Developing a communications strategy
Marketing isn't about placing an advertisement in the local paper. In fact any agency worth their salt will tell that a one-off ad is money badly spent. Instead, a professional agency should work with you to develop a marketing plan that effectively helps you reach your business goals; whether that's more customers in your restaurant, or more buyers for your properties or more guests in your hotel.
This assistance might start with a brainstorming session to best understand your business goals, key markets, culture etc.
Many agencies will be happy to have a free-of-charge conversation with you to discuss PR & marketing - helping you to start to understand your main areas of focus. From here a more formal audit can be organised, to fully assess your strategy and then a 6-month marketing plan. This will identify what marketing tactics will be used when. The agency can then begin implementing the plan. Make sure they frequently meet with you to assess the success.
Once you're ready to choose an agency, take a moment to review their web site and talk to the team. Look at the type of work they have carried out for other clients and see how many years experience they have.
Don't be afraid to ask for some free advice. Any professional marketer will be happy to discuss your business and suggest some areas to focus on. This could be anything from improving your web site, creating a brochure or organising an event to meet existing and new customers.