1. Who has got your back?
How many times have the “big wigs” rolled in to present you with a proposal to win your account. Only to find when it is all said and done that you’re just another unimportant client handled by one of the many account coordinators.
When selecting a digital agency – whether that be search, online advertising or mobile marketing it is important to understand who will be managing your account and in particular what their level of experience is.
You should also consider if the agency is best placed in the field to handle your account. With the online being so diverse, it is difficult for an agency to excel in every area of online – so drill down and find out what their true specialisations are.
2. Validating Their Track Record
Client logo’s and case studies are often presented during the pitch phase, but what is of key importance is to go beyond the information presented. It is important to;
1) Understand the outcomes achieved and what role the agency played within the process
2) Determine whether or not the client is still working with the agency, and if not why not
3) Not take their word for it, speak with some of their clients directly about the information presented within the case studies and the overall level of service.
3. Size Does Matter
An age old rule to choosing an agency is to match the size of your organisation/budget with an agency of a similar size/used to working with similar sized budgets. If you are a small to medium sized organisation chances are you will not be a priority to a large agency – thus will not receive the attention your account deserves.
One of the key benefits of online marketing is measurability – but will your online agency be open and transparent with your account. For example on the paid search side will they provide log ins to your Google account so you can see what is going on? On the organic search side will they be honest about the techniques that they are adopting and on the email marketing do you have the ability to log in and see real live stats? Will your agency provide you with the transparency to understand what their resources are spending their time on – after all you are paying them by the hour.
5. Have you read the fine print?
If you do decide to use the agency make sure you are aware of where the intellectual property lies. For example if you want to move your paid search account, does your agency own your keywords and the bidding strategies? Does your agency have a conflict policy to ensure your digital agency does not work with competing brands?