How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Outsourcing Partner
Digital marketing outsourcing is on the rise, for organizations big and small. Start-ups and other small companies rely on outsourcing companies to drive their digital marketing strategies, while larger players will come to agencies with specific needs or in an effort to minimize internal costs. Either way, with the demand for outsourced marketing on the rise, it’s important to distinguish best-in-class agencies from mediocre players in the space.
Experience Across Channels
Many agencies will specialize in one or two channels, such as Google Search or SEO. While that expertise is certainly a positive, make sure you’re not pigeonholing yourself, especially if this is your first foray into digital marketing and you don’t yet know which channels will be most effective for your business. It’s best to work with an outsourcing agency that has experience across a range of digital and organic channels, such as Google Search, Google Display, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. This way, if one channel doesn’t work well with your target persona, you can pivot to another strategy without having to pivot to a different agency.
Beware of marketing agencies that try to dazzle you with vanity metrics such as impressions or clicks without reporting on the substance: the return on investment. If a digital marketing agency is willing to dive in and start working without first understanding the financial requirements of an effective marketing program for your organization, they aren’t the right fit.
A best-in-class outsourced marketing agency will take a data-driven approach to your campaigns, regardless of the channel they are operating out of, and provide you with comprehensive reporting. While impressions and clicks matter, the metric that an agency should report on and care about most is the return on ad spend and how that correlates with your target customer acquisition cost. Few agencies take this approach, so make sure to ask the companies you interview for examples of the reports or dashboards they provide in order to ensure they’re focusing on the right numbers.
What Their Clients Have To Say
Past and current clients tell the best stories. Never sign a contract before you’ve had a chance to read some reviews, browse some case studies, or talk to some references. Most agencies will have review pages that you can consult to get a sense of past and current client experiences. But, since reviews tend to skew towards the positive, it’s always best to speak to a current or former client in person. Whenever possible, ask the agency to provide some references and get on a call with an existing client without the agency present. This will give you a good opportunity to ask probing questions and get a first-hand account of what it’s really like working with these marketers. What do day-to-day communications look like? What has the return on investment been? Are they happy with the level of service? The answer to these questions will be key in your final decision.
Demand Generation Strategy
If you can only ask your potential marketing outsourcing partner one question, let it be this: what is your demand generation philosophy? By asking this question, you’re looking to glean how the organization approaches building, testing, and scaling a demand generation program. How does their approach differ for a start-up versus an organization with an already-established marketing plan? How do they determine if a channel is effective? How long do they test a channel for before they move onto the next one? When do they determine that it’s time to scale, and how quickly are they willing to ramp up spend?
These questions are very rarely asked as part of the sales process, but are critical to ensuring you’ve found a long-term partner that has the expertise necessary to build and run an effective marketing program. A marketing outsourcing provider should treat your marketing spend as an investment, in the same way that a financial advisor views your investment portfolio. The objective is to see a return, and every decision made should be in pursuit of that return.
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Are you considering outsourcing your marketing function? If so, look no further. At FullFunnel, we’ve worked with dozens of companies, big and small, to build and scale successful digital marketing strategies. Request a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you get a return on your marketing investment.