When we first got started with our own projects back in the mid-2000s, SEO, Search and Social Media were just getting started. The tools have evolved, the marketing possibilities have developed themselves, and account management / good “connections” has become less important.
These increased opportunities and the tools that are at our disposal at the moment are fantastic for the industry. However this does not mean that digital (marketing) has become more transparent for SMBs. There are many tools and service provider out there.
When you do not have the skills and knowledge in-house that you need to manage your marketing campaigns, an working with an agency can be a good idea.
Agencies have become far more professional and many have access to the exact same tools, channels and traffic. This means that it is very important to understand their value propositions and what it is that they actually offer.
Solid, proactive account management is rare
In a nutshell, we generally advise to go with an agency that has solid account management and understands your industry. When it comes to performance marketing and digital marketing as such, it is very important to get the account setup right.
A poor campaign setup can get very costly. A good agency will tell you that they need to invest a good amount of time in the initial setup. Regardless of the performance channel, Google AdWords, Facebook Paid Advertizing, Amazon or Criteo remarketing, it takes time to set campaigns up right.
In a nutshell, we generally advise to go with an agency that has solid account management and understands your industry
The optimization takes time and data to work, but a good setup will give you the insights you need to optimize your campaigns faster – and more efficiently.
Campaign development is something that is not done over night. Campaign management, bid management and ad-rotation (new creatives / banners and ad-text) need time to develop. If your agency does not contact you regularly to ask you for new creatives, campaign ideas and what’s going on in your company – this should raise some flags.
Communicate your goals well
Each agency has their own way of working and approach. Some are prone to focus on reach campaigns that support your brand building, whereas others only care about your CPA goals.
What is important is to understand the implications of setting the right or wrong goals. Oftentimes I hear that our clients have briefed their agencies very precisely on what they want. From our experience, it would be best not to do this. But rather brief the contractor on the goals.
There are many approaches to online marketing and there is not one perfect way to go about reaching your goals. The channel mix that you might have in mind for your venture, might not be the right one. Nor might the customer segment you are trying to target be the most efficient / economical one to go for.
Communicate your goals often and proactively – even if they change a lot
At GANDT Ventures we approach digital marketing with a long term plan. The goals (or sub-goals) that we need to reach along the way to get to the desired result, need to change depending on the data that is avaiable. Next to that, the stage in which the company or venture is can influence your marketing mix dramatically.
A good agency will be able to adapt to these milestones and communicate with you regularly to discuss them.
So how do you choose the right marketing agency?
As strategic digital consultants, we love working with agencies that are proactive, come up with new ideas and are able to adapt / switch up their game when necessary.
Those who are able to switch between marketing channels and see the wholistic picture of your marketing mix are the ones to look out for.
In the end, proximity to the client and knowledgeable account management are key to customer and campaign succes. If you cannot get both, go for the most proactive one. You will want your service provider to come up with new ideas, rotate ads and tell you what they would do.
If you communicate your milestones well, and we would be happy to help you define them – including the technical briefing you need to get the “best” out of your agency relationship – the odds are high that you will be able to run some great marketing campaigns for your venture.