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When To Swipe Right On A Digital Ad Agency

Written By Ludwig Spies

4 min read
When To Swipe Right On A Digital Ad Agency

Really gets you

Is by your side 100% of the time

Is honest about where you stand

Supposedly, these are standard requirements in the marketing industry. Yet many agencies struggle to meet them. Our new business leads often tell us that they have struggled to find partners who can provide relevant initial and on-going recommendations based on true understanding. We asked three of our account managers – Parveen Bradley, Brittany Priest-Jones and Robyn Stubbings – to share their thoughts on the subject.

‘Recently, a prospective client told me that she is frustrated by her current agency’s lack of understanding. Despite a lot of effort from the client’s side, they’re just not getting her briefs, objectives and requests’, says Parveen.

‘She actually wants an agency with the stamina and agility to evolve a successful strategy, but her current partner hasn’t even locked down a basic understanding of what she wants’.

Finding an agency partner that can ‘walk the talk’ with you is actually not that easy. So, we’ve compiled some pointers to consider when choosing a digital marketing agency for your brand.

Goals and objectives

Naturally, you already have several goals and objectives in mind, but your digital marketing company should be assisting you with developing those goals and objectives.

Parveen explains: ‘An objective should always be dissected. If the objective is brand awareness, we need to ask why there is a lack of brand awareness in the first place. Is this a new player in the market? Has the brand not actively marketed itself before? Are they communicating on the wrong channels? Is it a budget, credibility or messaging issue? You have to ask these questions in order to determine the best way of achieving that objective.’

‘Once you’ve deconstructed those goals and objectives, you’ll also find that achieving them fully isn’t down to one role-player, channel or activity’, says Brittany. ‘It’s an important exercise that ensures roles are correctly assigned between client and agency. That makes for effective collaboration.’

Your Brand

It can be very challenging to pin down the heart of your brand. Even when you have a clear, strong feeling for who and what your brand is, it can be difficult to communicate. Parveen and Brittany agree that a good digital marketing agency must be able to help you clarify your identity if necessary and help you find the language to express it.

‘It may sound obvious, but figuring out who you are as a business is so important. It's worth mentioning because a lot of businesses don’t do it and their marketing partners are not speaking up and assisting them’, says Parveen.

‘This is probably why there’s so much misunderstanding between businesses and agencies’, adds Brittany. ‘Distilling an identity is the first step to alignment and partnership.’

Your Budget

Setting a budget is easy. It’s just an amount that you’re able or willing to spend. Defining a budget is a much deeper exercise and one that’s crucial for performance.

‘Agencies often do not have a conversation with their clients about what their budget can leverage’, says Robyn. ‘KPIs are as integral to a budget as the line items. They can’t be pulled from thin air. They have to be monitored and evaluated constantly. There’s so much to consider. How are they defined? Based on what information? Are they realistic? Do we need to adjust up or down? A budget without KPIs is essentially meaningless.’

Your relationship

Your agency should care – a lot. They should care about what you’re trying to achieve, not just in marketing terms, but as a business or organisation. They should care enough about what you do that it motivates them to innovate, investigate and implement in pursuit of your goals.

‘Depending on your objectives, I’m inclined to recommend agencies that have individual digital marketing specialists and teams dedicated to particular services under one roof’, says Robyn. ‘Generalists have their place in the industry, but many projects can’t be successful without a team of specialised resources.’

Red Flags

There are some things that should make you think twice, even if you’re feeling positive about an agency. Parveen, Brittany and Robyn pointed out the following:

Avoid being locked into unreasonable, long-term contracts without adequate exit clauses. 

Avoid digital marketing companies who are vague about the monitoring and reporting to which they will commit. 

Avoid agencies who do not pair you with an assigned contact with whom you can build a partnership. 

Your agency shouldn’t just be focused on getting the job done. They should really be thinking about how they’re getting the job done. Is their work only focused on the immediate? Or do they do the current job with the sustainability and longevity of your brand in mind? Are they passing problems on or devising solutions along the way?

Successful marketing requires partnership between brand and agency, mutual contribution and mutual value. Understanding, transparency and trust should be the foundation of your relationship. If not, it might be time to get back out there. There are plenty fish in the sea. Keep your eyes open for the right stuff and you’re sure to land quite a catch.

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