How To Choose Your Digital Advertising Agency
Your brand’s digital presence is a process of development and growth – it doesn’t happen overnight. And, if you’re looking for external help, it doesn’t happen without a dedicated agency partner.
Developing the right partnership takes onboarding time. Think of it as onboarding a new employee; you don’t want to repeat the time and effort repeatedly. Even if each agency offers the same services, there will be differences in the way they operate and their agency values.
First, let’s talk through the values of both an internal marketing team and/or an external agency team.
Internal marketing teams are valuable to any organization. Often, they are the most intimately educated about your customers, product, service, and brand. We also find that internal teams have extensive knowledge in multiple categories to market your brand in the digital space – market research, social media, email marketing, and content development.
While internal marketing teams are valuable, the skills required for a robust digital advertising and marketing program are expanding quickly, and daily practice specific to technology advancements are necessary to keep up. That’s where an external digital advertising agency comes into play.
Internal marketing teams have strengths that can’t be replicated externally, but they have potential to lack the focus and capabilities to research, plan, execute, and measure advanced digital advertising campaigns.
Start with core competencies:
- Does this agency align with your brand’s values?
- Does the agency compliment your team’s strengths and weaknesses?
- How does the agency work within the growth mindset of your brand?
Take time to observe the agency leaders to see if they truly understand the complexities of digital advertising. True traditional agencies aren’t likely to ever fully understand digital – so, if you are looking at competencies between your team and an agency that was initially traditional or very creative based, keep looking.
Once you get past the core competencies, here are, from our perspective, the top 4 components of a robust digital advertising partner:
- Process. Does the agency have a process for:
- A proven method to launch a well thought-out advertising plan quickly and to make incremental improvements based on data collected.
- A keen understanding of how to develop and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) for digital campaigns.
- Prioritization of strategic values – a clear track to fully understand a campaign’s critical components, and the customer the campaign is reaching.
- Project Management. Do the agency’s project management practices set the relationship up for success by having:
- Effective communication that values time.
- Flexibility for changes in scope.
- A clear outline of what the agency requires from you, and their expectations.
- One central place to organize campaign assets, feedback, and details.
- Focus on ROI. Does the agency use data correctly to focus on leads, sales, and conversions by:
- Tracking custom campaigns and results from multiple properties correctly.
- Focusing on what advertising investments are profitable and positively affecting sales.
- Understanding your buyer persona’s decision journey to purchase your service to guide campaign changes and future plans.
- Advanced Technology and Tools. Are the tools and technology the agency uses advanced enough to:
- Streamline work processes and reduce time spent on redundant tasks.
- Put your brand in front of your customers in a natural, “right place at the right time” way?
Finally, does the agency value investing their time in research of new tools and educating themselves on how technology features available affect your advertising plans as a brand?
After an agency passes the “components test” it is time to take a look in the mirror and determine what type of client you are and want to be.
Do you want to hand everything off to the agency and have them “do it for you” or, do you want to control the vision in a “do it my way” style?
“Do it for me” clients typically spend more time determining who their agency partner will be. But once the decision is made, they trust their choice and push all of the work for direction and execution to the agency.
“Do it my way” clients prefer to have an agency follow their direction and their vision. They are looking for help getting it done with less feedback and collaboration.
Neither is right or wrong, just different. So when choosing your next digital advertising agency, be sure to take a look in the mirror, determine what type of client you are, and make sure the chosen agency works well in that type of relationship.
At New Path Digital, we thrive on collaborating with our clients and working toward an equal partnership. We want to use our expertise and knowledge to help our clients create plans and strategies in a long-term relationship. And, we want to be challenged and supported, while also challenging and supporting our clients in growing their brand.
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