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5 Questions to Ask Your Marketing Agency

By: Lindsay Moura | 9/13/22

The relationship you have with your marketing agency should be treated similar to the relationship you have with your employees. There should be transparency into the day-to-day activities your agency is managing, the money being invested, and the effectiveness. But unlike the employer-employee relationship, sometimes what an agency does behind the scenes can be a bit of a black box. It’s time to open up that box!

Whether it’s an agency you’ve worked with for many years or you’re scoping out a new one, be sure to ask the right questions to see if they’re a good fit.

Here's a list of 5 questions you should ask:

1. Do I own my accounts, and can I have access?

Time and time again, we’ve witnessed agencies that set up accounts for their clients under the ownership of the agency. This means, when campaigns have gone stale and the client wants to move on, the agency has made it nearly impossible or extremely difficult to do so. In some cases, this also means your data may be stored and campaigns are being managed alongside other clients and possible competitors, putting your data and customers’ privacy at risk. This is just a poor business practice.

Instead, all ad accounts, tracking pixels, customer data, platforms, and tools should be owned by you. This is how these tools, designed by big tech giants, are intended to be used and is a standard best practice nowadays. You would then grant access for an agency to manage those assets on your behalf, just like you would to an employee. So, if you decide to terminate the relationship, your data is secure and can be easily transitioned.

Owning and having access to your accounts also means that you would have full access and transparency into messaging, targeting, money spent, and general campaign optimizations that are being made on your behalf. A necessity when you’re entrusting someone to put information out there about your brand.

2. Do you charge a commission on ad spend?

You should ask your agency how they charge fees and if there’s a commission applied to any ad spend. Commission is often standard practice because it usually covers the cost of the day-to-day management of your campaigns. It’s important to know how much you’re investing in the actual ad channel (for example, what you pay Google and Facebook each month) and how much is going to the agency. If there is a commission, ask how much. The percentage might run anywhere from 5 to 20%.

In addition to commission, there may also be an agency fee that covers the cost of other initiatives like strategic planning, website changes, ad design, tracking set up, and more. Be sure you understand the breakdown of these fees so you can gauge the return you’re getting on your investment.

3. How often will my campaigns be reviewed and optimized?

Much like any business, agencies are always looking for ways to be more efficient so they can have the highest profit margin. But sometimes that means they cut corners, hoping you as the client won’t notice. A common theme at agencies is overworked employees, making it nearly impossible for them to be in your account and managing performance as regularly as they probably should be. This also can mean a higher turnover rate or junior level employees ineffectively managing your campaigns. Be sure to ask what their process is and what team members will be overseeing your campaigns. We’ve seen the most success when an agency has a deep bench where there may be multiple team members with varying specialties, all working together toward your common goals. While its always promising to see an organization invest in new talent, it’s also important to understand their system for training while still offering the highest level of expertise.

With the increase in machine learning, it’s more crucial than ever to have a certified marketing expert monitor your campaigns. Google and many other channels are implementing more automated settings which allow their machines to make more of the decisions and many of those decisions are designed to have you as the advertiser spend more money. While some of these settings can be beneficial, some are not and will inevitably lead to wasted spend, so it’s important to have a qualified expert who understands and can navigate these nuances and make campaign optimizations that are in the best interest of your business.

4. What is your process for learning about my business?

Does your agency take the time to get to know your unique business and goals? If not, this could be a red flag as many agencies like to reuse and recycle strategies, campaigns, and even ads they’ve used for other clients. While there may be some common ground with other similar businesses in your industry, an agency should still take the time to understand those nuances. This is also a good time to discuss with them who your competitors are, your goals, challenges, and key performance indicators (KPIs) for tracking success.

5. Are you familiar with my industry?

While it’s not a deal breaker if they have little to no experience in your specific industry (marketing strategies and best practices are often applicable across industries), it’s still important to understand their areas of expertise or lack of knowledge so you can work together to fill in any gaps. Like everything else, open dialogue and transparency are key. An agency who gives vague responses, can’t provide clear examples or case studies, or says yes to everything are the ones to be weary of. This may also indicate they have little to no interest in taking the time to get to know your industry and specific business

At SilverTech, our clients view us as more than a vendor, but as a valued partner. While you may have heard that sales speak before, it really shows in our decades of experience being a trusted resource for our clients. Find out for yourself with just a few of our featured case studies. Contact us today for a free consultation!


Marketing Marketing

Meet the Author: Lindsay Moura



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