What should you look for in a digital marketing agency?
Why hire a digital marketing agency?
There are many reasons why an organisation may hire the services of a digital marketing agency. It could be as simple as not having the time to manage their social media platforms. What if your company knows its own industry inside out but has absolutely no understanding of digital marketing matters? You may have a solid grasp of some aspects of your marketing but need the digital marketing agency’s expertise to fill in some gaps and slot in seamlessly with your own activities. Perhaps you have some ideas that need fleshing out.
Either way, your business is your business and you care about it as much as you would care for a family member. You want to see it grow. You want to see it succeed. You want others to love it just as you do. So, whatever your need, what should you look for in a digital marketing agency?
Attention to detail
I have mentioned this first and foremost because it is a quality that can be applied to almost any scenario regardless of the level of expertise involved. If you go to a restaurant and ask them to present a happy anniversary cake to your beloved, the least you can expect is that they follow simple instructions and pay attention to the details. There is no reason why they shouldn’t spell your partner’s name right, get the colours right, make the cake out of the right materials or present the cake at the right time of the evening according to your plans. It’s not brain surgery.
Working within a digital marketing agency, we know there are lots of things we can’t control. We can’t force somebody to notice a post or click on a link and we can’t tell Google what to do but we can make sure that our T’s are crossed and our I’s are dotted.
When you hire a digital marketing agency, you will expect results from its activities and if its ideas are consistently not delivering results you probably won’t retain its services for long. However, from an objective point of view, developing a realistic concept which is planned and executed correctly but which does not deliver the results IS forgivable, especially if its flaws are picked up on quickly, during the process, and a strategic change of course is actioned. What is not acceptable and what is not forgivable is where ideas repeatedly fail because of a lack of attention to detail in the implementation. You are right to expect your digital marketing agency to go through any content they produce on your behalf with a fine comb and make sure it is presenting you in a positive light.
This can cover many things. You may only be hiring your digital marketing agency to tick one box in the process, to perform one task within tight parameters but versatility is still a must-have attribute.
Your business is important to you. Like anything that is important to us, when there is an issue to be resolved or a challenge to be overcome, it is natural to only be concerned with finding the resolution. When you call your digital marketing agency for help, the last thing you want to hear is “that’s not our problem” or “that’s not what you pay us for”. Of course it is important that agreements are made at the start of the relationship and we are not suggesting that a marketing agency should be held responsible for fixing your flat tyre however, in the spirit of being solutions-focused, client focused and flexible, there should be a willingness to do what it takes to deliver results.
The more versatile the digital marketing agency is in how it can respond to situations, the more valuable it is to you and your business. An agency’s versatility will depend on the skills of its people, and the attitude of the agency and its team members. Let’s look at attitude.
Does your agency care?
This is a value that will impact on all the other elements discussed in this article. If somebody doesn’t care enough, they won’t proofread their own work. If somebody doesn’t care enough they will not think creatively; they will think about the easiest route which means repeating what others have done without scrutiny. If somebody doesn’t care enough, they will only be concerned with doing what has been outlined in their agreement as opposed to going the extra mile.
This is the real world and sometimes people find themselves in roles they don’t particularly enjoy as part of their roadmap to greatness. We all find ourselves in situations where we don’t love what we do. That said, we can take pride in our work. The best digital marketing teams are the ones that care about you and your requirements, that have a passion about jumping through digital marketing hops and finding ways around obstacles. They have employed team players who have a hunger for knowledge and a desire to be versatile, and who understand that being part of a successful team that makes clients happy is as much their own personal responsibility as anyone else’s.
A marketing agency that cares will treat your projects as its projects. It will care as much about your success as you do.
You have to be in it to win it. If nobody ever considered a new idea nothing would change. Can you imagine a world without the gadgets of the modern age? The average smartphone is many times more powerful than the home computers that I grew up with. The world enjoys the technology it has developed because of two things: somebody asked the question “what if?” and they were not afraid to talk about the answers they came up with even when those answers seemed utterly insane.
Here’s a few examples of creative bravery:
- What if we could get somebody to actually walk on the moon?
- What if we could split the atom?
- What if we could talk to somebody on the other side of the country without going over to see them?
- What if we could all connect and share information electronically using a network of computers?
Does the marketing agency you choose have to be an award winning mover and shaker that is rocking the world with its innovative ideas? Well, there’s nothing wrong with that but there are far more fantastic, creative and successful agencies than there are awards. Sometimes the shy ones are the greatest. What does count is that you hire a firm that will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of achieving your goals; one that will ask the question “what if” in relation to delivering on your KPIs, and not be afraid of exploring all the responses to that question.
This is up there with caring but there is a difference. I can care about how my son performs at school. Whether or not he gains top marks academically really matters to me but that is not taking ownership of it. If I want to take ownership of it, I will view his results as my results and I will be doing everything in my power to ensure he can get the right results.
It is no different for a digital marketing agency. Make sure the agency that you hire treats your business as its business. You are hiring an agency for a reason and while the reasons for using one may differ from client to client, there is an objective that you want to achieve. Once the agency is involved, your objective MUST become their objective. For that agency to take effective ownership takes the right leadership and the right team comprising individuals who also take ownership of their involvement in delivering results.
Taking ownership will ensure that your digital marketing agency care about the outcome. It will mean that it will look at all options – the adventurous as well as the tried and tested – to find the effective method of reaching your goal, and it will mean that its people will pay close attention to detail in the execution of tasks. A smart agency will adopt an agile approach to ensure that if what it is doing is not working it has the ability to respond quickly and appropriately with a change of course, using a workforce that is able to adapt to ever changing circumstances.
Whatever type of service you are looking for if you find a person or organisation who embodies these five qualities, you won’t go wrong. Here’s a quick summary:
- Attention to detail
- A passion for results
- Creative bravery
- Takes ownership
Here at MSA, we believe in these principles so much that they are sealed within our company culture and incorporated into the personal development plans of each of our team members. Are you hiring service providers that embody these values? What values do you look for in a digital marketing agency?