Choosing a digital agency?
For most Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), the decision to hire or outsource to a digital agency can be daunting and complicated. You're tasked with finding the right agency to become an extension to your company - and that is not often easy. Let's take a look at some of the best practices for CMOs to keep in mind.
1. Filling the void
Many companies have their own internal marketing department. The first thing for a CMO to ask themselves is:
- What are the limits of my in-house marketing team?
- Do I have the technical expertise to execute on my digital strategy?
- Do I even have anyone who can put together a digital strategy?
It's hard for an in-house team to be able to cover all aspects of online marketing as well as a dedicated digital agency can. The agency you choose should be able to fill the void when your team reaches its limits.
Once you've determined that your company does, in fact, need an external digital agency, the next logical step is to outline what exactly it is that they will be working towards. Outlining key (strategic and business focussed) goals will help you find the right agency to work with. These goals should incorporate the roles your in-house team might play, and set up the eventual agency to understand your objectives.
3. Know your budget
Both you and the prospective agencies you accept proposals from will obviously be concerned with the amount of money your business has for your online marketing efforts. For this reason, as a CMO, you'll want to know upfront how much money you have in the kitty for agency assistance.
Also ask yourself: Can I get more funding for the express purpose of engaging an agency? If the answer is no, you might have to cut your existing department budget to make it happen - which can have the adverse effect of straining their resources further and creating more work for the prospective agency.
4. Play the field
Don't just go with the first agency you come across. Start by circulating an RFP (request for proposal) and see what responses you get. Think of this as a feeler, but don't waste anyone's time. If you get a response from an agency that meets your expectations in terms of creativity, budget, and scope, it's worth following through.
5. Look beyond the hype
Choosing an agency really boils down to the right fit. Creativity, capability, and energy are far more important than Hollywood production value. If the agency you are assessing has the sleekest, high-dollar portfolio pieces in the world, it's all for nothing if they don't anchor that portfolio with a verifiable track record of success. Seek an agency that reciprocates your RFP with a fitting proposal that denotes chemistry and work ethic that is complementary to your company culture.
As a CMO, you should be aware that an agency can be your best ally in your digital marketing efforts. If you've reached the limits of what you can achieve with your internal team of talent and resources, there is no reason not to enlist the expertise of others to achieve the marketing goals for any business. Happy hunting!