24th May 2017
You’ve been working with your digital agency for 18 months and all is going well. Targets are being met, deadlines are being hit, and you have a good relationship with your account team. But you’re sure that there are extra opportunities out there – and when performance is already good, it can be difficult to ask for more.
There are countless articles online that describe questions you should ask you digital agency, but these are often one-sided and better suited to a new agency/client partnership.
What about when your relationship is already well established? How can you take it to the next level?
A healthy relationship is not about lining up your account team and firing questions at them; it should be collaborative communication. So, this article focuses on conversations, with questions only being used to begin those conversations.
Here are some of the discussions you should be having with your agency, to enhance the relationship, bring innovation to your account and work together to spot those elusive opportunities.
By ‘first’ I don’t mean “BEST RANKING FIRST PAGE GOOGLE NO1 SEO”. I mean first in everything: first to market, first to identify a new trend, first to be seen, front of mind. THE leading player in the industry.
Your agency might present a few home truths, so be prepared to be told that you aren’t fast moving enough or your budget is restrictive. But by asking this question, you’re almost guaranteed to create some interesting discussion, and help to identify areas where you can both improve.
Phone your main point of contact. Ask for an hour’s informal meeting to discuss your current position and to air anything that you think might be holding you back.
Once a quarter.
Your agency supplies you with the digital marketing experts: the SEO analyst, the paid search manager, the marketing strategist. But YOU are the best person to provide insight into your business, your products and your market.
Think about it this way, if your agency team was condensed into a single, incredible hybrid human that worked in-house, how would you ensure that you were keeping them updated? You wouldn’t want a marketing manager to go off and run a stand-alone campaign without any input from the product team, commercial team, brand manager, ecommerce manager etc. So your agency shouldn’t either. Ask them what’s missing from their knowledge bank, and look at how you can provide it.
Email your main point of contact. Tell them that you’d love to get a list of ‘things you’ve always wanted to know about our industry’. Then workshop with your team to provide a comprehensive guide for your agency to work from. The agency will absolutely love it!
Every six months – but as soon as developments happen, let your agency know!
Competitor analysis is ESSENTIAL, but often it gets left by the wayside. Your agency, as an informed outsider, is perfectly placed to research your competitors’ activity and use it to provide guidance and insights that benefit your own strategy.
If you’re a smaller player in your industry, chances are that you don’t have a multi-million-pound budget to conduct a global audience research and marketplace analysis. But you can bet your boots that the bigger competitors have already done it! Your agency can conduct research into resources produced by others in your industry, and use it to influence your own marketing knowledge. Just make sure that the information you’re using is made publicly available.
Your agency can also find audience data, product FAQs and pieces of high-performing content. They can put together analyses on your competitors’ social media presence, and use tools like similarweb.com to determine the performance of your competitors, such as their traffic sources. Your paid search manager can give you a list of the ads that always appear alongside yours, so you can add features that your competitors don’t have. Understanding the USPs of those aligned with you will help you to better sell your own.
In good time before your next account review, speak to your account manager and ask them if competitor research can be included in your next plan. Provide them with three main competitors that you think are doing well. If your strategist feels that it’s not the best use of budget, ask them to cost it up as a separate project. It will absolutely be money well spent.
Do it now! And then repeat every quarter.
Ultimately, the most important aspect of any agency relationship is to encourage a culture of openness. If the agency feels they can come to you with issues, concerns, compliments and questions, you’re guaranteed more rounded collaboration and improved performance!