Choosing a digital agency to partner with is a big decision, whether it is for a particular project or for long term, ongoing work. You need to choose a company who offer a great service, good value for money and who understand you and your business. So what are the most crucial 5 things you should ask before committing to that relationship?
How did we do last year?
It might sound like a trick question but by getting the agency to give an honest assessment of your company’s performance in the previous year, you can immediately learn a few things about them. First, are they the type of people that just flatter? That’s a bad sign because they are too happy to please for the sake of it. Secondly, do they have a good idea of what worked and what didn’t to apply to forthcoming projects? You will already know yourself what worked from your own figures but it is interesting to get their take on it.
What else do we need to do to ensure success?
Another slightly theoretical question to ask before starting with the agency is to get them to tell you what they would do, if they were in your place. You may have a marketing strategy in mind or some ideas about what your business needs to do to grow. Let them give you their ideas, strategies and developments based on their experience. There’s no saying you need to do what they say but it gives you an insight into their approaches and you might get an idea or two along the way.
What trends are going to affect us in the next 12 months?
Understanding what works now and what will work in the next twelve months is an important element for a digital agency. While no-one knows for certain how marketing will develop, what new algorithms will be released and even what new ideas will emerge, good marketers will have ideas and studies that can give them a strong idea. That way they can start making changes to their processes at an early stage and be at the forefront of any developments, taking your business along with them.
How will you approach the relationship?
Once you have tested the waters with theoretical questions, you want to start getting into the tough stuff.
Questions about how they will approach the relationship can be the deciding ones. For example, who will be dealing with the account? Would your company be their largest or smallest client – you really want to be in the middle to get the best service because if you are their largest, they may be overwhelmed by your needs and if you are the smallest, you may get ignored for the big boys.
How will you communicate, plan and manage the account?
Another issue is how they will plan and formulate the strategy for the business. If you look at marketing agencies in London, then they might offer to visit your business if you are in the city while others will do most things online. It should be clear from the start what their process will be, what they need from you and how they will communicate what they are doing. A schedule for updates or regular meetings to discuss progress are both good approaches.
Many agencies will layout the first 90 days of the project to start with, detailing what will happen and what the anticipated results are going to be. After that period, it can be advisable to conduct a full scale review and see if the results measured up to what was promised.