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Choosing the best digital marketing agency – Published on Tgdaily as well – Aug 2017,
Almost any B2B company eventually gets to a point where a solid digital marketing strategy is needed, in order to deal with the competition and to establish a firm positioning that is needed in the long run.
If you work in the B2B industry, you won’t feel the need in day one, but with time, and as your company hopefully grow and matures, you will want to scale up even further. That’s when the need for a digital marketing operation will raise.
At this point, many managers are deliberating between an in-house team and external agencies. Considering building an in-house digital marketing team may sometimes be very challenging due to lack of expertise, lack of professional employees, high HR costs and lack of recruitment resources. Besides, some marketing skills are usually exclusively held by agencies,
Of course that there are companies around, mainly medium or big sized, that do own internal marketing teams, and at some scale, this makes sense and is the right thing to do. Still, almost every company I know is supported by 3rd party digital marketing agencies as well.
On the other hand, you can find endless B2B companies that outsource their entire digital marketing operation, either to one agency or to multiple ones. They probably have good reasons to do so (like there are not enough budget to hire someone internally, or that there’s not enough capacity for an internal full-time position, or that they need specific skills that they can find among internal marketers and so forth)
Once there’s a need to hire a 3rd party digital marketing agency, The process can be hard and wiring.
Just Google and you will find endless competing agencies, all featuring the same offering, promising the world, and showcasing a most impressive portfolio. How can you make a selection and select one that best fit your company, needs, and your own style?
Outsource All? Some? or None?
The starting point is your decision as to what to keep inside (if at all ) and what to outsource. This will impact the list of potential agencies to explore. If you are interested in outsourcing the entire operation, or multiple areas of the operation, you should hunt for an all-in-one digital marketing agency.
If you are interested in outsourcing only one activity, you will want to find an agency that masters it.
even if you are outsourcing just a part of your marketing load, you’de still need a flexible yet organized marketing partner.
A good agency, that would blend in and won’t create an overhead, is one that will be happy to work with your existing decks, platforms, folders, and technologies. That’s versus a one that would insist on using their tool, forcing you to spend time adjusting.
These questions that you can address the potential agencies may help you in the evaluation process:
- Ask for real examples, for communication materials, performance campaigns or alike.
- Explore working methods and ways to track the operation.
- Specifically ask about the touch points with your internal team, and try to estimate the overhead.
The digital marketing firm that fits your eco-system and vertical…
What is your company doing? Who is your target audience? What scales are your B2B customers? What geographies are you focused on? The answers to these questions impact your marketing strategy and activity blend greatly.
The should also impact your digital marketing agency selection.
within the global tech industry, some verticals are very different than others (like B2C mobile apps, versus heavy B2B cybersecurity technologies)
The best digital marketing agency that you can think of will have both expertise in the marketing activities that are most relevant to your goals, and in dealing with related technologies and the same target audience.
What tactics are their “bread & butter”?
Digital Marketing is made of endless tactics, hacks, and activities. Content, messaging, marcom, growth hacking, influencer marketing, lead generation, SEO, performance, PR, All these are just some of the listed activities that are considered under marketing.
Consult with potential agencies about the activities that you should prioritize, against your KPIs. Create a table and make sure that your preferred digital marketing partner is experienced with all of them.
- Always look for a personal recommendation from colleagues. There’s nothing more valuable than word of mouth!
Selecting an agency that would launch and maintain a successful digital marketing operation isn’t at all an easy task. You are going for a long-term relationship and the impacts of your selection can be very meaningful.
Don’t underestimate the process, and make sure that your future partner is indeed the best for what you need.
Run a comprehensive pre-engagement selection process. Define a long enough pilot period after the engagement has started, to allow you to properly estimate the collaboaration and your future chances of success.