There was a time when working for a Digital Agency automatically got you labelled as an innovator; a vanguard spearheading contemporary business. In today’s competitive marketplace—where almost every potential customer has some level of digital understanding—those in the digital marketing industry need to do much more to prove their thought-leadership and mastery of the bleeding edge.
In particular there are 3 influencing forces within the digital landscape that constantly drive evolution in agencies. Understanding them just might help you pick out a good one.
1. Channel Integration & Fragmentation
One-size-fits-all marketing is a thing of the past. Thanks to advances in technology, savvy consumers have come to expect tailored messages in a relevant context. The internet has become a haven for personalised experiences and you need to fit in with those experiences if you don’t want to be ignored. As such, you need an agency who have specialist skills in particular channels.
On the flipside to that is the need for channel integration for the sake of increased efficiency. For example, you can promote your blogs and other content on Twitter: you’ll get more traffic on the blog and you’ll have quality content to engage people socially. Furthermore, that integrated way of working generates 2 very strong SEO signals… website traffic from non-Google sources and social media buzz. That integration therefore exponentially increases productivity.
That example is a no-brainer; but channels can be integrated (and indeed fragmented) in many different ways and usually a bespoke solution is the best option. Furthermore, the rate of change in the digital landscape is mind-bending. You can’t afford to work with people who don’t stay abreast of the latest means and methods for increasing efficiency.
2. Measurement & ROI
Ultimately, you give money to agencies in order to generate a return-on-investment. But the difficult part is actually apportioning successes to the various integrated marketing channels in use given that they all add value and help to drive sales in different ways, if only through brand awareness.
A good digital marketing agency should be talking to you about measurability and coming up with intelligent insights into the available metrics and their real meaning. ‘Big Data’, which is the name given to the huge amount of customer profiling information generated through mobile devices and ecommerce stores, should also be considered. How do you handle this data to best effect?
Make sure your digital partner is willing to tackle data and focus on the metrics that matter to you the most. And remember, nothing is ever black-and-white and your success is never entirely down to just one channel or campaign… You need an agency with the experience and insight to read between the lines where necessary.
If anyone tells you that they are an all-round technology expert, they are lying to you. Even the tech billionaires in Silicon Valley couldn’t claim to be experts in every single technology niche that has been and is being developed: Growth in the tech industry is staggering.
You need to find out what the precise areas of expertise are when you choose your next agency. Find out about their focus (and their previous roles and histories) and meet the individuals who will be working on your project to make sure their skill-set and knowledge-base meet your needs.
You won’t succeed online unless you plan out an efficient strategy, make use of every scrap of data you get your hands on and keep up with the competition when it comes to new technology; so keep these three things in mind and put your prospective agency partners to the test.