Five red flags to watch out for to tell if your agency sucks at digital. Part one in a two-part series.
Over the last 12 months, I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of clients looking for new agencies or new digital agencies. And I have seen a huge increase in the number of jobs listed on LinkedIn that have to do with digital marketing, social media marketing, or mobile, both on the brand or client side as well as the agency side. This makes sense since most brands have done a variety of tactics in digital and social media in recent years. Now they are looking to take it to the next level by identifying best practices, new ways to better integrate the tactics, and also the right metrics to use to measure effectiveness and business impact or ROI.
How to Tell if Your Agency Sucks at Digital - 5 Red Flags
Unfortunately, most traditional agencies are not well-equipped to do digital, even though all of them now "hang a shingle" and tell their clients they also do "digital." Clients know better and can usually see right through that. That's why they are looking elsewhere for real expertise. Even some of the traditional web development agencies don't know or do digital well at all. They sure know how to make websites, but they are novices when it comes to digital strategy and marketing across all of the new disciplines such as search, social, and mobile.
But how can you tell if your agency really knows digital, or not? Here are five red flags to look out for:
Hard Questions to Ask and Terms to Insist On
As a corollary to the above, here are hard questions to ask of the agencies you are considering for deploying your digital tactics:
Armed with these "watch-outs" and hard questions to ask, any brand can cut through the clutter, jargon, and poseurs and identify the agencies that are truly knowledgeable about digital marketing and truly well-equipped with experienced personnel who will actually work on your projects.
In Part 2 of this column, I will talk about "What is digital strategy anyway?" and the process of collaborative innovation, which is essential to creating the right digital strategy and mapping the right digital tactics and metrics to it to drive the greatest business impact.
This column was originally published on March 1, 2012.
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Dr. Augustine Fou is the senior digital strategy advisor to CMOs, marketing executives, and global brands. Dr. Fou has over 15 years of Internet strategy consulting experience and is an expert in social media marketing strategy, data/analytics, and consumer insights, with specific knowledge in the consumer packaged goods, financial services/credit cards, food/beverage, retail/apparel, and pharmaceutical/healthcare sectors.
He is a frequent panelist, moderator, and keynote speaker at industry conferences. Dr. Fou is also an Adjunct Professor at NYU in the School for Continuing and Professional Studies and at Rutgers University at the Center for Management Development, where he teaches executive courses on digital strategy and integrated marketing.
Dr. Fou completed his PhD at MIT at the age of 23. He started his career with McKinsey & Company and previously served as SVP, digital strategy lead, McCann/MRM Worldwide and group chief digital officer of Omnicom's Healthcare Consultancy Group (HCG). He writes a blog "Rants, Raves about Digital Marketing" and can be found on Twitter at @acfou.
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