So you've done your research and you've developed a shortlist of marketing consultants to help you with your digital marketing needs. You like their websites, you like their portfolio and their teams look great and awesome to work with.
But is that enough to base such an important decision on? We don't think so. Before you sign a contract, make sure you ask these 5 questions.
Question 1: What's the place of digital in your campaigns?
This is probably the most important question, and this is why it comes in the first place.
Today, marketing cannot be done without digital. There's no way to build a successful campaign without at least web and social media components. Other digital channels can be taken into consideration:
- Native advertising
- Inbound marketing techniques
If your marketing consultant has little experience with digital, you probably won't have the kind of results you're looking for. Make sure that digital marketing is part of the agency's DNA, not just an add-on for special projects.
Question 2: Who's going to take care of my project?
When working with a digital marketing consultant, you want a rockstar project manager. A good project manager:
- Is attentive to your needs
- Can get things done
- Is an expert at communicating
- Mediates between you and the team working on your project
As you meet and get to know your potential candidates, you'll want to meet the person who's going to be your main point of contact. Ask about the firm's project management tool of choice and how they use it with clients. The project manager's ability to explain the project management system and how it benefits you can tell you a lot about how they're organized.
Question 3: Can you describe a similar project to ours and how you made it successful?
Checking for specific experience in your field or for a similar project is essential. You want your marketing consultant to know what they're doing when handling your project.
Obviously, no project is ever identical, but you want to look for work similar in scope and content. Company size, budget size, number of employees involved, length in months or weeks; these are all important aspects of a project. Knowing if they handled something similar recently can help you make your final decision.
Question 4: What's your ideal client relationship?
Client-consultant relationships are a bit like learning styles: everyone has his or her preferred way of working. Depending on your past agency relationships, your current needs and your management structure, some types of relationships may work better than others.
You have your ideal consultant relationship in mind, but so do consultants. Making sure your styles align is a great way to determine in advance whether working together will be easy or difficult. Be prepared to answer the same question for yourself; you might want to compare notes!
Question 5: How do you report results to your clients?
Most consultants worthy of their name will have some kind of report process for their clients. Whether it's weekly, monthly or at end-of-project, there needs to be some way you can stay apprised of the results so you can know whether your money is being well invested or not.
Not all agencies will report on the same metrics, so you need to know whether their reporting parameters are those that matter to you. You can also always ask whether they'd be open to reporting custom metrics that you provide.
Figure out what matters
When deciding which marketing consultant to hire, what's really important is figuring out what matters to you. If you care more about creative direction and less about metrics, choose an agency that fits this vision. Determining your needs ahead of time is the best way to guide your process.