Getting the best results from your Digital Agency

Getting the best results from your Digital Agency


Too often, we see Marketers overwhelmed by information.

The explosion of digital has seen the marketing mix now span strategy, creative, ATL, media buy, BTL, content marketing, digital, social, paid and earned media, not to mention influencer and reputation management.

It’s enough to make your head spin.
At HBT, we know that if you don’t understand why you are investing in an activity, it makes it virtually impossible to sell it into your internal stakeholders, let alone reach customers in an effective way.

Marketers need to know how to get the best value from their agency and the right questions to ask.

Find providers that speak ‘user’

Digital is simple. It’s about getting a user to understand or purchase a product and to generate a sale or enquiry.

You don’t need to speak ‘tech’ or ‘code’ to introduce digital into the mix. What you do need, however, is a partner who can speak to you on a level where the project makes sense and you can sell it into senior stakeholders in the business.

Push your agency to make it as simple as possible, so that you can easily communicate the specs to your wider team. Remember, you’ll need to confidently understand how the business is going to use the digital solution, how to manage it in future, and how to use it to grow or improve the business.

Questions to ask your agency:

• Are you able to prepare a short overview for me to share with my wider team on the strategy, why we are investing in digital and the expected returns?

• In your own words, why do you think we need to implement this digital solution? By contrast, what could the repercussions be if we didn’t?

Eyeballs or leads?

While a creative idea can be fun, ultimately it needs to improve brand sentiment and/or generate sales. As a Marketer, you want to know how to get in front of as many relevant eyeballs as possible in an authentic and meaningful way.

A good agency will be able to identify where your current customers are discovering you online and what search terms they are using to find you. They will give you sage advice on how easy or challenging you are making it for customers to get closer to the point of sale.

They should also be able to help you identify ‘low hanging fruit’ for the most cost effective solution to make short-term gains using clever targeting and retargeting as you collaboratively identify the longer term goal.

Questions to ask your agency:

• How can I identify the areas to improve our path to purchase?

• Do we need a complete overhaul for the best possible outcome or only a few tactical changes to reach our goals?

• What suggestions do you have to improve the value of our database?

• How could we better leverage our current database?

• What ‘easy wins’ can we implement short term as we refine our strategy?

Managing a growing budget

A digital campaign is not something that goes from A – B; it’s a living project. Unlike traditional media campaigns, which are project based, managing a digital project becomes a part of your business and a day-to-day element of operations. Therefore, any digital solution needs an ongoing budget allocated to it.

Before launching any digital campaign, consider it like building a house. The brief may change as the project develops and new insights appear from both your customers and your agency. And anytime you change the brief – the cost may change too.

Where possible, get your digital team on a retainer to reduce your long-term costs. You can leverage that retainer to reduce costs over the course of the consultancy for items such as pre launch, launch, post delivery and ongoing support.

Encourage frank discussions around the budget with your agency and have a contingency budget allocated for any unforeseen issues that crop up.

Questions to ask your agency:

• What costs are involved in terms of managing the content or platform?

• All going well, what might we expect in terms of ROI?

• By contrast, what may be the worse case scenario and potential costs?

Low cost, high gain

Good agencies should be able to identify opportunities for you to make small gains without completely revamping the consumer experience.

For example, with an established subscriber base, brands have an easy opportunity to focus on ways to retain them through clever, creative campaigns and timely communications. Targeted communications such as keyword / search, Facebook advertising, email marketing and digital targeting are all relatively low investment / high reward activities.

This is where clever ‘tweaking’ and changes can come into play. Once launched, a digital campaign can provide compelling insights into customer behavior, meaning your agency can quickly alter elements of the campaign to find the ‘golden egg’ search term or communication tool.

Ultimately, collaborating with an agency should feel like talking with a trusted friend. They should act as advisors, become a part of your business and ultimately help you achieve your immediate, midterm and long-term goals.

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