Frankly, there are a lot of charlatans in digital marketing. It’s an extremely popular space and more and more companies know they need a strong digital presence to succeed. That opens the door for companies to enter without a solid skill set or sound experience. When attempting to vet a digital marketing firm, there are a few things you can demand to better understand the skill set of each firm you need to better understand.
While some of these may seem obvious, getting an answer will be tougher than you may think. So without further ado, here is the list.
1. How will results be tracked and proven.
Demanding to know exactly how results will be proven is mission critical to understanding how each firm sees success. And when you hear about engagement, run! Digital marketing drives a level of tracking much deeper than that.
You may hear them say CPMs, video view completions, impressions, opt-in additions, CTRs, and more. These all speak to engagement; not conversions. Remember, your digital spend should be 100% focused on conversions.
While this may seem like a no-brainer, when vetting a digital firm, references speak directly to past success. Very few companies in this space will miraculously drive success for the first time with your company. More likely, a lack of references illuminates a gaping hole in their strategy.
Additionally, references will help to identify vertical market experience or it will reveal they are currently working for one of your competitors. Call these references. Focus your questions around conversions and specific results. Many companies get fooled into thinking engagement is enough in digital. Remember, this isn’t a billboard; this is digital. Conversions are all that matters.
3. Report Samples
Getting a sample of the types of reports they offer gives you detailed insight into what they are tracking, what they are focused on and most importantly, how they are tracking conversions. Report samples helps to show you what they value within the campaigns they run.
When we are asked for report samples, it tells us we have a partner on the other side of the table. It allows us to set expectations and agree upon the details our client values and which details they do not. This is possibly the most important part of the vetting process. Compare the reporting you get from several firms and you will quickly see who is serious and who is not.
A couple of caveats to keep in mind, conversions mean something different to companies with different goals. If your goal is e-commerce put-thru, make sure you make that clear. If your goal is appointments or lead generation make sure you vet the firms you speak with for those specific skills and experience. Whatever the goals, define them, demand reporting that speaks to specifically to those goals and above all, get everything you need in writing.