How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Agency: A Practical Guide

How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Agency: A Practical Guide

Jai Khan
July 14, 2023
Push Perspective

Well, this should be interesting. An agency telling you how to choose the right agency.

But hear me out and decide for yourself.

The Case Study Dilemma

I’m often asked for case studies and I have hundreds at my disposal, but I can’t help but think that they can set the wrong expectations.

Firstly, every business has a unique combination of variables – your business, ads, website, and offering. Even if we were to run identical campaigns with the same ads, the conversion rates between your website and that of a competitor would differ.

Secondly, there is the matter of numbers. Statistics can be easily manipulated, and it’s natural for businesses to showcase their most impressive figures.

So, while an agency might present a case study boasting a 3000% year-over-year growth in sales, they may not disclose that they spent ten times more to achieve those results. If a case study is older than three months you have to ask yourself: with the rate of change happening across platforms – is this still relevant?

So, when you are evaluating an agency, ask them:

“How would you identify my audience?”
“How would you reach them and what would you say to them?
“Show me how you’ve done this in the past for other businesses.”

Forget about their successes; how did they help their customers resolve challenges when the results were down?


Understanding the Role of Account Managers in Your Success

It is always a good idea to meet the account managers that you are actually going to be working with, rather than just good salespeople who will build a relationship with you to give you confidence.

Ask yourself, do you know what actually makes a good account manager?


Personality and Skills

Some people are looking for chemistry and personality when they meet their account manager. However, some of the most incredible account managers who fully grasp business fundamentals and know the smallest technicalities of these platforms inside and out, are not big personalities.


The Advantage of New Perspectives

I often get requests for a senior account manager or someone with years of experience. Although this makes sense, the truth is that I have 13 years of experience in digital and there are grads who have been at Push for less than a year that can run campaigns better than me.

This is because change happens fast and best practices regularly evolve. The younger workforce has grown up using these platforms and some have come to our agency having already grown their own followings.

It is therefore better that someone with years of experience is looking at your overall strategy rather than the minutiae of your account.


The Real Questions to Ask

The final thing to remember is that you could meet the most amazing account manager, but if they handed in their notice soon after you signed your contract, what would you be left with?

The question I encourage you to ask is, “how do you recruit and train your staff?”.

It is also a good idea for you to find out who would be an escalation point if you were to have any issues with your account manager.


Why Results Matter More Than Time

No one wants to be a small fish in a big pond and people will often ask me how many hours are spent on their account.

The reason that this is a terrible way to compare agencies is that there won’t be a like-for-like comparison that helps you quantify what’s most important, which is the results.

For example, two agencies could both offer you 10 hours a month, but work completely differently in their actions.

Half your hours might be spent on changes to bidding because manual bidding is being used instead of using Google’s automation, or an agency could spend hours building new campaigns, when with the right tools and software, this could be done in seconds.

It is important to ensure that you are confident that an agency is the right agency to take you to the next level of growth.

If results are down and an agency is scared of losing you as a customer, they may start making too many changes at once and become so desperate to retain your business that they end up doing more harm than good.


Recognising Variables and Setting Realistic Goals

Below you can see a list of just how many variables there are that can affect your results


Often with forecasts, people have a strong sense of what their target is and when they need to achieve it. So, although agencies may present a plan to you, this will be accompanied with a tonne of caveats that emphasise that they are not giving you a guarantee.

If you have no data, forget about a forecast. You can take a look at industry benchmarks but you have no idea whether other businesses are interpreting conversions or costs in the same way that you are.

If you have data, what’s more important is that the recommendations you are being given logically make sense for improving performance. A good agency will tell you if your targets don’t make sense or are not realistic.


Making an Informed Decision for Your Business

Selecting the right agency to drive your business forward can be a challenging task, but by understanding the key factors to consider, the process becomes significantly more manageable. Case studies, while often requested, may not always present the most accurate picture due to unique business variables and the potential manipulation of statistics.

The real account managers – those who will be handling your day-to-day – are more vital to meet than the salespeople. Their experience, adaptability, and understanding of the digital landscape are critical to the success of your campaigns.

Evaluating an agency based on the number of hours they allocate to your account could be a misstep. It’s more important to focus on the effectiveness of these hours, not just the quantity. Forecasts, while useful for planning, should be taken with a grain of salt. They are not guarantees and can be affected by numerous variables.

At the end of the day, the agency you choose should be a partner in your growth journey, demonstrating a clear understanding of your business, providing strategic insights, and acting proactively on your behalf. And remember, the most important metric of all is results. Choose an agency that is as dedicated to achieving your goals as you are.

This blog post has armed you with an insider’s perspective and valuable tips for finding the best agency fit for your business. Here’s to making a well-informed, beneficial decision for your business’s future.

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