There are a lot of good agencies. And there are also a lot of bad ones.
So how do you know what you’re really getting when you contract with a new agency?
Whether you’re a large company or a small business, you have a certain budget, a certain number of resources, and a certain amount of time to get your work done. In many cases, you need to rely on a team of partners who can help you use your budget effectively and make the most of it. Aside from research, instinct, and experience, it’s important that you have the right team on your side, because the responsibility is yours.
So I thought it would be helpful to share some of my experiences in choosing the right Digital marketing Agency Dubai UAE to help you at times when you have questions or need to outsource your entire project to an agency.
Who is really going to work on my project?
Well, it depends. Some agencies have a hierarchical process structure that requires a single point of contact between the client and the agency itself. That makes life easier on the agency side. From the client’s perspective, you should ideally have direct access (phone, email, etc.) to everyone working on your brief. This includes everyone from the production artist to the person ultimately responsible for your business (usually an account executive or the agency head). Ultimately, however, this overhead can cost time and money, which can make smaller projects more costly.
Personally, I prefer to work with agencies that have an experienced person associated with my client. A person who knows the process or even does the project themselves. It’s kind of like when I go to a restaurant and order my food. I want a waitress who will listen to me, tell me the cost of items I may not need, and know that special orders will take longer or cost more. The same goes for an agency. For me, it has generally worked well to either work with a smaller agency where you have access to more experienced staff, or make sure you have an experienced account manager who understands your processes and business, and knows the cost structure of their own company (no a la cart items, no surprise invoices).
How will the agency measure marketing success?
This question is easy to answer, but only if you ask it. There are many ways to track results using software and systems… quality of campaign responses, number of new customers, media coverage, web conversions, web traffic, email clicks, etc. But the first question you need to ask yourself is: what is most important to me as a customer, and is that important to my “boss”?
Before you embark on a project, ask yourself what is most important to measure and what results are sufficient to justify the time and expense. However, be realistic and think of your Digital marketing Agency Dubai UAE as a partner, not a vendor. For example, you might have a goal of generating 100 qualified business opportunities, but have limited budget, a small market, or don’t have the sales resources to follow up on the leads generated. This is another reason why an experienced account manager and marketing team are essential. They will help you set your goals so you can work together to achieve them. Once you’ve established your goals, you can create a plan that considers the cause-and-effect relationship between your marketing program and your results. Finally, I can’t stress enough that you need to share these goals with your sales team, your executives and your marketing partners, as each will play a role in their success.
Should I market to sell, or market to train?
Let me answer this question with a question. Do you like sales pressure? No, I don’t. If you want to build a long-term relationship with a customer, then education-based marketing is without question the better method. People are tired of selling and sales pressure. Trust needs to be built. You do this by showing that you are a leader in your field and have solved the problem for others who feel similarly to you. Potential customers want information and advice, which is the foundation of education-based marketing. Until business owners recognize what their customers want – and give it to them – many companies will continue to receive little response to their marketing.
Rely on a variety of techniques to get your message across. Training videos on YouTube may be appropriate for some customers, while white papers on the same topic sent via email may be better for others. Common training methods used today include blogs, white papers, case studies, articles, and videos… and most can be created at relatively low cost. Just make sure you give people what they want in the medium they want it.
If you’re looking for marketing support, look for people who specialize in both education and sales. This will benefit your reputation, your relationships, and your SEO results.
Tough question #4: How will I be billed for services: by hourly rate, project rate, or retainer?
A project can take 10 minutes or 10 weeks. So if I were to bill by hourly rates, I would need to know exactly how long the project will take so there are no surprises. An hourly rate means that you are billed for the exact amount of time it takes me to complete the work.
After all, some agencies have to charge for extra time that they have to recoup in other areas. I’m not a big proponent of an hourly rate because.
1. different skill sets have different rates (i.e. a Production Artist is not billed at the same rate as a Creative Director),
2. i have to record hours on a project-by-project basis. That’s an administrative burden.
Of course, with larger agencies, clients have the advantage of being able to selectively replace higher status staff with lower hourly rate staff, but you don’t want to ask a Production Artist for general marketing strategy.
For small projects, ask to be billed in increments smaller than 1 hour. For larger projects, many smaller clients are happy to be billed on a project basis. We develop a plan together, I provide an estimate, and then the project is completed and paid for in stages. This is a good balance if you want to test an agency for performance and build a longer-term working relationship between client and agency. However, it does mean that the agency is less willing to negotiate the terms of the contract, as the long-term relationship may be uncertain.
As an agency owner, I personally prefer a retainer. And why? Because it allows me to spread the costs and hours appropriately. And the client can count on me to allow them a certain number of hours. That gives both parties some room for negotiation. For example, on a retainer, I would discuss with the client that I would normally charge X for that amount of work, but in the interest of a long-term relationship, I will charge X minus Y%. In the interest of fairness, I also wouldn’t complain if the amount of work was a little higher in a given month (and I wouldn’t expect the client to complain if a month was a little low). In the end, it’s balanced.
An alternative to other agencies is that I bundle my services into larger projects with a fixed pricing structure. This gives the client the benefit of a retainer model (a reduced cost package of integrated services) with a fixed estimate for completion of the project.
The hard conclusion
There are a lot of great agencies out there. And there are a lot of bad ones, too. Deciding on an agency can be a long, arduous process without guidance or experience. Remember, taking the time to choose the right agency and answering the right questions are the keys to your success. We hope this article helps a little.