Selecting the right marketing agency partner is as important as getting a professional marketer onboard to run your marketing operations. Companies often overlook some of the key qualities which can prove detrimental in the long run.
Having been part of many digital marketing agency evaluations, I notice that decisions are often made based on the agency’s previous work, portfolio, and experience. While these are extremely important criteria for your evaluation, there other aspects which are equally important for a successful partnership.
#1 Domain Understanding
Does your prospective agency understand your business?
We’re not asking for subject matter expertise here. Or that the agency should have worked in similar field earlier. While that would be a definite bonus, it is important for the agency partner to have a fair understanding of how your business is run, what is the buying process, what are best marketing practices to be followed in your space, etc. Look for agencies that have successfully launched and nurtured brands in varied industries. That’s an ideal testimony of their capability to diversify their skills across verticals.
#2 Flexibility & Fire
Will their life depend on how successful you are with your marketing programs? Are you a big enough customer for them that they will go the extra mile to keep you happy?
You must ask these questions to yourself. Most companies look for large agencies who serve 10s and 100s of customers. The problem is, these agencies are extremely stringent with their processes, scope, and delivery.
Every little deviation from the scope will demand extra budget or you will begin to see lower quality of work delivered. The problem is not with the quality of their resources but the way their priorities change with rising and frequently changing demands.
Also, it would not matter to them if they lose you as a customer. So choose an agency who has the hunger and fire in the belly to please you every step in the game. To identify such players, look for the ones that constantly ask questions and those that continuously engage with you to make your projects shine.
#3 Partnership Mindset
Is the agency willing to take ownership of outcomes and results?
We live in a performance-driven world. You are measured by outcomes and not efforts – so has to be with your agency.
Of course there are several moving parts to define a performance driven remuneration model for your agency partner. But the point here is, whether your marketing agency partner is willing to agree to a fair performance-driven model. Are they willing to take full ownership of the outcomes, your business reaps from their efforts? If yes, you have found a partner in them.
This one is a no-brainer and probably should top the list.
You Digital Marketing Agency partner should have skills, resources and experience to deliver marketing programs of the scale and magnitude that you envisage.
Today, most SEO Agencies market themselves as Digital Marketing agencies, but SEO is only a small piece of the whole Digital Marketing game.
Make sure your Digital Marketing Agency can provide you diverse skills including SEO, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Blogging, Creative Design, Inbound Marketing and more.
One cannot stress enough on the fact that your agency partner needs to stand by you in the hour of need. Digital Marketing is a tech-driven business. Every company will have unfortunate incidents with regards to their website, hosting, malware attacks, etc.
There will also be business demands to deliver certain campaigns at neck breaking speeds.
Nothing can compensate the ownership and dependability demonstrated by your partner. You can compromise on skills and know how, but ownership and attitude are traits you should not compromise on.
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