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5 Key Considerations When Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

5 Key Considerations When Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

Most companies choose a digital marketing agency and hope to work with it for a long time, but this is not always the case. Here are the key points to consider when choosing your own agency.

If you've ever switched marketing agencies (going from one to another to find one that meets your expectations), you know how difficult it can be to start fresh with new campaigns. But what if you could enter the next season equipped with the knowledge to choose the right digital marketing agency for your business?

Before You Start Researching

First, clarify your goals. For an agency to be successful, it needs to have a clear guiding light to follow. It's common (even expected) for marketing campaigns to have overlapping goals, as each department has its own priorities, but this is an opportunity for a successful digital campaign. While you can certainly have more than one goal, the main goal needs to be clear and specific. Others can be added later.

Next, decide who will lead the communication within your company. Multiple competing goals can lead to chaos, just as multiple and conflicting voices from the customer can lead to chaos. While multiple stakeholders can have a say in the partnership, there needs to be clarity about who will take the lead.

5 Things to Consider

In today's world, we are spoiled for choice when looking for a digital agency. However, some basic considerations will help you find the best agency for your business:

Service Range:

You are unlikely to find a single agency that specializes in services that will help you achieve your goals. It's okay to have more than one digital marketing agency, but make sure they don't work against each other or overlap too much.

When deciding which agency will take the lead, the range of services best suited to your primary objective will be decisive. Be transparent about the role each agency plays.

Sector Experience:

It can be tempting to base your decision solely on an agency's experience in your industry. While previous industry knowledge is useful, this alone does not guarantee a successful partnership. Often, it is more beneficial to understand how digital platforms fit across multiple industries. Broader sets of experience bring an understanding of how various customer journeys play out across the board.

Honest References:

Glowing testimonials are great, but they are not everything. Clients who no longer work with these agencies are the ones who can offer real insight into their brand.

Analytical Skills:

Data is everything, especially in paid media. A digital marketing agency that relies solely on platform-specific analytics is a red flag. It's not holistic attribution and you'll never really know how your campaign is progressing if these are the only attribution capabilities they use. It's crucial to ask how they analyze data, which attribution platforms they use, and how often campaigns are optimized based on the analysis.

Cultural Cohesion:

The digital marketing agency you choose needs to align with your organization's culture. The agency is essentially your voice in the digital space, so they need to communicate the same brand strategy as you. Their communication style and business philosophy should also be similar for the partnership to be successful. For example, a digital marketing agency that focuses on traditional strategies may not partner well with an innovative brand that is eager to explore new and unconventional strategies.

What If Things Go Wrong?

It takes a lot of work to start the journey with a new agency. And there is often a lot of emotional involvement involved - so if you don't see the results you expected within a timeframe you thought was acceptable, it can be tempting to make an emotional decision, cut ties and move on.

But before you do, ask yourself whether the results you expect were clearly communicated upfront. Did you define success for the agency or was this image only in your mind? Secondly, is the timeframe you have set for these results to develop realistic? Digital marketing strategies don't deliver results overnight, and even if they do, they may not be sustainable in the long term. Expectations should be set in advance to avoid unnecessary conflicts. Define success and its milestones before you start. Then set a realistic timeline based on other campaigns in your industry.

Even if these points are clearly stated, there may be unavoidable influences that prevent you from achieving success with your chosen agency in the expected timeframe. If this happens, consider whether you can change your focus with the current agency rather than starting again with another agency. When shifting these levers, it is critical to make sure you are looking at the right data to support your decisions. But, most importantly, if you choose an agency that can analyze data holistically, this will not be a problem.

Ideally, you don't want to jump from one digital marketing agency to another. Long-term partnerships built on careful evaluation, clear communication of goals, transparent reporting and follow-up will ultimately serve your business, your agency and your clients. The longer you can cultivate such a symbiotic relationship, the greater the opportunity for your agency to truly become part of your team, and the more likely your clients are to reap the benefits of a synchronized brand voice that understands their journey.

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