In today’s digital marketing environment, advertising has taken on a whole new level of complexity. With the rise of social media, programmatic, and other digital platforms, businesses are presented with more options than ever before when it comes to advertising their products and services. With the complexity of each platform, marketing departments don’t have the breadth of expertise nor the capacity to plan, execute, manage, and report on their digital advertising efforts. This is why they turn to digital advertising agencies to help them achieve their business and marketing goals. However, not all digital advertising agencies are created equal. Some of our clients have come to us with really awful stories of past agency neglect and distrust. We’re sad that it happens and those bad experiences can give digital ad agencies a bad rap. So, we’re here to help explore some of the areas you need to consider when vetting agencies. We’ll also provide some key questions that clients should ask potential agencies to help them make the right choice.
Breadth and Depth of Experience
It’s important to understand that paid advertising is a multifaceted discipline. There are many different facets of digital advertising, including search, display, video, programmatic, social, and email marketing, to name just a few. Each type of advertising requires a different approach, and not every agency has expertise in all areas. For example, some agencies may specialize in social media advertising, while others may have a strong background in search engine marketing. I know of one agency that focuses on just one particular social channel and another that specialized in e-commerce companies. Others are full-service marketing agencies from direct mail through creative development and production through media placements. It’s crucial for clients to know exactly what their needs are and the scope of the services they need as well, combined with the services that will and won’t be provided by an agency. Key questions to ask here include:
- What types of digital advertising do you specialize in?
- How long have you been in business?
- What channels do you work most regularly in?
- What services are included? (ask about reporting, dashboards, creative development or anything that’s an in-house challenge)
- Do your employees speak at conferences, contribute to blogs or are recognized in the industry?
- How experienced are those who will be working on my account?
Digital Advertising Approach & Attitude
The digital advertising landscape is constantly evolving. New platforms and technologies are emerging all the time, and agencies must keep up with these changes to remain competitive. An agency that was cutting-edge five years ago may no longer be relevant today. It’s important for clients to choose an agency that is committed to staying on top of industry trends and adapting to new technologies as they arise. Knowing how your agency keeps up to snuff is important.
Additionally, it’s important to know about the culture of the agency, its philosophy towards account management, and the attention you and your accounts will receive. For example, some agencies have parameters around how much time they spend on an account. Others won’t accept clients below a minimum spend threshold.
With these factors in mind, clients should ask potential digital advertising agencies the following questions:
- How do you stay on top of industry trends and changes?
- What is your process for onboarding, evaluation, recommendations, maintenance, etc?
- How do you measure the success of digital advertising campaigns?
- Can you provide examples of successful campaigns you have run in the past?
- What kind of attention can we expect?
Agency Fit & Chemistry
After you have initial conversations with some of the logistical things above, you can then dive deeper into the agency personality to make sure there is a match. While this isn’t a dating game, picking the wrong agency can cost you money, time, potential leads/sales, revenue and leave you feeling jipped. Agency break-ups can be expensive especially since a new agency will have a learning curve. When you talk to your prospective agency, try to talk to the people who would be working on your accounts. Your “spidey” sense will let you know if you trust them. But past that, here are a few other questions you can ask to get a true feel of how well your potential agency is really doing:
- What is your client retention rate?
- How long have your three longest clients been with you?
- What’s the average tenure of your clients?
- Have clients ever left and come back to you?
- Can you provide references from previous and current clients?
- Why have some of your clients left recently?
- How many of your existing clients are referrals?
Why Did Clix Write This Post?
If you’re reading this post, you landed on our site somehow. And you might think that we’re a digital advertising company that is just trying to drum up business. To be honest, that isn’t what sparked this post. Here are a few factors that did.
- We’ve had several new clients come to us recently with bad and disturbing past agency experiences. That makes us sad. We want to help everyone from the right agency, even if it isn’t us.
- Just this year, we’ve had three former clients resign with us. After some time, they realized the value, level of service and results that they had with us. That’s a really cool feeling and we thought it would be amazing to share and let you know, it really happens.
- We’ve had some pretty monumental accomplishments and compiled some numbers that just made us proud. We’re thrilled to share them but more importantly, we knew there was a way to use these numbers to help others. Use them as a benchmark or for other questions you like to create to help vet other agencies. Here are some of our stats!
- 18 Years in Business (pretty impressive for the digital advertising world)
- 17 B2B SaaS clients we’ve partnered with, most of them have come from referrals
- Our longest-tenured employee has been with us for 15 years. Quite a few others have been here for over 5 years. That’s really long in agency life. It shows the employees are happy here. One even came back recently!
- We’ve worked in 14 different channels over the past year – that’s a lot!
- Our team averages 13 years of digital marketing experience – I doubt you’ll find that too many other places!
- Our longest-tenured client has been with us for 9 years! The next two longest clients have been with us for 8 years each.
- We’ve had 7 past/present Clix Employees Make The “Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts” Lists from PPC Hero
- We’ve helped 4 different NPOs over the past few years Pro Bono
If you need digital advertising services or are unhappy with your current agency, please by all means, reach out to see if Clix might be the right fit for you! We might be, we might not. But, we do hope that you found a little help here in your journey to find the right agency for your needs and next steps. Thanks for letting us brag a little. Otherwise, we hope these questions will help you as the client determine whether a particular agency has the expertise, experience, and personality necessary for your business. Best wishes and good luck.