How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Agency?
Imagine you go to a supermarket and are looking for some tea. You are a tea lover; you know that you want tea, but there are many options as you approach the shelf. You have green tea, black tea, and masala tea.
You select green tea amongst them. But still, the problem is not solved. You again see many options for green tea. Many brands provide 10% off, 50% off, and some at no discount at all. What do you do in that situation?
Now, replace the tea with the business you want to promote, loads of options such as the digital marketing agencies amongst which you have to select the right one. So that’s where this article would serve as a guide on How to choose the right digital marketing agency.
But before moving on to the selection, you should be clear why you require one.
Consider What is Happening around You Digitally.
The world is a crowded place, digitally at least. Out of the 7.9 billion (and counting), approximately 4.66 billion are active internet users.
If the above chart is not convincing you to opt for digital marketing for your business, consider this, approximately 62% of the world population is using the internet, growing at an annual rate of 4.8%. The number of social media users has been increasing roughly by 10% in the past 12 months.
We can further drill this down to the percentage of people using the internet to watch videos, spend time on social media, gaming, and reading news. On scrutinizing the data; it becomes clear that digital marketing can surely help your business grab more eyeballs.
Another benefit of the digital market is outreach. An average human being spends 3.5 hours on mobile and 1.5 hours on various other devices. The right digital marketing agency will allow your product to be marketed appropriately during these spots such that it can grab the attention of a viewer.
Let’s take a real-life example. All of us watch videos on YouTube. The way it has evolved is stupendous. However, let’s focus on the ads. Early YouTube videos started with no ads, then after some time there were ads, but it could be skipped by the viewer, then it evolved to a stage where the videos can be skipped after 5 seconds.
And now we have reached a stage where we have to watch the entire video, most of the time. So as a consumer of the video, you spend more time on the video than the actual video. Now the context of this example is to think,
Whether the viewership of videos on YouTube has reduced since the entire ads have been playing? Statistically, it’s a big “No”.
A viewer watches a video since they are hooked to the content of the video. As a result, they willingly or unwillingly get connected to the advertisement too. So, in short, better promotion.
Similarly, every web page opened by you, every link clicked by you is an opportunity for a digital campaign. The result is better outreach, and as a viewer, you have more options to select and decide from. An agency taps into such nuances and promotes your product.
You may be interested in the Top 11 Digital Marketing Agencies in Delhi
Do You Need a Digital Marketing Agency?
Since we have already covered the various aspects in which digital marketing is helpful to boost a product, we are left with a few more questions. So let us try to find out if you actually need an agency.
1) You Have a Powerful Story to Tell. But You are not a Good Storyteller
For a business, the product to be promoted is its latest innovation. You need it to be successful, but along with that, you need the story to be told. The story may represent the precision with which a product is prepared so that it is safe for the consumer, or it enthralls the consumer to buy it based on the freshness and newness that comes with it, or, a sense of strength that the product represents.
If you are determined that a story needs to be told, hiring a digital marketing agency can be the right choice since you get a storyteller to tell the story of what the product represents. Let’s understand the power of storytelling with an example.
There was a campaign by IAPC (Indian Association of Palliative Care) to create awareness regarding palliative care. In this campaign, many stand-up acts are performed by people who had or are facing severe illness.
If you get through the emotional part of the acts and start analyzing, you can understand it was a beautiful digital marketing campaign. It gave the message it had to offer; it had people who had gone through the trauma but even more important than that, touch on a taboo topic with ease and naturally allow the emotions to flow. Do check it out and analyze if such storytelling with impact creation is required for your business. If it does, you can go ahead and choose an agency.
2) Maintain the Success
You have done all the hard work, and your business has been a success. But you feel stressed now, the stress of maintaining the reputation and success that has been built by you. This requires scores of analytics and a detailed market review to ensure that your business remains the numero uno. In such a situation, you should definitely hire an agency that will ensure that you do not have to worry about anything else other than maintaining the quality of what you have created.
For example, Tata did a brilliant campaign which was called the #MissingI campaign. It was launched as a part of Global Iodine Deficiency Day on October 21st, 2018. It was created as a part of creating awareness amongst the people regarding iodine deficiency.
But the campaign was made more successful by Hindustan times, who removed the letter “I” from the entire front-page headlines, and Times of India, who removed the letter “I” in Times of India from the website.
Other media outlets too joined the cause as Republic TV removed the letter “I” from the headlines. So, in short, it went viral and was successful in creating awareness.
This type of digital marketing campaign creates a feeling of goodness, maintains the CSR activity & enhances the already achieved success. If your business falls in such a category you should start searching for the right digital marketing agency.
Check out the Top 11 Digital Marketing Agencies in Gurgaon
3) Keeping a Check on the Competition
Competition, It’s a serious word. Your business depends on competition. Why? Consider this, you have created something and now have a monopoly in the market. Everyone buys a particular product from you. Don’t you think others won’t be watching you? Won’t they try to replicate or reverse engineer what you have created?
This has been going on for generations; however, copying something has become easier with the internet available everywhere. This is where an agency comes to play. Its analytics can provide detail on how your product is doing in terms of tapping into people’s minds and addressing a competition to take it head-on.
Many competitions have taken center stage around digital media. The McDonald’s Vs. Burger King rivalry, the competition between Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors, Zomato Vs. Swiggy, etc., are prime examples of businesses now using social media to dig at their rivals and ensure healthy competition. These competitions are going to get bigger and better. So you need to be in the right zone when tackling the completion.
You have a long-term vision for your business and the product that it delivers. You have a complete road map and vision for the upcoming years. But do you have the strategy to ensure the product will enter people’s minds much before its actual launch or roll out?
Let’s take an example. Being a 90’s kid, I know how movies were promoted back then. Every movie would have its posters cut out at every location in the city. At that point, these posters would come up just before a week from the film’s release. The reason for such short marketing was the number of films released during a year.
Every movie had a chance to earn profit from the box office. Do you think the same strategy would work now? Not just the competition, but the level of competition is so high that for a movie that may release on Christmas 2022, the marketing strategies have to be drawn since the film’s announcement.
The reason for this kind of marketing strategy is that a movie buff should be kept aware of every movement. If the movie has its favorite superstar, the particular person will track news related to it; they will scan through every article which gathers the slightest information regarding the movie. In this way, they generate revenues much before the actual release of the film.
This is the same strategy required for businesses that have a long vision. The consumer needs to be teased regarding the upcoming product in a particular manner. A digital marketing agency makes sure that there is always the right kind of hype around what is getting developed so that the consumer neither gets carried away with expectations nor does it completely forget about the upcoming product.
The above points can help you in the decision-making process. Once the decision has been made and you confirm that a digital marketing agency is required for better business prospects, we move on to the question of choosing the right digital marketing agency.
You also have the option to learn the nitty-gritty of digital marketing under the expert guidance of digital marketers with the Best Digital Marketing Course
More Courses at IIM SKILLS
How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency?
Since you have made it through to this part of the article, I believe I have successfully generated intrigue in you regarding the usefulness of a digital marketing agency. We will now take a deep dive into what matters the most for you once you have decided to hire it.
1) Need for Fresh Ideas
At the inception of the article, we discovered that there are more than 4.6 billion internet users in the world. This makes the world a smaller place. We have seen music directors copy tunes from around the world and use them as their songs.
With internet access, catching such rip-offs has become easy. Likewise, rather than using the same template and approach for your digital marketing campaign, the agency you choose should have fresh ideas that have not been replicated earlier, at least for the most part.
Your product may have several competitors worldwide, and a similar pattern of digital media campaign will not assure the consumer to use the product.
A prime example of such a campaign was the HUL’s attempt to remove the word “Fair” from “Fair & Lovely” and replace it with the word “Glow”. Following the protests in the US against racial discrimination triggered by the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, the campaign called Black Lives Matter had reignited, and under fire were several agencies and products that were said to be stereotyping skin tones.
HUL, under pressure, has announced that it will drop the word “Fair” from its name and will be restricting the use of words like fair, white, etc. To promote these changes, a TVC was aired. But, to the surprise of most in the business, it was just whitewashing a consumer. It changes the word brightness with HD glow; conceptually, it was just old wine in a new bottle. This led to criticism from various quarters, and the chance to actually make a change was lost.
So once you want to select a particular agency, please ensure that the idea you are being presented with is a new one. An agency will help you in creating the right impact.
2) Access their Clientele, Testimonials, and Experience. But Do Give a Fair Chance to Promising Newcomers
As the title suggests, go through their clientele, overall experience, and the testimonials from neutral locations. These are some essential points before selecting practically anything. However, to access and understand this data, you need to do your homework correctly.
Please note that any agency in any field may have lost out on hundreds of orders before receiving a good one. Even after years of experience, there will be orders which they have lost. Do have a conversation regarding the same with them.
Similarly, there might be orders which they could not execute entirely due to various circumstances. Understand if they are actually comfortable talking about the failures. Let’s face it; every campaign cannot be a success. Even if it is a success, the degree of success may change. You should be clear that the agency should be open with you in all terms so that you can brainstorm together during success and failure.
Further, many agencies out there do not have the experience but have a lot of skill sets. Please give them a chance. If you find everything they present in line with your requirement but are just going for an experienced agency just for the sake of experience, please don’t do it.
New agencies with fresh ideas and ever fresher approaches would just need an opportunity to prove themselves. Give them a chance to show their talent instead.
3) Get the Best among the Lot, Not the Cheapest
To be honest, I do not understand the concept of getting an agency just because they were cheaper than others. You do need to negotiate with all the agencies. But, would it be fair to award your business contract to someone with whom you are not completely satisfied?
With the right agency, you might be able to give your brand an exponential rise. However, if an agency has quoted less than the fair amount, it may have the following reasons.
a) It majorly outsources the work to freelancers, and the actual team consists of a few people. Please make sure you dive into this point correctly. I have nothing against freelancers, and they play a significant role in ensuring the market remains fair-priced. The freelancers often do a better job than the in-house employees, but you need to ensure that the core group created could stay the same until the end of the project.
b) The agency might be able to target only limited growth for your product’s digital presence. Enough to ensure that you get the desired results; however, not enough to uncap the project’s full potential.
4) Meet the Entire Team
A single person cannot be the flag bearer of all the works done in any business. Please ensure you get introduced to the entire team from the agency rather than the lead. Ideas are driven when worked collectively, and you would not want to hire an agency wherein one person does all the jobs. Meeting the team also gives you a chance to understand them and ensure that you have the agency’s right skill set to do your job.
5) Ensure that the Style as well as Substance Matches
Working patterns or style is also a factor that needs to be ensured. You need to be clear that the agency can do the work in their working style. However, when it comes to integration, there needs to be two-way communication. The metrics delivered by the agency and your personal calculations should match up at a level to take the business forward together.
Work patterns differ from business to business. You cannot force a creative agency to work as a sales agency. However, the deadlines and communication pattern should be in a predefined style as per the customer’s requirement.
Further, the substance, i.e., deliverables, in this case, should be clearly outlined along with the time frame with ample amount of time for firefighting if any plan backfires or the campaign doesn’t create an impact as desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) How much does a digital marketing agency charge?
Every business has different requirements. Some enterprises need PPC(Pay-per-click), SEO(Search engine optimization), and some require Email marketing. Further, the services of the digital marketing agency can be availed to meet specific targets or for long-term prospects. An amount for the same is only decided after the business requirement is understood. It can range from a few thousand to lakhs depending on the vision and period.
2) Which type of digital marketing is best?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content marketing, Social Media Marketing, email marketing, Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) are some types of digital marketing. Choosing the best amongst these is dependent on the business owner and the digital marketing agency.
3) How much budget should you have to hire a digital marketing agency?
A start-up and an established business will not have the same marketing budget. To play safe, we suggest allocating at least 50% of the overall marketing budget to the digital marketing agency selected by you.
4) Is online marketing hard?
It is tough for a business owner to keep the data of the things happening online. The best way to deal with it is by hiring a digital marketing agency that can reduce the stress of data collection and analysis.
The requirement of digital marketing for small, medium, and large-scale businesses is on the rise due to the internet. A person who used to buy equipment by word of mouth from their neighbor is now going through YouTube reviews to understand the product and then decide whether to buy it.
Start-ups are heavily dependent on digital marketing for establishing their brand name. So if you are one of those who have decided to go for a digital marketing agency, go ahead, choose the right digital marketing agency considering the above points, and become a part of the digital age of marketing.