2017 has become a golden era for digital agencies. UK online retail sales eclipsed 100bn in 2014 reflecting the nations insatiable appetite for purchasing online. With digital ad spend increasing by 800% between 2004 and 2014 to 7.2 Billion, brands are answering consumer demand and investing heavily within their online presence. The rapid growth and development of online investment and increased option of advertising platforms ensures that digital marketing roles have rapidly evolved to become multi-disciplined and complex. Agencies are therefore an attractive option for brands planning to deliver quickly on digital campaigns and projects.
The process of selecting marketing websites should be the identical to for hiring a permanent member of staff. Even though the relationship varies, the selection criteria are similar.
In both cases you wish to hire specific skills that deliver value to the organisation. Being sure that an agency is capable of deliver over a brief and definately will remain accountable within a campaign or project is one thing you will equally expect of your employee.
Agencies are generally adept at pitching for business since they will regularly face the same questions from potential customers. Usually a potted reputation of the agency using a client listing of recognisable brands is going to be enough to make confidence in their abilities.
Once you`ve told the agency what you wish these people to do, and exactly how much you have to spend then your digital cards are organized around the table.
If you`re going to decide if the agency is right for your organization, then you will want to inquire probing questions about their team, experience and competence. The aim is always to know the way the relationship will work and just what the likelihood is of those delivering in your goals.
Budget may be notoriously difficult for SMBs to define as frequently they need to invest according to expected ROI. Its an error to support back on revealing possible budget for an agency, as being a campaign or project could be delivered with varying levels of quality depending on spend. Its important to target value, not just cost.
If you`re clear about what you wish the agency to do, and the impact that will have in your business, then you will be able to put at least helpful tips price of what that service is worth.
Outsourcing is not really by itself a bad thing in any way. If work is being outsourced to specialists then its more cost effective and scalable than hiring permanent staff without compromising quality. The challenge for the agency (that you should explore) is the way well they may maintain these freelance relationships to make sure a continuous level of company to their clientele.
There aren`t many brands that are looking about marketing1on1 to disappear right into a black hole as soon as they sign the agreement. Requesting specifics around the project management and progress tracking including tools, frequency and metrics will provide clarity about the working relationship.
Too frequently, the everyday management is glossed over on the pitching stage rather than assessing the agencys power to give you the end goal. Asking questions about tracking and reporting implies that youre focused on delivery and value along with an agency should respond positively to this particular.
Even if youre 99% sure youre going to join up using a particular agency, its still worth shopping around for comparable quotes. Saving your financial allowance means it could be spent elsewhere, and speaking with other digital specialists signifies that youll get yourself a different perspective on the right method for your project on everything from platform choice to advertising channel.
If you`re by using a tiny budget, then try some long tail Google searches varying by UK region to locate agencies that dont have a large advertising dedicate to AdWords. You will find cases of smaller digital agencies and consultants that white label their services through more costly, larger agencies that manage the sales pipeline. This is one way to scale value on a small budget.
The only time you`ll ever wish you checked an employment reference is when a romantic relationship goes completely wrong. Make sure you talk to the agencys references prior to signing an agreement. The proper a chance to check references is in final stage of selection, once you have several shortlisted agencies. Seeking references at an earlier stage can be unfair on the agency if you are not even interested in signing them up.
Be mindful that delaying reference checks until youre able to sign an agreement may be too late, as the decision is virtually made. This bias within them being the only option in the table means theres a robust chance you wont review their references thoroughly.
Contract negotiation can be something you either love or hate. Often those that adore it try and fight the charge up or down without considering value, and those that hate it really pay the list price to avoid conflict. Either scenario can get a poor deal.
The most effective negotiation tactic is to be flexible to have what you wish. You need to do this by being clear regarding your deal breakers, but have a listing of concessions you`d be ready to help make to get these terms. By way of example, if the quote is above your finances then that`s an arrangement breaker. You could bring it down by agreeing to your longer contract term or no break clause.
It`s a very good idea to insert a break clause in the first campaign like a project progress checkpoint. This will likely are typically 3-half a year, but must be realistic based upon just what the project is.
In case the agency don`t hit their target at this point, and there`s no break clause then you`re forced to still hire an agency that isn`t delivering. This is often a serious, 28dexapky situation and costly to rectify. If there`s justification to the missed target, then the decision to continue or otherwise rests in your hands while not having to experience a disorganized contract termination.
For those planning to develop their negotiation skills, I would recommend a fantastic book called Becoming More by Stuart Diamond.
Just like checking references, you should ask to fulfill other people in the agency if you feel positive about their abilities to deliver. Visiting their offices, and meeting the individuals who`ll be delivering your job means you can test the competence and professionalism from the team as a whole.
Certainly one of my clients recently produced a decision not to sign up contact marketing1on1 at final stage in the basis that on visiting their offices, these people were unable to acquire a laptop up and running to show in their mind.
Many agencies involves their delivery team with the pitch stage, but for people who don`t it`s good to understand who you`ll work with if you join.