Is your company prepared to keep up with the ever-changing digital marketing landscape? 2020 will go down as the year that marketing became a priority in the boardroom, with 80% of senior executives admitting that marketing’s role in setting corporate strategy has expanded since the pandemic began. So, it should be no surprise that digital marketing consultancies have boomed.
But with thousands of digital marketing consultancies offering their services, it can be difficult to hire the right team for your brand. Everyone is quick to assure you that they can provide the services you need, at the price you want, and with the results you expect. But if this were true, why is proving marketing ROI one of the biggest challenges most brands face?
The Importance of Outsourcing Your Digital Marketing Strategy
You could certainly try to handle all the digital marketing your company needs internally, but that isn’t easy. There’s a severe lack of digital marketing talent. Supply is not meeting demand, and hiring someone can be very competitive, especially when their skills and experience are difficult to assess.
A single person or small team cannot handle the many complicated and comprehensive tasks required for executing a digital marketing strategy. And few companies have the budget to hire multiple people and develop an internal team. Even then, most teams still have to outsource at least one activity—e.g., blog writing, video creation, marketing automation, marketing technology operations.
The solution? Hire a digital marketing consultancy that has a pre-built team of specialists and experts in their field. Their dedicated team—with varied talent and skill sets—can oversee your strategy, execute your digital marketing plans and deliver ROI producing the data-driven results you want.
But how do you ensure that you are hiring the right digital marketing consultancy for your business?
9 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Digital Marketing Consultancy
You must research and interview multiple consultancies before you take the plunge and hire the right marketing partner for your brand. The good news is that this task doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think.
There are nine questions you can ask that will help you determine if a digital marketing consultancy is the right one for you.
1. What industries do they specialize in?
Targeted marketing strategies should be unique to your industry. For example, a bank should not use the same digital marketing consultancy as a clothing store or a B2B technology company. That’s why it’s essential to hire a digital marketing consultancy that specializes in your industry. This will ensure they have the unique insight and expertise to create the right messaging and positioning strategy to reach your target audience.
For example, at Mindtap Digital, we specialize in three sectors:
- Financial services: We’re prepared to hit the ground running with digital marketing strategies for banking, asset management, brokerage, capital markets, wealth management, lending, insurance, and more.
- Fintech: We offer digital marketing strategies to create high-performing digital experiences for both B2C and B2B fintech companies.
- Technology: We have more than a decade of experience working with SaaS and technology solutions for a faster track to results.
2. Are brand strategy and creative design core competencies?
Right now, 51% of customers say most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences. Much of this has to do with the fact that few companies have brand strategy and creative design as core competencies. This means they don’t know how to put the user experience at the forefront of their website, app, social media, and more.
Experience design is a critical aspect of every digital marketing strategy. Every online interaction, across every channel, must deliver consistent and high-quality experiences that align with the needs, expectations, and preferences of your audience. Hire a digital marketing consultancy that can design and deploy a cohesive ecosystem for your brand that will attract, engage, convert, and delight your prospects and customers.
3. How do they engage and communicate with their clients?
When hiring a digital marketing consultancy communication is vital. Since the team is not in your office, you need a solid communication plan that outlines:
- When and how often meetings will occur, who will be present, and what will be discussed.
- How to get in touch quickly: email, text, phone, and communication tools (Slack, Mavenlink, Google Chat, Teams, etc.).
- Your access to workflows and / metrics to track the results of your digital marketing engagement: HubSpot, etc.
4. What digital marketing tactics do marketing consultancies offer to meet your needs?
What are your digital marketing goals? What do you hope to achieve with a full digital marketing consultancy working for your firm to carry out your plans?
Once you have determined your overall business goals, you can interview the consultancy to see if they have the skills and tactics to formulate and execute your digital marketing strategy.
There are a wide range of digital marketing strategies and tactics that you’ll need to be successful. A few of the most important include:
- Positioning and messaging – ensuring that your firm is clearly communicating to your target market(s) and that the content you produce aligns with your messaging and brand
- Personas and user journeys – developed to ensure your content is of interest to constituents and that the content speaks to how you might solve a problem they have
- Content strategy and creation – a core tactic of any digital marketing program is publishing and distributing thought leadership content
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – analysis and optimization performed to ensure that your company is more readily found when prospects are searching for an answer to a problem they have
- Email marketing – nurturing your database with relevant and digestible content as part of engaging your audience until they are ready to buy
- Social media – an important channel as part of a digital marketing strategy
- Video creation – becoming more important in communicating your offering; also being used by sales to communicate to prospects in a more personal way
- Pay-per-click advertising – a technique used to bid for keywords you do not yet rank for, until your organic traffic grows
5. What methods and tools do they use for project management?
Within a digital marketing strategy, there can be a number of campaigns, tactics, and tools running simultaneously, making project management a challenge. A digital marketing consultancy must be able to keep track of all of the different tasks and provide feedback on what’s working and what isn’t.
Successful project management requires tools that track progress, share assets, manage communication, and examine tasks and deliverables in detail. Confirm that your chosen consultancy uses a tool like Mavelink to manage all of these details for you and communicates progress with your team.
6. Do they offer a data-driven, targeted marketing strategy?
61% of marketers believe their marketing strategy is effective. And 57% of marketers are challenged with optimizing next-best-action marketing decisions. A sound digital marketing strategy is vital to your success.
Best-in-class digital marketing consultancies should approach your strategy from a deep understanding of your business—your positioning, your buyer personas, your path to purchase, and your business goals. From there, they should use analytical tools to regularly collect and interpret data about the success of their marketing efforts.
When you ask, they should know if something is working or not, what ROI it delivers, and how it’s meeting your goals. And if something isn’t working, they should be able to recognize the issue immediately and use A/B testing principles to switch to a more effective strategy.
7. What capabilities and technology enablement services do they offer?
76% of people think marketing has changed more in the past two years than it did in the previous fifty. Keeping up with this ever-changing industry and remaining on the cutting edge isn’t easy. Best-in-class digital marketing consultancies use technology enablement services such as CMS, CRM, and marketing automation platforms to create and manage the needs of your business.
The right consultancy will have an optimal technology stack that brings together their capabilities and talent to integrate, configure, and manage your marketing strategy. They should also have the ability to build, test, and deploy websites, products, and applications as needed.
8. How do they demonstrate ROI throughout the marketing funnel?
40% of marketers say proving the ROI of their marketing activities is a top marketing challenge. And this is despite large digital advertising budgets, complex strategies, and myriad tactics.
A digital marketing consultancy should focus on deploying strategies to help you generate qualified leads, support sales efforts, and close more deals. They should have your specific revenue goals in mind and then partner with you to create and execute a plan that measurably achieves those objectives.
They should also have the data and analytics to tell you exactly how effective each of their digital marketing tactics is. For example:
- ABC blog drove X% organic traffic and led to X conversions.
- Social media drives # impressions and X website clicks.
- XYZ campaign generated # qualified leads.
9. Can they scale and grow with your business?
If your digital marketing strategy is successful, your business should grow. As your company grows, your digital marketing needs will become more complex and varied. Can the digital marketing consultancy grow and scale with your business?
Discuss the size of the team who will be working on your project. Can it expand? Does the consultancy have the capabilities that you need now and may need in the future? Do they offer ongoing support that can fluctuate with your needs and plans?
Partnering with a Digital Marketing Consultancy
Before you hire a consultancy to work on your digital marketing strategy, make sure they understand your objectives and have a clear plan for helping you grow. The more questions you ask upfront, the more confident you will feel in your decision. No question is too absurd, and this list is just a guide.
Remember, it’s all about what is essential to you. After all, it’s your brand’s success at stake.