7 things to consider when choosing a digital agency

Creative Imagineering is a boutique digital agency situated in Cape Town South Africa. We have decided to look at 7 things to consider when choosing a digital agency – more from the agency perspective. Here are the points we think you should consider over and above say, reference checking, or how many well known accounts this agency may have worked on.

Creative Imagineering - 7 things to consider when choosing a digital agencyYou absolutely have to invest in your online presence

Over the past decade, brands have responded to customer demands and are now spending heavily on their online presence. Due to the speedy growth of online spending and increased access to advertising platforms across all disciplines online,  the digital marketing agency’s role has evolved to be quite complex. The need for a multi-disciplined approach to marketing has made the use of an agency an attractive option when you are looking for speed of delivery on digital campaigns and projects. If you plan to increase your digital spend, you will need to rely on an agency to fill the skills gap.

Understand that digital agency is a broad term

The term “digital agency” is rather a broad word to say the least.  A digital agency could specialise in branding, digital design and marketing or may only offer marketing services or only websites and marketing. Do they only deal with a specific area of marketing (social media), or a few specific areas (paid and organic search and SEO)? It’s vital that you know what type of agency you’re looking for before you start the search.

Does your niche digital agency understand the marketing mix

An agency dealing with niche marketing (like website design) may have more expertise with that area, but it’s vital they understand how it links together. For example, if your website is receiving most of its traffic from your social media platforms, but creating a high bounce rate due to poor landing page marketing, the social media department  that takes this up and raises this as a problem is doing a good job.

Can you communicate your goals and budget

As a customer seeking the advice from and a partnership with an agency, remember it isn’t really about knowing exactly what type of marketing you’re looking for, but rather what your actual business goals are, as well as your budget. This will allow you to be open to an agency creating a proposal based on your situation, goals and budget. You will not then be choosing an agency only based on their reputation, and will be allowing delivery from an agency that really forms a partnership with your business and brand.

Are you ready to partner with an agency or are you looking to outsource your problem

If you are seeking a partnership with an agency, you must take into consideration that you cannot outsource your problems. A digital agency will bring expertise in marketing, skills in design and development, creative and strategic input and even consumer insights. What you will bring to the party is your business intelligence. It will be up to you to communicate what your expectations of the marketing are and be ready to provide information when required. An agency cannot be responsible for the success of your marketing without your solid input.

Be fair when looking at the costs for your campaign

How do you work out what is fair when partnering with an agency?  You will need to respect that some agencies have bigger margins than others and that very often you can receive the same service for a much less expensive fee. Don’t shy away from a less expensive agency and risk a large spend with an agency that has a bigger name and larger margin.  Ultimately, however, are you going to be happy with the value you get for the price? In all fairness if you as the client get off cheap at the expense of the agency you will be categorised as a difficult client and this may have an effect on the quality of work?

Measurable results are rarely immediate

Can your decision to be with an agency withstand the view that a high percentage of contracts only show results after a good period of time (sometimes only after 6 months)? The agency you pick should be able to define milestones for your campaign down the line in measurable terms. This comes down to knowing your budget and understanding the input from your side as a customer. Budget can be notoriously difficult for SMBs to define as often they want to invest based on expected ROI. It’s important to focus on value, not just cost.

Author: Lisa Leathes