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The new business roller coaster

If it’s your job to drum up new business, you know it’s like a roller coaster. Sometimes you have the Midas touch and sometimes you go weeks without bringing in any new business.

As sales and marketing are so closely aligned, when sales are down, marketing can often provide insights. Perhaps they haven’t run any ads in a while because they’re busy preparing for a big trade show. Maybe they’re trying different tactics and they’re falling short.

Likely, marketing has been reluctant to fully embrace digital marketing and it’s possible that their minimal efforts are just not hitting the mark.

Time to move to Plan B?

During a discussion with the marketing team, you find that they are advertising regularly in the premier trade magazine. But, last month, they posted on Facebook about the company’s newest technology which will be exhibited at that upcoming trade show, so that’s something…right?

You ask more about digital marketing and are only mildly surprised to hear that they really don’t know much about search engine optimization, social marketing or organic ranking. To be fair, they’ve never had to know much about it because the traditional, status quo advertising plan seems to have been working. Digital marketing is pretty complex and time consuming, they explain, so perhaps they’ll try to learn more about it, when they have time, “after the trade show.”

Scope out the competition

As an understanding of the competitive landscape is part of any good sales team’s arsenal, you need to know what your competitors are doing online. Upon examination, you learn that they have blogs; they show up at the top of the page when you search your company’s product lines. They’re writing technical white papers and collecting prospects’ info in exchange for the privilege to download those papers and it’s a good bet they’re building a sizeable database of potential customers. To boot, they’ve got hundreds of followers on Facebook; you’ve got 42, and you thought that was pretty darn good.

Should you hire a digital agency?

Since your internal marketing team has neither the time nor the expertise to help you get to the next level, it might be time to explore options outside of your organization. Where do you start? What should you look for?

Understand your needs

It is super important that you ask the right questions if you expect to engage in a dialogue that will determine suitability for your particular marketing requirements.

Where’s the pain? Start a list of issues you would need an outside agency to address. Once you determine what areas are critical to your success, you can move on to exploring an agency’s credentials.

Depth of expertise should be at the top of your list when considering agency candidates. Digital marketing encompasses many techniques, so you will want a digital company that is adept at search and social media marketing, email automation and database management, programmatic and display advertising, to name a few.  Whether or not you intend to use all these services, this should provide you with a “short list.” Compile your list and have an initial conversation with each to discuss your pain points.

Interview those on your shortlist to get a feel for their skill sets as well as their culture, as it is crucial that your values align. Ultimately, you are hiring a communications partner … someone who will work in tandem with you toward success.

Find out how their internal processes work and it will tell you a lot about how your project(s) will be handled. Be sure to follow up with any references they provide, and don’t be afraid to ask about expectations and delivery. Do they come in on time and on budget?

Involve your marketing team. They will appreciate being in the loop and apt to be a lot happier if they understand they did nothing “wrong;” that they are important contributors to the overall success of the company. Their suggestions will also help to guide your search for a digital marketing partner agency and go a long way toward developing a cooperative, harmonious attitude among all parties.

We’d love to help you out more with these next steps into finding the right agency for you, so feel free to reach out and set up a consultation with us today!

Laura Oliveto

Laura began her career in advertising during the Mad Men era and has enjoyed watching the industry morph as digital marketing revolutionized everything. Her background in PR is essential in creating content that is airtight, both factually and grammatically.

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SSDM

Founded in 2008, SSDM is an integrated digital marketing agency focused on the customer journey. With an ever-growing team of nerds and ninjas, you never know what we’ll come up with next!