If you need a digital marketing agency but do not know, where and how to find it, read on.
CEOs, Marketing Heads, Brand Managers, Founders, and other top leaders in charge of businesses, in India at least, tend to be very agency-savvy. But the agency type they have conventionally handled is the traditional type. Most leaders do not get the difference between an advertising agency and a digital marketing agency.
To make matters worse, there are a lot of traditional advertising agencies posing as digital marketing agencies. It is important to know the difference.
While the advertising agency (as a concept) has been around for quite some time and served the purposes of conventional or traditional marketing, a digital marketing agency is most suited to growing digitally and eventually to growing in terms of business and revenue.
Our experience with businesses reveals that while the leaders understand the importance of digital marketing, they go to digital marketing agencies with the advertising agency mindset. This has several disastrous consequences.
Consequences of Hiring the Wrong Digital Marketing Agency:
1. The leaders do not know how to make sense of the results.
2. The leaders feel that the output they receive is not as per the brief they had given to the agency.
3. The agency complains that the business or the client representative did not give a precise brief.
4. The leaders are disappointed with the results.
The problem lies in the way both parties approach the problem and the solution.
This is a guide to help you identify the digital marketing agency that’s the right fit for you. Because the right digital marketing agency understands what you need and helps you grow your business.
This guide consists of the questions you should use to compare, shortlist and finally pick a digital marketing agency.
But before you get to these questions per se, you need to understand what you should not ask!
Questions that you should not ask a Digital Marketing Agency:
1. What do you guys post? Videos? GIFs? Pictures? Blogs?
2. Do you only make Facebook posts?
3. Do Instagram posts cost extra?
4. Do you make memes?
5. How much do you charge per meme?
If you’ve been asking the above questions, you put the agency in an advantageous position. Because these questions betray the fact that you do not quite understand many things about going digital. Some of the aspects of digital marketing include:
Digital Marketing Questions to Ask Yourself — Part 1 (A Reality Check)
1. What is a digital marketing agency anyway?
2. When and why is it used?
3. Where and how do you practice digital marketing?
4. How do you ensure your digital marketing strategy meets your needs and goals?
5. How do you measure the effectiveness of your strategy and content types?
6. Should you be going by awards the agency has got?
7. Should you be going by the ‘views’ that the agency is promising you?
8. How do these awards and impressions translate into ROI?
In order to avoid being taken for a ride by an advertising agency (that may be pretending to be a digital one), you’ve got to do your due diligence. You’ve got to understand digital marketing before you put forth any questions to an agency.
The correct way forward is to learn to ask the right questions. But first to yourself.
Digital Marketing Questions to Ask Yourself — Part 2 (Introspection)
1. What stage of business are you in? Startup? Established? Growing?
2. Will digital marketing help you in the next 5 years?
3. Do you have a digital marketing team to help you bridge the gap?
4. Who will manage the digital agency you’re planning to hire? (Please don’t hire an agency if you don’t have a digital manager!)
Once you’re sure you have the right resources to go ahead, there are more questions for you to consider:
Digital Marketing Questions to Ask Yourself — Part 3 (Getting Practical)
1. What role do you see a digital agency playing in your growth journey?
2. Do you need an agency to play that role?
3. Will that role help you meet your goals?
4. What’s your pain area or the problem that you immediately seek to solve: customer acquisition, lead generation, or brand building?
5. Where has traditional marketing and advertising fallen short in not giving you the ROI?
6. What is your customer acquisition cost? Is it high or low?
7. Are you familiar with the digital transformation trends in your industry?
8. Will digital transformation affect you?
9. How are you prepared for digital transformation?
Getting into a relationship with a digital marketing agency requires serious clarity or you won’t be able to maintain the relationship for very long.
It requires a serious commitment to understanding the scope of digital marketing and tremendous patience with the methods that your agency is trying on your behalf. These methods are new to you, so you are likely to get impatient. Digital seems easier to reach out to the masses because reach becomes a matter of clicks. But the results are slow to arrive.
We have seen many a relationship between agencies and businesses sour because of a lack of shared understanding about digital marketing goals, the means to achieve those goals, and the gestation period allowed to meet those goals.
If you ask yourself questions about digital marketing methods, you’ll know it if you’re being cheated. Let’s give you an example.
It’s not uncommon to see huge front-page ads in newspapers detailing different products during the announcement of a sale. If both the fake digital agency and the client are not careful, they’ll end up paying a 7 figure amount for a front-page ad with QR codes! The fake agency will pass it off as an integration mechanism. But this print ad with QR codes would not become a digital ad at all!
To avoid committing such grave errors, you must be able to truly gauge the merits of an agency.
Here are the questions that will help you do that.
Digital Marketing Questions to Ask Yourself — Part 4 (The Real Stuff)
1. Does my business/brand need a website?
2. Does my business/brand need an app?
3. How will my business/brand benefit from SEO?
4. Does my business/brand need an agency at all?
5. Does my business/brand need a chatbot?
6. Am I clear about the uses and abuses of mobility, email, content, and campaigns?
If you really understand the digital tools you are about to use, and you are really committed to cooperating with an agency, then, by all means, look at the list of agencies you may have put together.
If an online search for digital marketing agencies has left you clueless, you could get in touch with us. We can help you find one that understands your needs and of course, fits your budget.
If you’re determined to try it out on your own, here’s how you should go about it.
Questions to Ask a Digital Marketing Agency (To Understand If It Understands You At All)
1. Can you tell me what I need?
2. Do I need you to rate my franchise?
3. Do I need you to build my channel?
4. Do I need you at all?
Questions to Ask a Digital Marketing Agency (To Understand If It Understands Its Own Job Well)
1. Why do I need you?
2. For how long do I need you?
3. How do you evaluate the digital assets & digital presence of a brand?
4. How do you decide upon a digital marketing strategy?
5. Do you do persona research? How is it different from traditional research?
6. How does persona research support digital marketing strategy?
7. What are the components of the digital marketing campaigns they undertake?
8. How do you do Search Engine Marketing?
9. What’s your approach to Content Marketing?
10. How do you do Social Media Marketing?
11. How do you map content strategy to the buyer’s journey?
12. How do you measure the effectiveness of digital marketing?
13. What’s your approach to design in digital marketing?
14. How do you use analytics to measure the effectiveness of a digital marketing campaign?
15. Do you address mobile apps in your digital marketing strategy?
16. Do you do display advertising?
17. Do you take care of e-commerce marketing?
18. Have you worked in the area of influencer marketing?
19. Do you take care of email & SMS marketing as well?
The point behind so many questions is this: will you buy a shoe in size 11 just because it’s available for 70% discount when your size is 7?
These questions are the equivalent of the size criterion when you shop for clothes or shoes. Without the lens of these questions, you may be buying random, unrelated jargon like:
2. Google Ads
Invest in hiring a proper digital marketing head, if not a whole team. Digital marketing requires serious commitment, alertness, and consistency to put out great content with a proper strategy in mind. It also requires constant monitoring, listening, and engagement with the customers.
It is the consultants’ business to know every business. Talking to consultants can help you in identifying and articulating what you need. It’s not unusual for businesses to go to agencies with a rather obvious brief — that they want more business.
Everybody wants more business. That’s obvious. Nobody would go to an agency for reducing business. But the point is to identify how to get all the business you want. And all that comes out of understanding your business not as you see it. But through the lens of the other stakeholders — like your customers, for instance.
Consultants can help you diagnose what ails your growth. They can also help you evaluate the agency’s methods, strategy, and outcomes.
Do not go to an agency with an uninformed team or brand manager. That would be like hiring a brand ambassador and not knowing how to make the most out of the relationship. Would you spend crores on hiring one and let it be managed carelessly? You would realize the celebrity got away with a one-day shoot and all you have is a set of images that you have to repeat endlessly in different campaigns. You would regret that you did not leverage such an expensive opportunity well.
It is a good sign to move on from working with a typical advertising agency to a full-fledged digital marketing agency. As someone in charge of leading business and strategy decisions, you may not have the time to get into digital marketing philosophy in great detail. But as a CEO, Founder, Brand Manager, or Marketing Head, you carry a huge responsibility to understand what it takes for a brand to make it big online.
The questions that you should ask yourself and your agency will help you and your agency to be and stay on the same page regarding your needs and the parameters by which any attempt should be judged.
In the long run, how you will find a digital marketing agency that understands your needs depends on the steps that you take to educate and empower yourself.
Education and empowerment begin with asking the right questions.
So what questions have you been thinking about? Do tell us in the comments below.