Having worked both client and agency side in the past, I have been involved on both ends of the pitching process. It’s brutal. And can often feel like an episode of Blind Date.
You never know if you’re making the right decision, and it can definitely feel a bit overwhelming. There’s so much to consider and often I felt like the agencies we had in place in past in-house roles weren’t always the right fit.
So, having experienced both sides, I feel I have an understanding of what is involved in choosing the right digital agency and how building a positive relationship can work wonders. Keep reading for a roundup of a few things to consider when picking your digital agency:
What size agency do you want?
Do you want a large agency that has bigger teams for each area, or a smaller agency that takes more of a considered approach to building a strategy? It really depends on what’s important to you. One thing that’s obviously important is that you need to make sure the agency can keep up with the level of work that you have. If an agency is really big and your business isn’t then it might feel like you are too small for them, and you won’t always get the attention you want. On the flip side, if you go with a one-man band then things may be on hold when they are on holiday or off sick. The most important thing is to meet with the agencies and get a real feel of how they work, at the end of the day you have to decide what feels right for you.
Is location important to you?
Do you want an agency that is on your doorstep or do you not mind about location? It’s always nice to be able to have regular face to face meetings but with technology advancing all of the time (Screen sharing, Skype etc.) there are a million ways to communicate with those a little further afield. Face to face meetings are important (we aim to do these quarterly, sometimes more regularly if a client is local) but of course, these don’t necessarily have to be all of the time. Aim to choose an agency who is within a two-three-hour drive of your office.
The way they work
Do you want a retainer arrangement (where you have a certain amount of hours to use per month) or would you rather pay ad hoc for your work? You have to figure out what works for you and if that aligns with how the agency is set up. There’s no real right answer for which to choose, but what is important is choosing what suits your business set up.
Can you ask clients of the agency for recommendations? Or do you know other businesses who can recommend an agency? We all like to hear real-life examples of how someone found working with an agency. Some agencies have case studies on their website which can also be really helpful. Reading about other work that they’ve undertaken and how they approached other clients can really help you understand how they could work with you in future.
You need to get on with your agency because you’ll have to deal with them so often. Sometimes an agency just doesn’t feel like the right fit, and you find you have to go with your gut. The best outcome is when your agency feels like an extension of your team when you work really well together and you know you can rely on them.
This tends to be a huge factor in the decision making progress. You have to feel like you can trust the agency. Do they seem genuine and credible? Do you feel like you can rely on them and on their standard of work?
There is quite a lot to consider when picking an agency and it’s best not to rush into it. You need to feel confident with your decision. Taking time to research and meet with the agency can help you feel certain that it’s the right choice for you.
One of the things I think makes Advantec special, is that we are genuinely passionate about our clients and their businesses. We are always trying to come up with ideas and ways for them to reach new customers and when we take a client on we are intent on making the relationship a success. We want long-term, balanced relationships and we are always trying to improve what we offer and how we operate. I am constantly reviewing how we work with clients and asking clients about their plans and priorities for the coming months.
Whoever you go with, it’s important that you feel the benefits from the relationship and see the value you’re getting for the money you spend. If you’ve been with the same agency for quite some time and you’re only with them out of convenience, then it’s always worth looking at other options. After all, the perfect match could be just around the corner.