Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

Nov 25 2015 | by JON FLETCHER

So things aren’t going as well as they should with your Digital Marketing and you need a new Digital Agency…. What follows next is a process that has established itself across many disciplines and works fairly well.

The challenge

The problem, sorry - challenge, with Digital Marketing is that it is unlikely that you or your colleagues will have a great deal of experience in the sector apart from what you have already done with your current agency - the ones you are not happy with. The same applies if you have worked in-house on your Digital Marketing projects.

The pitching process

At this point you most likely invite a selection of Digital Marketing agencies to pitch for the contract to take your web presence forward, sending them a carefully worded document of your requirements and a page or so about your business. The agency then has to read this and within a few days make sure that they are not only experts in Digital Marketing but also in your business. What took you years to learn they must now put together in a few days before coming along to prove themselves in a presentation lasting an hour or so.

The agency has a challenge here! There is no way that they can achieve the above (without prior or current competitor experience) and they need to be very careful about the amount of time that they allocate to the pitch process. It’s not a lack of commitment - it’s financial reality with agency staff requiring salaries even on the days when preparing for an eventually unsuccessful pitch. Given that typically the only source of income for an agency is its clients, it follows that the clients who choose to work with an agency will end up indirectly paying for the unsuccessful pitches that agency makes.

The client, in the meantime, has an hour or so each and some reading materials to be able to choose between these agencies who have had insufficient time to really get to know the client and a restricted amount of time and budget to apply to the process. They then have to commit a potentially career limiting budget on the basis of this to the agency who presents the best.

So it’s no wonder that mismatches occur and that some agencies spend more time on presentation than substance. Those well spoken, confident and polished presenters who disappear as soon as the pitch is won are there because the agency needs to find a way of almost doing the impossible and if they don’t the competition will.

A solution

There is however a very simple solution and one which should always form part of your selection process: 

The secret is to recognise the above and to select an agency to get to know you and your business and to produce a consultancy report or development plan for your digital marketing over the next one to three years. This will allow the agency sufficient time and funding to be able to really get to know you and to be able to produce something of real value.

Of course you may still choose the wrong agency, but the worst case scenario is that you’ll waste a small fraction of what it will cost you to choose the wrong agency in the model above. You will find that it is much easier to make your choice as the people in front of you will have to be more than good presenters and salesmen, they will really need to know their subject and as a result be far more likely to be those who will work on your account.

Looking on the bright side, and assuming you choose a good agency, you will now have a well researched and effective Digital Marketing Development Plan for the next few years implemented by an agency that truly knows your business.

And finally...

The key thing is, in the first model the agency will have to spend the time getting to know you and preparing a plan anyway. The second model just allows you to defer the decision and make absolutely sure you’ve got the right match.

AlphaQuad have been providing Digital Marketing Strategy and Development plans since 1998. Our team of experienced consultants will help you ensure that your time and budget are not wasted by poor agency selection. We are more than capable of then assisting you with the implementation of the strategy but equally happy to work with your existing agency or helping you select a new one.

Let me know if you would like to find out more about this or any other related matter.