How to choose a digital marketing agency

How to choose a digital marketing agency –
the essentials

Looking to choose a digital marketing agency in 2017? The role of the marketing agency has changed rather a lot since the days of Mad Men. Sadly, that means there are (slightly) fewer Martinis involved than before. However, the amount of data and analytics available to marketing agencies – as well as the huge variety of channels from which data can be gleaned – is on the increase. This means that today’s marketing agencies can measure their activity and the ensuing results in a way they never could before – and, as a result, should do a far more effective job when it comes to spending your money!



The fundamental role of a marketing agency is the same as it always was – to generate more leads that convert to sales for its clients. The agency has many ways of doing this and it’s possible for clients to be overwhelmed by the possibilities and data. That’s why we’ve put together this no-nonsense guide on how to choose a digital marketing agency.
What do you need to look for? There are a few key things that any good digital marketing agency should be able to offer you.

DATA – Lean and Responsive

Once upon a time advertising was easy. You designed a poster, or made a commercial, put it out there and waited for the sales to roll in (okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that simple but it was a less complicated world in terms of getting a message over). Now that simply won’t do. Look for a marketing agency that will constantly monitor and tweak your campaigns to improve the results. Modern marketing means that something that worked well 6 months ago might be a total dog now. A good agency will run regular reports on your campaigns and look for ways of improving things. They’re not tied to a particular platform or medium and they’ll constantly be trying new things to improve your results.
Choose an agency that is data savvy.  Modern marketing campaigns generate a huge amount of data – be it from Google Analytics, surveys or social media platforms and it’s crucial that your chosen digital marketing agency knows how to use it effectively. Anyone can produce an impressive spreadsheet filled with pretty charts but if it’s not actually improving your results then what’s the point? Make sure they ask what your overall business objectives are, and then explain clearly how their marketing activity is contributing to you actually achieving them.

Don’t be blinded by science.

The avalanche of data that any digital marketing agency has access to also has one major drawback. It’s possible for agencies to present you with huge amounts of data that don’t actually tell you anything. Beware of words like ‘reach’ and ‘awareness’. In certain contexts they can be useful but it’s unlikely that they’ll be the most important metrics to you. If the agency you choose isn’t producing reports that tell you useful and relevant things about YOUR business then there’s no point to them.
Before you start working with an agency, be clear on the results you expect. This will make it easy to monitor their performance. They should be asking you questions – and from that an agreed marketing strategy is the goal. Agree how you will measure how well things are going.
When your given reports, ask questions if you don’t understand what’s going on. Nobody likes a backseat driver but the more useful information and feedback you give your chosen agency, the better their performance will be. If the agency seems reluctant to let you have this sort of input then consider looking elsewhere.

Choosing a digital marketing agency

We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to how to choose a digital marketing agency. Ask for marketing testimonials and ask to speak to previous clients – a good agency should be happy to give you references. Finally, take a look at the campaigns they have produced. Is the copy good? Can you see why this would appeal to a potential customer? One point here, though – don’t assume that an agency can only work for you if they have experience in your sector. It’s far more important that they can illustrate a wide portfolio and successful outcomes. Agencies with experience across many sectors will have ideas, tactics and marketing case studies that can be translated into something that may work for you. Whether they’re the agency for you will only become clear once you’ve met and discussed your needs.
We’d love to be on your marketing agency shortlist and we hope that this article has given you some useful food for thought whoever you choose. If you’d like to talk about what we can do for you then contact one of our digital marketing scientists. We’re waiting to hear from you, martini in hand!