What To Ask When Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency

A Facebook Question 7x Strategy

A few years ago a friend of mine who specializes in e-mail marketing posed this question as a social media post: “Email marketing? What do you think about emails that only make an offer? I’m in a strategy meeting with my AM.” The responses were broad, exceptionally insightful, and troubling.

A Digital Marketing Agency’s Goals Are The Same As Yours-Making Money

The most important piece of information that I got from the 30+ answers was from those who aren’t in the inbound marketing or digital marketing business and loathe e-mail marketing or marketers in general (I can blame them, we can be insufferable). Those who are in the profession had nothing but shining adjectives to pour into their comments about how successful they have been with their offer-only campaigns. Some of the posters even tried to sell their CRM platform via this little forum that had organically sprung up on this social media post. The comments from the non-digital marketers were far more insightful and were directed not at the question but at marketers in general.

  • “We dropped all of our email campaigns because we never achieved the traction that our agency told us we would.”
  • “After hiring and firing three agencies in two years we have moved to an internal team that might be less talented on paper. But they know what their job is and aren’t afraid to own their mistakes.”
  • The monthly reports that we received from our last agency were never the same as our internal reporting. Their numbers always showed a minimum of a+15% better performance than our numbers did. After 6 months and our own audit we fired them.”

Granted, this microcosm isn’t scientific but it illustrates the frustrations that companies have with digital marketing and many of the agencies that they have hired to help them.

Several companies and businesses that I have relationships with have asked me and the 7x team about the validity of the metrics they have been shown by other marketers that are pitching them for their services. What we often find is that agency salespeople make spectacular claims of successes with a slick slide presentation using data that is entirely devoid of value to the future client at its best and less than truthful at its worst. We have had many PowerPoints shared with us that were loaded with acronyms and numbers that weren’t even applicable to a future marketing strategy for the prospective client’s product or service. This is the one reason we give our prospective clients a list of questions that they should be asking us and other agencies when it comes to their digital marketing services including email marketing, social media, content marketing, SEO, and analytics. This list of questions has generated far more “thank you emails” than signed clients but that is how life goes.

Three Questions You Should Ask Before You Hire A Digital Marketing Agency

Another reason we share this list of questions is to help the digital marketing industry maintain its integrity. Scenarios like this all-to-common story from our new clients that have suffered from an agency salesperson who got somewhat indignant when they were questioned about the data or strategies they presented during their pitch. The agency pro’s goto defense typically was; “You don’t understand the data or what we are actually trying to do here,” followed by a glare laced with superiority. Unfortunately, the outcomes from these strongarm rainbows and unicorns presentations are often a signed contract with easily attainable, nonrelevant, or unintelligible benchmarks for the agency. Most of the time they have little to no impact on new client’s sales or other marketing goals.

So how does your company get the most bang for their buck from a marketing agency or consultant? Here are out top three questions that you should ask.

Author: Sean Johnson

Sean Johnson is the founder of 7x Strategy•Tactical.