5 Things You Should Look For In A Digital Marketing Agency

by Meghan Kelly

Jul 21, 2023

Posted in Industry

Formada Founder and CEO, Meghan Kelly, faces the camera, smiling, while wearing a pink jacket, white shirt, and jeans.

It’s Really Easy To Overcomplicate Digital Marketing

Maybe it’s just because the majority of my career has been in marketing and advertising, but I do believe that this is true: Digital marketing is actually quite simple. Seriously. 

You define a goal, build campaigns designed to support that goal, and then you measure their performance. It’s very easy to see what does and does not happen when you invest in this very simple strategy. 

Is the campaign is working? Continue to invest in it to build on its success. The campaign isn’t working? What variables can we adjust? 

Where things get complicated is when we’re not working in support of a clear goal, or when we set expectations that aren’t in alignment with the campaign that we’re running. Branding campaigns are designed to create awareness and recognition, not sales. 

Similarly, not trusting the marketing process (e.g., giving a campaign time to season and build data) will cause some businesses to choose to turn their campaigns on and off, which will disrupt the flow of data and customer opportunities, giving both marketing and sales teams very little to work with. 

Clear goals. Consistent investments. Clear communication. Informed adjustments. It’s typically a very winning formula. 

So why are conversations around marketing so confusing sometimes? I have some thoughts. 

Digital Marketing Is a Vast Landscape of Service Offerings

If you’ve done any research on the subject, one of the first things you’ll notice about digital agencies is how wide a variety there is. 

Some are run by solopreneurs. Others have thousands of employees. Some are focused on a hyper-niche clientele whereas others serve every industry imaginable. Some offer one specific service, like social media advertising, and others offer a number of tactics, like branding, content, paid media, and more.

This can make it very difficult to compare apples to apples when trying to find the right fit for your business’s needs. 

Another thing I’ve noticed is that digital marketing, like many specialized industries, has its own language. Digital marketers get so comfortable talking to other digital marketers with these terms that they don’t realize how confusing this can be for the layperson. 

Every Business Deserves Good Marketing

I’m of the belief that you don’t have to know anything about digital marketing to have a productive conversation with an agency. 

In fact, I think that the best agencies will adapt their communication to work with you in order to better understand your business, your operations, and your goals. 

It is the agency’s responsibility to make it very easy for you to understand how their work will help your business grow in the way that it wants to.  

So, if you’re in the market for a new digital agency, here are five things you should be mindful of when making your decision!

If They Pitch Before They Know Your Goals, Run!

This is one of my biggest pet peeves, and it’s for a very simple reason: It’s arrogant. 

To me, coming to a kickoff meeting, a discovery call, or a first conversation with a pitch deck is an indicator of what type of communicator and listener you’re going to be, which is to say, not a good one. 

While I said earlier that digital marketing is simple — and I believe that to be true! — where things can be complicated is in understanding the unique challenges a business faces, their fears, their prior experiences with marketing, how the business operates, and so on. 

Those elements can get very complicated. Off-the-shelf solutions can never effectively address these things. The better we can understand those elements and empathize, the better we can deliver. Period. 

Reporting Should Be Custom And Specific To Your Goals

The world of digital marketing can get pretty murky sometimes. Not only is it rife with industry-specific terminology, it’s also full of metrics that sound kinda cool but don’t really matter all that much.

Not everything that can be measured really matters. Or, better put, it might not matter to you

When you’re choosing a digital marketing agency, you need to have a clear understanding of the reports that you’re being given, what’s being measured, and how those metrics are relevant to your business’s goals. 

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

It’s easy to get swept away by a big agency that has worked with lots of notable brands, but don’t discount the power of a small agency. 

While they might not always have the same resources of a global agency, smaller teams are often scrappier, more flexible, and can move faster. 

Relatedly, if you’re a smaller account working with a large agency, you might get the less experienced, more junior-level people focused on your brand. 

While that’s not inherently bad, ask yourself, are you considering this agency for its clout, or do you feel they’ll work hard to help you achieve the results you want?

 At the end of the day, who really has your back? That’s the question you need to ask yourself.

Are You Owning Or Renting?

It might surprise you to learn that some agencies actually license content, campaigns, and websites to their clients. 

This means that these things — your website, your content, and your ad campaigns — don’t belong to you! If you choose to leave the agency, then you’re forced to start over. Your assets don’t belong to you. You’ve been renting this whole time. 

Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your agreement and always choose an agency that guarantees your brand’s assets truly belong to you — just as they should!

The Best Digital Agencies Treat You Like a Partner 

Trust your instincts here. Do these folks feel like they’re going to be good partners to you, your team, and your business? 

What do others say about them? Does it feel too good to be true? Are they honest about the limitations of their service offerings? 

Personally, I’d be wary of any agency that claims they can do anything under the sun. There’s a big (and expensive!) difference between doing something and doing it well. Trust your gut. 

Again, it’s pretty simple: Your business deserves marketing support that adapts to its unique needs.

If you’re not getting that, or if you feel like your current digital marketing support doesn’t communicate well or deliver reports that are confusing — if you’re not really sure what your ROI actually is, then it’s time to find a relationship that puts your needs first. 

To reiterate my earlier statements: Clear goals. Consistent investments. Clear communication. Informed adjustments. Incredible results. 

That’s what we’re here for. If that sounds refreshing to you, then let’s talk! We’d love to show you what digital marketing can do for your business.


Get in touch with the Formada Team