5 Questions to Ask Your Next Digital Marketing Agency

If you’re looking to find your next digital marketing agency, these are five questions you need to ask when interviewing each digital marketing agency. The 5 questions series is one more way Agency Spotter makes your agency search and selection process easier.

questions to ask your next digital marketing agency

1. How Do You Measure Results? (KPI, ROI)

Measuring results is very important.  From both parties’ perspectives, it will be better in the long run if it’s clearly understood how progress will be monitored and what success looks like to avoid surprises later.

There is a strong possibility, if the digital marketing has a strong track record, that they will have a KPI system already in place. Does the way they measure align with your expectations? Depending on what is important to your business and what type of marketing you are doing, you might focus on monitoring traffic, cost per lead, conversion rate to a sale, and similar KPIs. What the agency specializes in will tell you a lot. For example, e-commerce companies tend to measure many steps all the way through to a sale and lifetime value (LTV) of a customer. Knowing what you need to report on and how much experience the agency has reporting on your KPIs will have help you select a better partner.

2. What Does Your Digital Marketing Agency Specialize In?

You need to know what your digital marketing agency specializes in so you have a strong, efficient partner. Digital marketing is a broad category with many types of digital services falling under its umbrella. When the digital marketing agency is clear on what they specialize in, it shows that they have a clear sense of direction. The agency should be able to back that up with past work to help you validate that they go deep enough in an a specialty that is critical for your success.

Specialization is a way for agencies to present a stark contrast of their services compared to others. When you ask the agency this question, many will say they are a “full service digital marketing agency”, but, if you press them on it, you will likely find they do have some areas of digital specialization like: e-commerce, SEO/SEM, mobile, social media, influencer marketing, email marketing, digital strategy, media planning, etc.

3. Who Has Your Agency Worked with Before?

This may very well be the most important question in the selection process. By asking this question, you are able to get a better sense of whether or not this particular agency is a good fit for effectively marketing your brand. Sometimes, a digital marketing agency may say they can provide a number of different services, but that may not be the case. By gathering this information, you will also find out if the demographic you’re targeting has also been targeted by this agency in previous projects.

You can also get more detailed, specific insight into a particular agency by looking at which brands and industries the agency has experience in. If you are a hotel brand, an agency who as worked with Mountain Dew, Coca Cola, and Zumiez, but not any hospitality brands may not be the best fit. By seeing the projects the agency has completed along with their brand and industry experience, you get a much better sense of how their experience will be able to translate to what you need.

4. What Percentage of Your Staff is Technical? What Are Their Top Technical Competencies?

In today’s marketing world, digital agencies that possess a strong tech team are better equipped to handle your brand’s needs. According to reports, more than 50 percent of marketing agencies have a tech background of some sort.

Some of the most common tech backgrounds for agencies teams include, Magento for e-commerce, iOS development for mobile, HubSpot for inbound marketing, along with many more. For things like content marketing and cloud marketing, technical implementation and management of platforms like Adobe Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and similar offerings from SAP, IBM, and Oracle are also things to feel out for alignment if that is a core part of why you are hiring this partner.

Recent reports show content is becoming increasingly more important, and with more focus on content, both strong technical and writing skills need to follow to maximize that content and customer engagement. The agency may want to outsource a lot of the campaign work or the underlying technical platform, and if that’s the case, you should expect the relationship to become more complicated.

5. How Much Planning and Communication Will Be Necessary?

When you meet with your next digital marketing agency, it is crucial to come to an understanding on how much will be expected between the two parties to achieve the desired results. Some digital media agencies outsource part of the work that goes into the campaign, so it’s important to map out how much you will need to be involved in the early stages of the process and how complicated the chain of communication and decision making will be on both sides.

Rebecca Messina, Global CMO of Beam Suntory, spoke with us about this very question saying:

“I love the agencies that play well with others. I love putting agencies together.
I think that’s one of the most powerful things we can do. I know that’s not always easy. Who’s on first? Who’s on second? Can be tricky. When that dance is well danced, I think it’s beautiful.
I love agencies who truly understand they fill a void. Yet are able to rise up out of that specialty and connect other dots for us. I think that’s a very, very powerful capability from an agency.”

Asking these five questions will help you better evaluate your next digital marketing agency and decide which agency makes the cut. Knowing which digital partners to choose is not an easy thing, but being prepared during the evaluation of your Agency Spotter shortlist of agencies will help you get a better feel for the right fit partner.

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