You’ve felt it for some time. Something’s not right. The warm & fuzzy feeling that accompanied your sign-off on the proposed marketing plan – built to increase your website traffic and result in a deluge of scorching hot leads for your ravenous sales team – has faded away. Month after month you’re finding that calendared review calls have become rote and needles aren’t moving. That is…when you actually HAVE the review call, right? And where are those analytics reports that they us promised anyway?!?!?!

At Wakefly, we’re here to tell you it’s OK. While this is certainly an unfortunate outcome to your relationship with your marketing provider, the good news is you’re not alone and there are reliable agencies out there that will offer a much stronger service level than you’re now experiencing. The first step in acknowledging that best intentions have gone sideways is to ask yourself how your agency aligns with our Top 5 Criteria for Digital Marketing Agency excellence.

1) Responsiveness.  We live in a day and age where we all want what we want when we want it. An agency’s capabilities (and willingness) to respond to your questions in a timely fashion, thereafter assessing an issue and working diligently to fix it post-haste should be a core tenet of their value prop. Even better than an outlined process for response should be a proactive approach to identifying and remediating against anticipated problems BEFORE a client recognizes them. Ask your agency for their policy on response times and consider how it’s being practiced in real time.

2) Priority.  Who wants to be Number 2? Or 72 for that matter? With all the options out there, your business should never be taken for granted with all stakeholders at an agency working in tandem to continuously sell you on their brand and unparalleled levels of service. Granted, any reputable firm will most always manage a number of clients within their portfolio, though the onus is on operations to ensure that accounts are allocated accordingly amongst stakeholders and all clients receive as equal a level of service as is feasible.

3) Product Expertise.  This is important and depending on your agency, can be deceptive. Digital Marketing is a robust universe that includes a multitude of different practices. Not all agencies are created equal with some out there representing for experience or aptitude in practices that are net new to them. Never be shy in asking for a Case Study and/or Reference from clients they’ve worked with. If they demur, it’s a red flag.

4) Experience & Consistency in Account Management.  This is a big one and the foundation of pain for so many dissatisfied marketers out there. The experience & capability to successfully manage an account is a skill set that quite often proves undeveloped in many an Account or Project Manager. In some agencies, these roles are treated more as stepping stones on a path to career advancement in favor of truly recognized for the mission-critical responsibilities that they are. Prior to signing on with an agency, ask for a bio and an introduction to the individuals that will be your primary points of contact. Then do some research on them in LinkedIn to understand their background in determining if they’ll ultimately be the right partner to execute on your agreed strategy.

5) Pricing.  Pricing for services will always vary from firm to firm. On one hand, the old adage “you get what you pay for” should always be top of mind and when it comes to investing in digital marketing, nothing is more expensive than a strategy that doesn’t work. On the other hand, marketing budgets are often lean and you’ve got to be savvy with your spend so do your homework in talking to a few different agencies and consider the four points above in ultimately making the determination if the price quoted for services is worth giving it a go. And never be afraid to ask for a trial either! Any agency worth their salt should confidently stand behind their experience and welcome the opportunity for a foot-in-the-door with a proof of concept project over locking you in to a lengthy contract with no opportunity for recourse.

I hope this checklist proves helpful as you consider your relationship with your digital marketing provider and as always, if you ever have questions on any aspect of your strategy, please contact us today.