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What to Look for in a Digital Marketing Agency

April 28, 2016
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So, you’ve decided to make things a little easier on yourself and hire a digital marketing agency to take over the marketing for your business? Great idea – leave it up to the experts so you can focus on your specialties.

But you’re not in the clear yet. Now it’s time to actually start looking for a digital marketing agency aligned with your goals and specific needs. And with so many top tier agencies out there, this can sometimes seem like a daunting task. I wanted to make the process a little easier for you and outline the top six things to evaluate when hiring a digital agency. Here we go!

Agency Location

Agency Size

Yes, size does matter. At least when it comes to hiring a digital agency. And both small and large agencies come with their fair share of pros and cons. Here are a few things you should consider when thinking about the size of the agency you want to work with:

Large Agencies

  • Have large clients, which may look great on paper but might not necessarily mean it is great for you as a client
  • Have industry leading tools
  • Connections to large brands you may be able to leverage
  • Large teams that can collaborate around your account
  • Often have to be more cookie -cutter in approach because of overhead
  • Will you get the attention that their bigger brands will? Where do you fall on their priority list? You don’t want to be the biggest but also not the smallest client.
  • Is it all juniors that will be working on your account?

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Small Agencies

  • Can usually pivot strategy quicker and be more innovative (like turning a battleship vs. aircraft carrier)
  • Do they have the knowledge-base and experience to get you to where you want to go?
  • Do they have big enough teams for collaboration?
  • Are they stable? Will they be in business in a year?
  • Do they have the best talent?

If you ask me, somewhere in the middle is usually ideal. It’s critical that your agency has enough people to form a team of specialists around your brand as well as enough opinions for each marketing vertical to challenge the status quo and develop innovative ideas.

Rapport With People Working On Your Account

This may seem like a no-brainer – but it is crucial nonetheless. It’s simple really: work with people you connect with. When you’re in the beginning stages of talking to an agency you’re going to hire, talk to the people that you’re going to be in contact with on a regular basis. We have all talked to a salesperson we love to buy from but is nowhere to be found once the contract is signed. Don’t let this be the case with you. Set up a call with the account manager and team members working on your account so you can form a connection with people other than the salesperson.

Reporting and Communication Process


Most agencies like to do monthly reporting, which is perfectly fine. But a lot of agencies also get away with using different reporting protocols each month. This makes it hard to spot trends. Here’s a little insider secret – agencies do this to only show you the “good stuff”. But you don’t want a fairweather agency. Most of the time, the “bad stuff” is what is most important to see. So make sure that you decide on a reporting structure you like and are getting the same base report every month with additions as needed.


To stay in the loop I recommend asking for weekly base reports with quick status updates as well as in-depth monthly reporting. That way, you know how things are progressing weekly while also getting those deep analytical insights monthly.

Pre-Built Marketing Plan vs. Custom Strategies

The digital world changes constantly. Nothing is the same one day to the next. It keeps us at digital agencies on our toes; that’s for sure. That’s why when it comes to your marketing strategy, your digital agency should present you with a custom strategy that is tailored to the ever-changing atmosphere in which we work. If you contact an agency, and they send you back a cookie-cutter proposal with options A, B, or C, it’s probably in your best interest not the hire them. The digital market is extremely competitive and options A, B, or C just aren’t going to cut it anymore. Hire an agency that created a strategy that is custom to your business, industry, budget, and goals. Also, be ready to share your long- and short-term goals with your agency. They will need this to develop the best strategy for your business. At the end of the day, digital marketing is a calculated bet, and you should hire an agency that understands that.

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