Challenges of changing digital marketing services providers
Digital marketing has become a globally widespread industry, with an endless number of individuals and agencies working under its wing. With more and more companies going digital in their advertising and branding efforts, there is plenty of work opportunities. However, not all marketers are capable, knowledgeable, or experienced enough to fulfill the demands of clients. And so, changing digital marketing services providers has also become a common occurrence among businesses nowadays. This decision should not be taken lightly, regardless of whether you are working with a digital marketing agency or freelancer. Explore the rest of the article to learn some of the fundamental challenges in regards to switching digital marketing agencies such as:
- Reviewing the digital performance of your business
- Reasons to look for a new digital marketing guide
- Signs that you should put your decision on hold
- How to prepare for the switch
- What to look for in digital marketing agencies
Reviewing the digital marketing services you are paying for
The decision to start looking for a new provider of digital marketing solutions for your business should be based on facts. There are too many business owners that make spontaneous decisions to fire an agency based on their personal feelings or subjective perspective of the work being done. And this can often define that business owner as a difficult client to deal with instead of marking the agency as inadequate or fraudulent.
To get all your facts straight in regards to how your business is performing under the solutions that a digital marketing agency provides you with, you need to first review the data and the results. Once you evaluate the performance of your marketers, you will be able to gather all the information you need to make an educated decision on whether or not to continue working with them. So, to make this process simpler, ask yourself, and answer the following three questions:
Is the agency following through with its promises?
Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve explored the work of your current digital marketing agency. Now might be a good time to visit their website and check on their current stats and online presence. Explore some of their blogs, read up on reviews from other clients, go through their social media posts and accounts, etc. If they are truly dragging behind on the quality of the work they do, it won’t be too hard for you to notice.
On the other hand, if everything seems to be in order and new clients continue to appear as old ones continue to praise them, this is good. It means that the agency is prospering, which also means that their clients are doing the same, your company included.
Is the work of your digital marketers aligned with the core values of your business?
A digital marketing strategy should be an extension of the values a company stands for. And that often requires the agency you hire to have a similar mindset as your business does. If it doesn’t, it might be more challenging to grow your brand in the direction you want to see it go. Make sure to discuss this with your team as well as the agency representatives, just to make sure that both parties are on the same page in terms of what the objectives are.
Is the value you are getting equal to the resources you are investing in?
Compare the budget you invested in your digital marketing efforts with the ROI you got from it. If your revenue is equal to the one you had when you hired the agency or barely above it, then it is definitely time to revisit the expectations you have as a client.
Schedule an SEO consultation with another agency, gather some analytics, and compare how your online performance has changed since you started working with the agency. Once you have all the data, you can then start considering whether or not the time has come to change your digital marketing service providers.
What are the clear signs that you need to switch digital marketing agencies?
Facts aside, the reasoning behind the decision to make a change in the approach to grow your business online can be diverse. Based on noted cases and experiences, the reasons can be classified into three categories:
“A matter of doing smart business” is one of the more common motivations behind opting for a different approach to digital advertising solutions. For many companies out there, reviewing quarterly, semi-annual, or annual business plans and investments is an established practice. And during these reviews, businesses often evaluate their resources and collaborations with other companies and agencies, cross-reference the gains from those investments, and whether or not they need to re-negotiate or change them. That is when the decision of changing digital marketing services providers usually comes into play. And that decision rests on the following factors:
- Operational value. Usually focusing on the quality of the work an agency provides, and the ROI your business experiences as a result.
- Lack of account management. Having a proper mediator between your business objectives and the goals that an agency pursues is a crucial part of the process. Missing a proper coordinator leads to costly mistakes, missed deadlines, miscommunication, etc.
- Adaptability. Modern consumerism carries the potential to implement rapid changes to all industries and niches. Marketing agencies need to have the capacity and resources to accommodate the unexpected growth and development of their clients at all times.
- Management changes within the organization. Changes in management happen often in business, and when they do – that someone might have a better fit for their way of operating a business.
- Contract expiration. Sometimes, companies simply feel like they’ve gotten all that they could from an agency and decide not to renew their contract with them.
Mismatch on a company culture basis
Professional digital marketing agencies tend to have a wide variety of clients from different niches and parts of the world. It can be difficult to match one’s core values with those of other businesses. And those misalignments between marketers and their clients can often lead to issues on both ends:
- Different definitions of success. There are times when businesses and agencies won’t see eye-to-eye when measuring the success of their efforts. And this can complicate the decision-making process, as well as delay finding the perfect strategy for growing a brand.
- Personnel conflicts. A simple matter of having conflicting personalities on both sides, making even the smallest collaboration efforts practically impossible.
- Lack of trust. Without transparency and honesty between a company and a client, there is no chance of establishing a long-term relationship. Goals and expectations end up misaligned, leading to a lack of confidence in the ability of the agency to deliver on its promises.
- Miscommunication. The goals and expectations of both sides need to be clearly laid out in the open, so as to ensure a clear understanding. Otherwise, both sides can end up wasting time and resources chasing after results that do not match expectations.
The fast-paced digital business world offers little to no guarantees because of its constant changes. Some companies go bankrupt while others quadruple their annual revenue. And often, companies will simply need to reduce their expenses, and they will turn to the investments they are putting into digital marketing solutions such as Paid Advertising or Search Engine Optimization. The decision to change digital marketing service providers in such cases is usually not based on low performance or lack of results. Instead, a business must look to stay afloat financially.
And this can lead to switching digital advertising strategies, creating hybrid agreements, or simply switching over to a smaller marketing agency, with low-cost services.
Three strong arguments to delay your decision to replace your digital marketing team
Making this type of business decision should never be rushed. Mistakes can happen, especially in a dynamic environment such as the digital marketing world. With constant updates, SEO trends and statistics, content quality development – it can be difficult to even maintain success, let alone increase it further. By offering agencies the chance to prove their commitment to your business, you save yourself the trouble of wasting time and resources on finding a new agency after a single setback.
Changing digital marketing services providers can be costly, and it can set your strategy back a lot – it is often not worth the complication if there is a chance to set things straight with your current marketing team. Here are three basic examples of situations where you need to stay open-minded when it comes to the work you are getting from your marketing agency:
#1: A change in management
All companies and agencies go through this process at some point. Your company brings in a replacement for the CMO or one of the higher-ups. And that new person has a different approach to the job, perhaps even an existing partnership with another agency. And the adjustment period can take some time and can be challenging to overcome.
Rather than take it out on suppliers, distributors, production lines, digital marketing agencies, etc. – taking the time to help that new person adjust to the way things work is a much better path to take. Make sure to look at the entire picture as well as each piece of the puzzle separately before making the call to change the approach.
#2: Impatience and lack of trust
A lot of business owners are still new to the processes that digital marketing strategies and how the process works. Some have had the misfortune of going through bad experiences with past companies while others prefer to have a firm grasp over the entire process. This lack of trust in agencies and the impatience to see actual results can often lead to irrational decisions to escalate and switch between different digital marketing service providers.
For example, professional SEO services can take months to provide initial results – years to reach their full potential. And even though agencies are responsible for explaining this matter to companies that hire them, business owners should also bear this in mind. Most often, a company needs to follow predictions and be patient rather than act out and cry “Wolf!”.
#3: Too many expectations for too few investments
A digital marketing agency is a business just like any other. It doesn’t have unlimited resources to commit to every client. Instead, companies need to understand that the level of their investment in their digital solutions has a direct influence on how impactful it will all be. Starting with a smaller budget is a logical way to start off, but you will need to put more into the process as your online presence grows. Otherwise, you can’t really have high expectations in terms of the results you are looking for.
For example, coordinated PPC services work primarily on the basis of the amount of money you are willing to invest in your ads. Therefore, you can go in with a $1000 investment and expect a $5000 return. There are many factors that will influence the ROI, and you need to be understanding of this process, and set out the proper amount of resources to make it work.
Guide for preparing to switch your digital marketing agency
When you do come to a decision to change agencies, there will be some steps that you will need to take to prepare for the process. The entire transition will have the potential to set you back a lot unless you approach it systematically. Before you break the news to the agency, make sure to go through these steps first:
Choose your timing carefully
With so many different digital solutions and strategies that can be in play, you need to choose the proper timing to dismiss an agency. Doing a switch in the middle of going through a detailed website redesign, for example, is not the best move to make. Another example of bad timing would be to decide on firing an agency while working on a complex email marketing strategy. You need to find that time pocket when you can afford to make the switch between your digital marketing providers without leaving too many tasks mid-air.
Revisit your contract and other legal agreements
Contracts, NDAs, and other legal documents exist for a reason, to offer both parties certain protection during and after the collaboration. Therefore, it is very important to have your lawyer take a closer look at the contract you have with an agency before making any hateful decision about terminating that agreement. It’s always simpler to wait out the contract to expire and simply choose to not renew than it is to risk a lawsuit by breaking terms and conditions.
Access and copy all your assets
You can never be too sure how a parting of ways will go. Despite our better judgments, there are agencies and individuals out there that won’t have the professional approach one might expect. And in such cases, it is good to have a contingency in play, such as access to all assets and resources that a digital marketing company provided during the course of your contract with them. Make copies of everything you paid for and make sure to follow up on any outstanding or promised items.
Gather data on the tools your agency uses
Transitioning to a new digital marketing service provider will be simpler if you can provide them with all the data about your past activities with their predecessors. So, you need to gather a list of platforms and tools that your current agency uses, copy all the logins and passwords for all the accounts that belong to your business (social media accounts, Google Analytics, GMB, etc.).
Once you do make the call to end things and start fresh with a new agency, you will want to maintain access, change all the logins and prepare the terrain for the new team of marketers that you choose to employ.
Traits to look for in your next digital marketing services providers
With so many digital marketing companies out there nowadays, it will always be challenging to find the perfect fit for your business. However, when you combine your past experience and issues with other agencies together with certain traits you want in a marketing team, the search process will be faster and easier to complete. So, here are some of the conditions to look for in your search for a new advertising agency:
- Reputation. You want an agency that practices what they preach, which is something we touched on at the very start of this article. It is important that you know right from the start what it is that you are getting by signing with a specific team of digital marketing professionals. Consider your goals and check their performance in that particular field.
- Commitment. Rather than wait for you to sign a contract, an agency should be willing to offer advice and guidelines right from the start. You want to find a team with the mindset “Show them we know our side of the business and they will come to us“. Look for companies that will invest the time and energy into researching your company, industry, and competitors – even before you decide to hire them.
- Credibility. Your next agency should have a high-standing Net Promoter Score (NPS) – the collective rating from past clients in terms of the services they offer. It’s important to have feedback from past and current clients of an agency in terms of the quality of their services and the results they provide.