In the 4th quarter, most businesses are looking at their current marketing and are working through budgets for next year. It’s common to look at what was accomplished during the year and evaluate the value of digital marketing. This prompts you to decide whether or not you are satisfied with your marketing agency.
ROI with Your Digital Marketing Agency
You should always see a return on your investment when working with your digital marketing agency. If you’re not being clearly presented with the value of your digital marketing then you need to have a conversation with them. Asking value related questions open opportunities for your digital marketing agency to better present data or can force the decision to move on. Oftentimes there will be a gut feeling that you have to pay attention to in order to make progressive decisions for your business.
When trying to decide if you need a new digital marketing agency, below are some questions to ask yourself. Likely if any of these are an issue, it is time to find a new digital marketing agency.
1. Are You Being Shown Vanity Metrics?
If your digital marketing agency presenting impressions, clicks, clickthroughs, and likes as key metrics, ask about the value of that data. You need to have a conversation about goal completions or actual conversions. The valuable metrics for businesses include the number of leads generated, form fills, phone calls, or actual sales for e-commerce. Those vanity metrics are only symptoms of why digital marketing is working or not working. Businesses, however, don’t need to be as concerned with those details as with actual revenue and the value is being generated.
2. Is Your Digital Marketing Reporting Automated?
You need to have monthly conversations with your marketing agency and understand reporting. Data has a story to tell. That story is unique to you and your business. Businesses need to know why their numbers are up or down. Automated reports can bulk everything together when the answer lies in the details and it can tell a different story. Make sure you understand reporting and that there is thorough analysis being done by your digital marketing agency. Be confident that the reporting is accurate and that there is forward movement.
3. Do You Have a Partnership with Your Digital Marketing Agency?
Do you feel like you can trust your agency? Your agency should be treating your business as if it were their own and truly care about the success of your marketing. There will always be different personalities and sometimes that can make doing business tougher than it needs to be. If you don’t get along well, it might not be a good fit. Digital marketing agencies should be professional. Communication and response times are key to a solid partnership. Too much communication could mean they’re not spending enough time on the actual account. Response times are also important. Keep in mind that some responses might need to be more thoroughly thought out or data might need to be gathered to give a good answer to email questions (24 to 48 hours is reasonable). For a true partnership, businesses should not have to fill in the blanks.
4. Are You Getting Pushback from Your Digital Marketing Agency?
If you’re suggesting everything to your digital marketing agency and they’re just doing it exactly as you ask–that is a problem. It means you don’t have a digital marketing strategist but rather, you’re working with an order taker. You don’t want this! You’re paying for professionals that should know what they’re doing. They should be pushing back with reasons why something might or might not work. You shouldn’t be pulling your digital marketing agency along. They should be bringing ideas to you. If they’re not, then your marketing plan could be lacking innovation and new ideas.
5. Do You Understand the ‘Why’ Behind Your Digital Marketing Strategy?
Is your digital marketing agency just dropping terms? They should be teaching so you can understand. You should know what’s working and what’s not with your digital marketing strategy and understand why. The marketing world is forever coming up with new terms that can mean the same things. It can be easy to be swayed by agencies that drop digital marketing terms. But, if they can’t explain the why and what the strategy is it’s time to move on.
6. Is Your Digital Marketing Agency Currently Testing Anything?
If your digital marketing agency isn’t telling you about testing they’re probably not doing it. Be wary of those who claim to have a magic answer or some direct connection to Google or Facebook that gets better results. That simply doesn’t exist! What you need to look for is experience. Consider how many years has the agency been working on accounts because you don’t want to be the ‘guinea pig’. Elevated Marketing Solutions is an Indianapolis digital marketing agency where all team members have 10+ years of experience. You want a team on your side that is constantly testing, collecting unique data, and adjusting your marketing strategy based on what they know.
7. Is Your Digital Marketing Agency Making The Right Amount of Strategy Changes?
Recognize that there will never be immediate results when it comes to digital marketing. However, if your agency is making too many changes too quickly, then it’s hard to know what’s working and what’s not. A strategy needs time to run so that enough data can be gathered to make good decisions. If there are not enough changes being made, that could indicate a lack of communication and your marketing can become stagnant. If this happens it is time to move on because you need a strategic agency partner focused on your marketing data to see results.
8. Does Your Digital Marketing Agency Admit Mistakes?
We’re human and your agency should tell you about mistakes. Digital marketing has a lot of deep crevices and skillsets. When working with larger agencies that have the ability to hire professionals in all disciplines, there are going to be challenges. Teams in large agencies can get isolated and strategy aspects can get lost because they’re working with so many clients. With a smaller agency, all team members are more likely to know everything that is going on and how their role fits into the overall strategy. Digital marketing has numerous moving parts and there is no perfect answer or single strategy! Keep in mind that your agency cannot do everything.
9. Are You In a Long Term Contract with Your Digital Marketing Agency?
If you’re locked into a contract for a year or more, you don’t have an out if you’re not getting results. While long-term-contracts are common because the agency wants to be able to forecast their income, it should be a red flag. Make sure they’re not hiding and that they know what they’re doing. Give the agency a minimum of 3 months time to set up your data and adjust your strategy. But, work with an agency that gives you an out if you’re not seeing results. Elevated Marketing Solutions is an Indianapolis digital marketing agency with no long term contracts. Your digital marketing agency should be that confident in what they do and work to develop long term partnerships rather than require them.
10. Do You Have Access to Your Digital Marketing Data?
Make sure you have full access to all of your accounts and all of your data. Google Ads, Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and all other accounts belong to you. If you don’t have access then you don’t own your data and that is a big deal! It means you are not able to see it yourself and own it going forward. It also means if you move on from that digital marketing agency, you can’t take your data with you. Your agency should transparently want you to own these accounts. Make sure you have access to all of your data!
If you have questions about what accounts and data your business should have access to, schedule a strategy meeting and allow us to provide a full list!
So, Should You Fire Your Digital Marketing Agency?
There are instances when you shouldn’t fire your agency. For example, if it’s been less than 3 months, give them a chance. You need to give agencies room to work through your account. In the beginning, there is a lot of setup and it’s very important that data tracking is set up correctly. Oftentimes there are corrections that need to be addressed and/or connections or integrations that will make a big difference. For a digital marketing agency to adjust a results-driven strategy, they will need a few months of good data.
After reviewing these 10 questions thoroughly, only you can know the answer to this question.
Jennifer Denney has been in digital marketing since 2006 and has seen a wealth of changing landscape in digital marketing. She has seen the rise and fall of many marketing tactics. She is deeply rooted in understanding the metrics that showcase the value of certain types of digital marketing. She produces weekly live shows with Lorraine Ball, solocast with Elevated Marketing Chats, and conducts a weekly podcast called Elevated Marketing Dot Podcast.