1. Know what you are trying to achieve, and the expertise you needOne of the most critical decisions is aligning on your business objectives, and then creating a list of digital marketing agencies that have relevant expertise. Are you focused on sales in a given period? Increasing regional or national press coverage? Creating or refining your positioning? Updating or adding to your brand ID? Something else? Once your business is aligned on the opportunity you can then begin searching for digital marketing agencies with relevant capabilities. It is often a good idea to look at digital marketing agencies who only specialize in your immediate needs, as well as full service digital marketing agencies who offer a greater breadth of capabilities that can grow with your needs over time.
2. Know what your peers think and how your options present themselves.As you begin to compile a list of options it is helpful to talk to peers in and out of your industry about experiences working with different digital marketing agencies. It is a good idea to visit the digital presence of each agency – from social, to websites, to reviewing case studies – to understand how they position themselves and they type of work they share.
3. Know the cadence and chemistry.It is helpful to engage each digital marketing agency in the same manner so you can compare during and after the pitch process. The initial conversation may be with an agency leader. The next meeting may be a slightly larger meet and greet with key agency talent who can discuss their expertise in relation to your objective(s). Finally, you may ask each agency to submit a proposal for how they would approach the opportunity with timing and costs estimates.
4. Know how to brief and set reasonable timelines.Digital marketing agencies will produce better proposals if they are given clear direction and fair time to prepare. It is also a good idea to make yourself available for check-ins and questions along the way. While this may feel like additional responsibility, it will help you determine how thoughtful each agency is in their questions, and the time they ask of you. At this stage it is crucial to be transparent about your timing and budget realities to afford each digital marketing agency a chance to be both detailed and realistic.
5. Know who will be working on your project.Many times, the teams in the pitch process are not the talent who will work on your business. This is often not clear in the pitch process and can result in a “bait and switch” feeling after awarding your business. It is a good idea to ensure you know the day-to-day talent that will be supporting you. Following these 5 steps will help you find the best agency partner for your business. If you have any questions, or an opportunity, don’t hesitate to reach out here.