Updated: Feb 23
The 3 fundamental steps to not fail in choosing the best marketing agency
If we do a quick web search by digital marketing agencies in Canada on the site Clutch.co - one of the best-known business guides in the country, we will find more than 1300 companies registered in this category only. With this number of suppliers, how do you decide which one can best match the needs of a brand? Rather than betting on what has been indicated by a friend or by what is apparently the cheapest, it is necessary to evaluate some crucial points before signing any contract, such as the agency's area of activity and the services provided, the level of planning performed before to present any plan and obviously the satisfaction of the current clients.
But before you evaluate the right digital partner, you need to do a self-analysis and prepare yourself as a client. First, you have to ask yourself what you want from this new relationship, and you have to do your homework and set goals, timelines, and evaluation metrics by setting up an excellent briefing to be analyzed and to be fine-tuned at kick-off meetings with the chosen agency. Second, expectations must be prepared, opening the mind to new ideas and especially to new proposals for solutions. The marketing and communications market has changed a lot in the last decade, and many of the professionals who are leading some big companies have not kept up with this change. It is necessary to understand that consumers are increasingly present in the mobile environment, and one of the most robust client-brand communication platforms are social media.
Specialist or full service?
The agency evaluation begins by analyzing the services offered. It is necessary to understand if the agency evaluated has know-how enough in the various customer touchpoints. Nowadays there's no advantage just have a good product, a well-designed website, and weekly posts on Facebook. You have to be present at different points of interaction, you have to offer the best content format for that particular target, you have to be well-ranked in Google's search results and especially be mobile-ready. Website-centric, browser-centric solutions are dying and giving voice to hybrid apps, operating in the most different formats of screens such as mobile, desktop, TV, and home appliances.
It is necessary to understand first, then explain
Another key point in evaluating an agency is the level of understanding and planning it presents. The traditional model of an advertising agency as a media intermediary has died for some years now, and it is necessary to search for the one that will most understand your business. The agency should be acting not only as a communication agency but as a business consultancy that uses the premises of the marketing to provide the best interface between the company and the consumers.
We are in the era of performance, and digital communication has brought us total control of the information and database, with the possibility of a real-time change of strategy. As a client, you must understand that there is no absolute truth, we no longer live in the era of the unique idea, the ego above the results, today we must stop and re-evaluate the strategy constantly. We have to adjust some points always to seek the best return on investment (ROI), still focusing on reducing Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and the ability to keep existing clients returning, the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
Who does well done has satisfied customers
Finally, a crucial point in evaluating an agency is the satisfaction of the clients it manages. This valid premise for any business also works very well in the world of communicating, satisfied customers are the best sign that the agency delivers results, and that's what any customer looks for. Analyzing the success cases made available on the company website is a good start, but not enough. You need to check the reviews available on Google and maybe even get in touch with some customers to get more details on how to work and the quality of the service.
Choosing an agency that will take care of your business by your side is not an easy task, but following a few necessary steps like evaluating the services offered, the level of strategic planning, and the results presented are points that make a choice much more appropriate for your business. Increasingly, agencies will stop being just media vendors to become business partners with the goal of identifying, targeting, and delivering a customized experience to their customers.
Andre Havro, MBA