Why Hire a Digital Marketing Agency?

Investing scarce marketing budget in employing an agency to manage your digital marketing activity can be a daunting prospect for many business owners.

Whilst there is a recognition that digital marketing plays an important role in the success, or indeed failure, of a restaurant, bar or hotel, often these businesses don’t have the time nor expertise to manage all facets of digital marketing in-house. But how can you be sure you are partnering with the right agency? After all, you know your own business better than anyone else.

Over the past 12 months, we have had conversations with hoteliers, marketing directors, distillery owners, brewers and restaurateurs. Despite the diverse spectrum of sectors which these businesses fall into, they all share two things. The first is a lack of understanding when it comes to marketing themselves effectively online. The second is a desire to do this better.

So, they are faced with a choice: do this themselves by employing someone in a marketing role within their business or partner with an agency who they can outsource the work to. This article provides some advice for business owners who find themselves faced with this dilemma.

Employing an agency can be likened to taking your car into the garage for a service. A lack of expertise and experience means the mechanic (read digital marketing agency) uses jargon and sometimes thinly-veiled threats to bamboozle you into parting with your cash. We recently wrote a short guide to some of this digital marketing jargon which hopefully serves as a useful source of information if you are dealing with an agency or you have decided to manage your online marketing yourself.

What initially started out as a positive investment in your business’ online marketing has become a long, drawn-out nightmare with little visibility on what the agency you have employed are doing for you and the actual commercial benefit this yields in the long-run. You see no quantifiable return on investment and your view of digital marketing, and any agency that practices this dark art, is forever tainted. Sound familiar?

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be like that. There are many fantastic agencies out there, however, with all good services, their prices can tend to be higher (although the benefits of getting ahead of your competition and upgrading your digital presence will quickly outweigh the costs).

A good agency will take the time to understand your business and deliver a solution that you actually need, rather than up-selling for the sake of their year-end profits. Transparency and accountability are key to this agency-client relationship. Without these two key pillars, you have nothing. If you are unsure of what they are doing for you, seek a second opinion.

Here’s some things a good agency should provide:

  • A monthly report outlining website and digital marketing performance, based on the KPIs initially agreed upon.

  • A summary of key actions undertaken that month along with an overview of actions planned for the coming month, using simple-to-understand language that doesn’t rely on jargon or technical speak.

  • Regular communication, be it on the phone or face-to-face, with an account manager who understands your business inside-out.

  • A longer-term marketing strategy to provide sustainable growth in the future.

As digital makes up an ever-larger proportion of marketing budgets, it is key you choose the right partner to manage this investment. Don’t be put off by bad past experiences. Good agencies are out there, you just need to know what to look for.