It’s been years since digital has turned from just an activity you can do with spare marketing budget into an essential part of your business that can help drive a variety of solutions and results. But despite its importance, there are times when marketers balk at hiringdigital agencies: it’s either “too costly” or something that “can be done in-house”. Both notions aren’t necessarily wrong, especially since hiring a digital agency is quite an expense and no one’s stopping you from having internal digital specialists, but here are a few things to consider in checking if your digital agency is worth the dough you’re giving them.

 

Do they have an active leadership team?

Subject matter expertise from an agency’s top brass is important, because aside from thought leadership, it helps to make sure they know how to properly guide the team that services you daily. But more importantly, seeing that they are pouring in the time and effort to make sure your business is being given the attention that it warrants, no matter what your budget is – whether you’re a multi-national company or an SME. The best leaders are always the ones who lead by example.

Do they know what to know, and what to do with it?

They know the trends, but also if it would fit your brand. They don’t just jump at the latest shiny plaything in this consistently evolving space. Instead, they will give you what you need the most. A giant hive where you can collect buzzing social media terms sounds nice, but it’s only a vanity tool unless it’s effectively used to move the needle of your business. How does it provide tangible and meaningful contributions to your business? If you’re having a hard time answering this question, then maybe you should take a long, hard look at your agency.

Frameworks are fancy and all that, but the focus should be on great execution. It’s that wonderful execution that people will remember and talk about, not the flow charts, boxes, and arrows on our presentation decks. Instead of adhering to a rigid structure, a more fluid approach is what makes campaigns succeed nowadays – and your agency should be leading the charge on that front.

They also don’t needlessly throw jargons and big words around just to sound intelligent and mask their misses. They’re honest if they’re not familiar with something and exert effort to learn more, and it’s always great to see that you’re learning together with your agency.

Do they think and act like business partners?

The usual notion is for digital agencies to churn out communication plans, but with vastly evolving landscapes, comm plans just won’t cut it anymore. Digital agencies should be looking to provide business solutions, given the power and potential of the platform. It’s not just about using digital to deliver a message, but rather it should be about how it can improve the performance of your business – for the now and for the future. Their proposals should transcend clicks and impressions, instead considering how to turn audiences into customers.

But they should also know how to say no to you. Sounds contradictory, right? Shouldn’t they be cooperative and do what you want them to? Well, if they’re worth their salt, they must be able to determine what is a good move and a bad move for you, and be able to advise you against making a poor decision. A self-respecting agency wouldn’t just kowtow to anything that a client wants to happen, rather they should be able to evaluate the context and the situation properly and recommend a better course of action.

 

Maintaining a meaningful relationship

Each Client-Agency interaction is different in a myriad of ways, so it’s crucial that both parties can set clear expectations from one another so everyone can reap the benefits of the partnership, but ultimately the common goal should be to satisfy the consumers.