Setting a New (& higher) Bar in Digital Marketing: Tips for Selecting an Agency | karma digital

Setting a New (& higher) Bar in Digital Marketing: Tips for Selecting an Agency

Selecting a marketing partner can be a daunting task. Everyone claims to have the most experience, they all have shiny websites (after all, they are marketers), and they are all eager to pitch you on all the things you’re doing wrong.

As a consumer, marketer, and agency founder I believe that collectively if we ask for more, we can change the way agency partnerships work.

Your marketing partner should be enthusiastic and passionate about what your company is doing. A marketing partner that isn’t as enthusiastic as you are is guaranteed to disappoint you, not just in results but also in accurately representing your vision.m

If I’m asking you to ask for more, I would expect nothing less from my team at karma digital. Here is what we require of our partners:

They must be passionate about what they doAlignment with our culture and core valuesTrustworthy and honest (see #2 above)

Easy to say… keep reading to see how I actually put these into action.
Passionate:

“Love what you do, do what you love” never sounded so true. Marketing shouldn’t be a hobby or purely a money maker, it should be a passion. Passion is an obsession, we believe your marketing team should be obsessed with communicating what you do, how you do it and attracting the right customers (even repelling people you don’t want!). When you’re in love with an idea/company/product it shows, and that’s the difference in simply getting attention and building a loyal customer base that’s obsessed with your brand.

Culture:

Does your company have a distinct culture? Do you want to be known for a certain work-style/product/voice? It’s important that your marketing agency (and all partners) have a culture that aligns with your company. If you expect 9-5, you’ll be quickly disappointed if your agency has flexible hours for their team- and your agency team won’t want to work with you either. If you have a culture of honesty and transparency, it’s critical your agency partner does too. Aligning core values helps set your partnership up for long-term success. Onboarding new partners takes time, money, and resources away from what really matters in your business.

Trust & Honesty:

Marketing agencies are really good at selling new shiny tactics, but that may not be what you actually need to grow your business. This can be challenging when you’re looking for an expert to help you (say at marketing) because you know it’s not “your thing”. How do you know if they are actually “selling” you what you need?

Hiring isn’t a total science, there’s an art and trusting your gut is important. When a potential partner is telling me all the things I want to hear, I’m immediately cautious.
I’ve included some additional tips below if you’re still not totally sure your gut is giving you the right signals.

Ask the tough questions to make sure they did their research on your company.Conduct interviews across your organization with potential partners. There are typically different views on what is needed depending on who you ask- what does your email marketing manager think is needed? What about your paid media manager? CMO? Head of Finance?. A trustworthy and honest partner will not just say what makes the CEO happy; they will drill in on how they can help you be successful.Be honest. If you expect honesty from your agency, you’ve got to be honest too. Culture, work-style, expectations and everything in between should be openly discussed up front to ensure alignment.Ask to talk to other clients. Case studies, testimonials are all important, but actually talking to other clients they’ve worked with will give you a good sense for how they are to work with, not just their experience.Invite potential partners to participate in a company event. If they have the right experience AND you enjoy spending time with them… you’ll want to work together!

When you find a good digital marketing partner, you will know it, and so do I. I’ve passed on potential clients because it wasn’t a good match. No one wants to spend time with people/companies/ideas that don’t align with our passion, culture, and experience. You might say, we take our own advice.

Have high standards, they can be exceeded by the right partner.