How to select an online marketing agency?

We are in the middle of some negotiations with current clients about their 2006 year budgets. I have a few tips I would like to share with marketing managers and decision makers alike:

1. Why online? – When selecting how much budget to spend online you need to understand why are you online in the first place? Why does your business go online. Strip everything back. Where is the business going to make money out of being online? If you have some specific reasons write these down and send them to your agency. If you dont know the reasons ask your agency to present to you why you should be online.

2. How much do you spend online? – Ask your agency how much they think you should spend. Or better say what could I get for $xxx. Tell them to present what we could get for that money. The best scenario would be if you said, these are the reasons that we want to be online (build brand, generate awareness, leverage sponsorships, make sales, generate leads etc…) here are the targets we want to achieve. What do you suggest to do this and how much do you think we should spend. If you provided a budget and what targets of value you wanted to achieve an agency could put together the answer to this problem. Spend $y, get these results.

3. What criteria make a good online marketing agency?

  • Understand and can supply all aspects of online marketing (search, websites, email, banners, affiliate, games, copywriting)
  • Proactively make suggestions upon new and different ways to market online
  • Apply marketing principles to online marketing

4. What criteria are bad qualities?

  • Are only specialised in one aspect of online marketing. Usually companies suggest that they are an online marketing agency if they can build a website. Online marketing agencies are exceptionally specialised and the science of online marketing is complex. This is the same as saying that a heart surgeon can cut your heart so lets give them a go at your brain.
  • Wait for briefs before they do anything
  • Suggest that print and offline marketing are the drivers customers and the website only really supports this.

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