Choosing the wrong partners can almost always end in disaster. This is true of any relationship, romantic or professional. For fans of reality TV, this might be the desired outcome but in marketing, getting it right can often be the difference between success and failure. Outsourcing to the right digital marketing agency can be tricky and picking the right ETHNIC such shop is an artform. Here are a few helpful hints that will take the guess work out of choosing the right agency.
The first thing to keep in mind is that not all shops are created equal. I’m reminded of the Diff’rent Strokes theme song, “what might be right for you, may not be right for some.” When embarking on a search for an ethnic digital marketing agency, marketers are generally trying to fulfill a need that’s vacant within their own in-house team. Some agency’s may only duplicate your in-house resources, making them less of a fit. You want to broaden your capabilities, experience and perspective as much as possible. Make a list of your deficiencies, not just based on skillset, but perhaps more importantly, the diversity of your current team. The biggest asset any ethnic agency should bring to the table is a more diversified perspective. Use that to your advantage.
Far too often marketers place too much emphasis on an agency’s past clients. Imagine we did that when picking a mate. Do people show up on the first date with a resume complete with a list of references from past relationships? Of course not. When picking an agency, you shouldn’t either. It’s about chemistry and I don’t mean getting along. You’re not looking for a kumbaya moment when first meeting. In an ethnic digital marketing agency, you should be looking for a team that understands differently than you do, has traveled a different road and can bring some constructive tension to the creative environment.
What makes a great ethnic digital marketing agency is usually why they’re not a general market agency. What I mean by that is that the business is niche and you have to recognize and accept that. Being excellent at both the skill of digital marketing and doing it for a specific marketplace requires focus and concentration which means they’re probably not experienced at much else. BE OKAY WITH THAT. You’re the tall dark and handsome, showing interest. Understand that it will be hard for them to say no to your advancements. Guard yourself against that. It will only lead to them providing you with a mediocre product and the relationship eventually souring. Keep them focused on what they do best and hire a different agency to do the other tasks or handle it in house.
Inbound Marketing is the process of attracting the attention of prospects with compelling content creation, before they are even ready to buy. It’s the high art of converting strangers into customers and promoters of your business. Traditional marketing is a one-way conversation where the marketer talks at the consumer. With inbound, marketers invite strangers to an ongoing value-driven conversation. By publishing the right content in the right place, you provide value to your customers, not intrusive messaging. Any effective digital marketing agency today should prescribe to the inbound methodology. If they don’t, cross them off your list immediately.
The internet tells no lies. Or does it? With google constantly at our fingertips, it’s natural that we do a search on anything we look to consume. This is a good start, but remember any good digital marketing agency knows this and like Instagram, is going to shoot at the best possible angle, with the best filter and best lighting so that by the time you research them, they’re presented perfectly. This isn’t helpful, instead of focusing on what’s being said about them, focus on what’s not. This will key you into what the agency feels isn’t a strength. For instance, it’s great if the website and case studies all feature amazing branding presentations. However, if they’re not demonstrating a core strength in the markets you wish to communicate your message with, that could be cause for concern.
One other more direct way to access their deficiencies is to be frank. If you already have established a relationship with the agency, ask them what areas they’re NOT strong in. This will not only give you insight into what they won’t be successful at executing for you, but also to their degree of honesty and self-awareness. These are both very important qualities you should be looking for in your ethnic digital marketing agency.
Lastly, it’s important that you spend some time in their space, “where the magic happens.” You can tell a lot about a potential partner by just seeing how they work. Anyone can appear to be utopian on the internet, but consider coming to their place for the pitch. You’ll gain insight on the size and make-up of their staff, as well as the work environment. Is it a place you would consider working at? If not, how can you work with them? Are they clean and organized? Don’t take this as an indicator of how they will treat your business but instead how they prioritize and what they value. Talk to their employees, especially those junior level, if you can. They will be the ones that will give you the most honest opinion about who the agency is. Taking this extra step in your research will ensure you don’t wake up the next morning in a panic, wondering what just happened.
Partnerships are partnerships. Whether they’re romantic or professional, most of the rules still apply. Lasting relationships with your ethnic digital marketing agency are predicated on a mutual understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You must accept them and be committed to working together for a mutual gain. Each agency is different and compatibility is of the utmost importance. By following these simple guidelines you can prevent yourself from a bad break-up and sitting on the couch crying with a pint of rum raisin ice cream.