A ship needs a whole crew for a successful voyage. And while the crew does many things to keep the ship going, it’s ultimately the captain who steers the ship and sees to it the ship reaches its final destination. Yet, one cannot make the journey without the other.
Working with a digital marketing agency is much the same type of collaboration. While digital marketers have expertise in getting your messaging out to the right audience and can meet those customers where they’re at, no one knows your products and services quite like you do.
While there are many things you should consider outsourcing to an agency, even the best digital marketing agency can’t do it all without your input. When it comes to certain things, like what's worked in the past and what hasn't, how the sales team operates and what leads are truly qualified, your in-house insight is crucial to success.
As an in-house chief marketing officer or VP of marketing, here’s where you come in to create a productive partnership and develop a relationship that will help your company achieve success for years to come. Let’s take a look at what you can do to help your agency help you.
A full-service digital agency is equipped to help you develop your brand, but we can’t define your business plan. This comes from within your organization, and is largely developed by key decision makers after they've established long-term goals for your business. Once your business plan and goals are established, a top digital marketing agency can help you define your brand.
Your brand is how the world sees and responds to your products and services. It's comprised of:
Having a brand identity ensures trust and credibility, defines your company’s mission, and improves recognition by giving your business a personality. It’s what turns your prospects into customers.
Once you have your business plan determined, a partner agency can implement your brand to internal and external stakeholders through brand guidelines. This allows everyone to write, speak and create materials consistently. It clarifies voice and tone for your consumers and ensures they are hearing, seeing and responding to it the way you want them to. But it all begins with you setting your business plan and goals.
The longer you work with an agency, the better they’ll be able to understand how your sales process works. But in the beginning, only you will have insight into how customers are making buying decisions and whether leads are valuable.Your agency can help you bring in leads based on agreed-upon criteria, but they won’t know if they’re turning into deals (until teams collaborate to set up closed-loop reporting in your CRM). Continual feedback from you on what’s working is necessary to tweak content and social media messaging and any other efforts that drive your strategy. For example, if you’re getting a lot of inquiries about certain products more than others during sales calls, it might be useful to put out information answering some of those frequently asked questions in an upcoming email, blog post or other content piece. But your agency team will need that nugget of information to plan accordingly.
This brings us to our next point: Your company’s digital strategy should align with other marketing strategies your company is employing. All efforts should be cohesive and complement one another. Yet even the best digital marketing agency can’t know what else you’re doing unless you let them know. This requires regular updates from your company on new product releases or trade shows, conferences and other appearances. The sooner your agency knows about these upcoming events, the better they’ll be able to help you plan promotions for them.
When you let your agency know about other marketing initiatives, you can collaborate on a full marketing campaign and determine whether email marketing, content creation, web pages or digital advertising should be used along with your print, event or other traditional marketing efforts. It’s a good idea to set aside time at the end of the year or the end of a quarter to determine priorities and make plans for future efforts.
Your voice is a direct representation of your company’s culture. Only you know what the daily ins and outs are like at your company. Your digital marketing agency will look to you to guide them on your culture and how your organization operates. It’s important to know what the approval process is like for agency work so we can accommodate for potential changes.
With that said, be prepared to do subject matter interviews, which means providing insight on topics where you have a strong knowledge base. This makes for the best content. Also, be prepared to have ongoing conversations about content topics, and reach out if something comes to mind you’d like to see covered. There may be times you come across something in your daily job activities that would be a relevant topic your copywriter hasn’t thought of yet. Similarly, share commonly asked questions with your digital marketing agency—we can do research, but we’re not a part of the interactions like you are. Providing the questions, as well as how you answer them, further secures the cohesiveness of your brand.
Even the best digital marketing agency won’t have your level of history, expertise and understanding of your organization. Only those within your organization can answer certain questions and provide that insight into what your products, services and industry are all about.
Think of your relationship with your digital marketing agency as an ongoing partnership. You provide the knowledge and expertise, and they turn it into marketing magic. Together, you can execute a marketing strategy powerful enough to make any boat crew envious.
Want to know more about what it’s like to work with a digital marketing agency? Check out our free resource, Working with Kuno: 5 Client Success Stories.