You and your leadership team have decided that it’s in your best interest to partner with a digital marketing agency, but how can you tell that an agency will be the right partner for your company?  Naturally, you should be comparing the capabilities of your potential vendors, but there are several “big picture” discussions you should be having as well.

Bringing on a new marketing partner is a tremendous commitment, and a lot goes into making the relationship work.  Whether you are scaling your business or aren’t seeing the results you expected with your current agency, take the time to consider these key factors that can make or break a successful partnership.

Shared Values

You want to ensure that those you work closely with share similar values.  That way, when tough decisions come down the pike, you’ll have a supportive team who’s all on the same page.  Understanding the company values of your prospective agency also provides you with a deeper insight into how they conduct business.

If you’re searching for a partner that will collaborate with you and help spark creative ideas, organizations who value pushing the envelope would be a great place to start.

Who Owns What

What good is your data if you don’t have access to it?  It is critical to the success of your business to own your data.  The online information that you collect not only helps your marketing agency finetune your campaigns, but you can also use that buyer information to help guide and evaluate many other business decisions.  But again, that’s only possible if you have access.

It’s an unfortunate truth, but we have seen several partners come to us with no records of their accounts or audiences, despite advertising online for years, because their previous agency claimed the rights to all of their data.  Don’t let this happen to you. Be sure to choose an agency who honors transparency and grants you permanent access to your data.

Capable of Handling Growth

If your marketing partner is doing their job, your business is growing.  As you grow, however, your needs may begin to change. Having a partner that can not only react to but drive your evolving sales goals makes all the difference.

Just because an agency claims to be full service doesn’t mean that they are rock stars at all levels and types of marketing.  Take a moment and imagine what services you’ll need two, three years from now as your business develops and buying behaviors change.

Will your paid campaigns generate awesome ROI that you now have the means to build out a multi-dimensional SEO strategy?  Are your customers chomping at the bit to shop directly from your Instagram account?

Try to select a partner that has demonstrated skills in the services you need now as well as those you will need in the future.

Experienced Leaders

Making sure that you bring on an experienced marketing partner may seem obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning as there are several missteps businesses make when evaluating agency experience.

It’s easy to assume that marketing agencies who haven’t worked within your specific industry are unqualified to represent your company, but this isn’t necessarily the case.  Skilled agencies will take what they’ve learned from partnering with businesses in parallel industries and apply those successful strategies to your account.

Lack of experience within a niche industry shouldn’t be considered a red flag.  In fact, partnering with an agency new to your field may provide you with the exact fresh ideas you’ve been looking for.

However, it’s a completely different ball game if those running your campaigns are inexperienced marketers.  You are entrusting a large portion, if not all, of your marketing budget to your agency partner.  When those directly managing your campaigns are fresh out of school or new to digital marketing, you risk a higher rate of wasted spend due to their inexperience.

While vetting agencies, ask to meet with your prospective account manager and learn a bit more about the team you’ll be working with.  Just because the company itself is established, it’s not guaranteed that the individuals managing your account have the level of experience you want.

As with any relationship, choosing the right marketing agency is easiest when you have clearly defined expectations. If you keep these factors in mind and have honest discussions with their sales team, you’ll be on the right track to finding a partner you enjoy working with.