From there, it’s all about monitoring the results.
Looking for a reliable marketing managed services provider?
The Tempesta Media team has a versatile marketing platform to meet the needs of our growing list of customers. Learn more about our marketing managed service and join their satisfied ranks.
In addition, we offer education on all things content marketing. We’ve established a community of expert writers who are ready to jump in and create content at a moment’s notice. Find out more about the Tempesta Media platform here.