5 Signs It’s Time to Change Digital Marketing Agencies
Investing in digital marketing for your business is key to making your business stand out online, and there are plenty of marketing agencies out there ready to promise you the moon in order to secure your business. However, once the honeymoon period is over, your intuition might start telling you something is not quite right.
It can be hard to put your finger on what exactly is causing your discomfort or come up with a comprehensive list of reasons you’re thinking about leaving your current digital agency. However, having a clear understanding of where the issues are will help you have those much-needed honest conversations with your account manager to see if the relationship can be salvaged or if it’s time to move on.
To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of five common signs you might want to consider switching digital marketing agencies below.
1. They haven’t taken the time to learn about your business or customers
The unfortunate truth about digital marketing agencies is that many of them have identified a strategy that works pretty well for the majority of their clients, so they’re not willing to invest the time and effort it takes to actually understand your business, your industry, your competition and your audience.
But why would you bother investing in digital marketing if it only makes you look like everyone else? After all, standing out from the competition is what you want. If your agency doesn’t know who your competitors are and how they’re marketing their offering, they won’t be able to effectively differentiate you from them.
Similarly, if your digital agency hasn’t taken the time to understand your business and products, it’s a sign your money might be better spent elsewhere. If you find yourself repeatedly answering questions about your business the answers to which are readily available on your website, not only does this show a lack of professionalism – it’s also a sign they’re not putting in the time and effort your digital marketing requires.
Cookie cutter templates are a red flag for any digital marketing agency. So when you’re reading through the digital marketing strategy created for you by your agency, do so with the following questions in mind: does it showcase a high level of market research on their part? Do the campaign activities suggested by them reflect this? Is it clear what they’ll be doing, why, and how they’ll measure success? How will this be reported back to you?
We should also say that even if at the start of your working relationship your agency showcased they’d done the research into your business, customers and competition, this doesn’t mean anything if this information isn’t regularly reviewed by them. If you’ve spent years with the same agency and your results have inexplicably started falling, this might be the reason, and it might be time to have a frank conversation with your agency.
2. They haven’t reached the goals promised
This is a tricky one, as it does take time to start seeing results from your digital marketing. Exactly how long you should wait will depend on the marketing service in question; PPC campaigns will start showing results in 1-3 months, while something like SEO and blogging can often take six months or more to start showing results.
However, if it’s been much longer than this and the results your digital agency was keen to talk about when signing you on haven’t come to fruition, it’s time to have a chat with your account management. If they’re unwilling to admit to underperforming or learn from their mistakes, this doesn’t bode well for the future performance of your campaigns under their management.
If you’ve been with your agency for a good while, have had good results in the past but recently, results have started falling short of your expectations, ask yourself whether your agency has kept innovating when it comes to your marketing.
Do the campaigns they run for you showcase lessons learned from your previous campaigns? Are they influenced by industry trends? Are they sticking with a model or channel that’s worked for your company in the past without widening their horizons and testing out new avenues?
Digital marketing is a notoriously fast-changing field, and your campaign management needs to reflect this in order to drive consistent results.
3. Communication is poor
Let’s be real: if you have to consistently chase your digital agency for late reports or missed deadlines, it’s easy to feel like your business doesn’t mean much to them. It’s either that, or they don’t want you to know how your campaigns are really performing. And neither is good for your business.
You’re paying good money for your digital campaigns and have a right to know how that money is spent and what results they have. Your regular reporting should make your ROI clear, and between reports, you should be able to easily get in touch with your account manager for a snapshot of how your campaigns are performing.
Your agency should be providing you with clear, regular information on your ad spend, campaign metrics, trends and any additional costs. If there are hidden costs in your invoices you weren’t told about when signing your contract, this is also a bad sign and shows they care more about taking your money than driving ROI for you.
4. They aren’t transparent about campaign performance
How are you supposed to know whether your campaigns are successful if you don’t have access to clear and comprehensive data about them? You should receive regular reporting on your campaign success with numbers that make it easy for you to understand where your campaigns are.
Beware vanity metrics, though. These are numbers that look impressive out of context but don’t actually tell you much about your campaign success. For example, your ad reach ultimately means nothing if your ads aren’t getting clicks and generating new leads.
What’s being measured is just as important as the numbers themselves, so make sure the data you’re getting is an accurate representation of campaign success. If you’re worried about this, ask your agency what metrics they use to gauge campaign success and why these are the ones they’ve chosen.
If you’re not a marketing manager yourself, it can be hard to know exactly what metrics you should be getting reports on. Do check out our blog post dedicated to PPC ad metrics for more information on what a paid campaign report should include.
You should have access to data about your campaigns. While it may not always be possible to give you comprehensive data on ongoing campaigns, at the very least you should be able to offer you some general trending information at any given time during the reporting cycle as well as more comprehensive data in your weekly, monthly or quarterly reports.
5. Your agency has a high staff turnover
Digital marketing is a field known for a high staff turnover as young creatives jump from agency to agency, chasing bigger clients and salaries. However, constantly changing management on your account isn’t conducive to dependable growth for your business.
If your account is handled by lots of different people over the course of your relationship with your agency, it’s hard to get the best possible service as it does take some time to get to know a client’s company, goals and audience. High staff turnover can mean you find yourself having to explain again and again what your company is about to a new face.
Not only that, a high staff turnover can be a red flag hinting that your digital marketing agency isn’t a good place to work – and this is something that you should care about.
If an agency is constantly hiring for the same roles, this can be a sign they have a bad reputation and, as a result, it’s likely they’ll struggle to attract top digital talent in your area. Not only that but if the people working on your campaigns have to do so within a toxic, highly pressurised work environment, they can’t perform at their best.
How to change marketing agencies
Now that we’ve talked about some common red flags that suggest it might be time for you to start looking for a new digital agency, it’s time to take a look at how to actually go about the process of switching digital marketing agencies.
The first thing you need to do is review your contract. This may be based on a certain amount of time, a specific project, or you may be on a retainer with them. Whatever the case, review the T&Cs around cancellation and transition, potentially with the help of your solicitor, to find the most graceful way to exit.
Keep in mind that it’s likely people on your team have formed relationships with the team at your agency, so it’s best to keep your wish to leave under wraps for now.
Make a list of assets produced by your agency and ones still outstanding before giving your agency notice. You’ll also need to make sure your agency won’t have access to your data, systems or software after leaving them. Make sure you know which, if any, licenses and tools they’ve purchased and used for your campaign management. This way, you can purchase these yourself to make sure the handover process doesn’t come with unexpected hurdles.
To make the digital agency handover process as smooth as possible, you also need a clear plan of what you want to do next before severing ties. Whether it’s moving to another agency or shifting marketing in-house, you need the right people prepped and ready to take ownership of your digital marketing channels at the end of your relationship with your existing agency.
How Bundle Digital can help
If you’re looking to change your marketing representation to an agency that takes a highly personalised approach to every client’s campaigns and for whom transparency and communication are key values, you’ve come to the right place by navigating to the Bundle Digital blog.
We’re an Edinburgh digital agency with a remote team and a passion for inbound marketing and multi-channel digital campaigns across things like PPC, social, SEO and content marketing. If you’re ready to get chatting, shoot us an email – we’d love to get to know you!