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How to Evaluate Your Digital Agency Partnership

Bill Casey CEO & Partner
#Industry Insights
Published on April 24, 2015

We share 4 questions you should ask to make sure a digital agency is providing the partnership you need to succeed in your business goals.

As much of what people do in both the professional and personal lives moves online, it has become incredibly important for any company or organization to have a digital strategy. But that isn’t as simple as building a website and occasionally updating your Twitter and Facebook account; you need to find ways to integrate all the aspects of your business into a seamless whole.

However, before you form a partnership with a digital agency, you need to make sure they will not only help you get started, but will be able to continually work with you to help you meet your business goals and effectively use every available online opportunity. Here are some questions that can help you determine whether your digital partner is giving you what you need:

Does the Agency Offer Proactive Ideas?

Does your partner engage with you, ask questions, and help you determine how best to move forward in your online strategy, or do they simply wait for a request from you and then follow orders? A true digital partner should study your business and understand your needs and goals, then work with you to come up with new ways to move forward. Discussing ideas with them should be a two-way street, with collaboration that results in proactive ideas that keep you at the forefront of your area of expertise, rather than scrambling to keep up with everyone else.

Does the Agency Ever Tell You ‘No’?

Not every idea that is put forward is going to be a good one, and if any of the ideas that get floated for your online strategy are going to end up being counter to your goals or a waste of time and money, your partner needs to tell you so. A good agency isn’t afraid to say “no” and follow up with better suggestions. Any partner that always says “yes” lacks insight and understanding of your goals, or they are just in it for the money and don’t actually care about your success.

Can You Speak to the People Involved in Your Work Directly?

Is there an artificial barrier between you and the people who actually produce the work that your partner agency does for you? You should be able to speak directly to the personnel who will be taking care of your needs and requests. If your partner is outsourcing work rather than working directly with you to complete it themselves, this is a definite warning sign. Their team needs to truly understand the nuances of what is being made, rather than just being given instructions to follow. By working directly with your partner agency’s team, everyone can be on the same page in their understanding of the “whys” of decision making and the nuances of the final product, enabling them to translate this understanding into something that will work for you.

Are You Comfortable with Transparency about Budgets?

You need to have trust between your organization and your partner agency about how much money is being spent and what exactly is being paid for. If your agency understands your overall budget, they can offer solutions that can maximize results while staying within that budget. A good agency will be as concerned with your budget as you are and will want to make sure you spend your money wisely. You need to have trust that they will maximize the return on your investment rather than simply do enough work to merit spending your money. On the other hand, if you aren't willing to share all the details about your budget, this indicates that you don't trust your partner agency. They should be an extension of your team, working with you to help you achieve the best ROI. With this level of trust, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page in working toward the success of your digital strategy.

At Diagram, we take our partnership model very seriously, and we believe in close collaboration with our clients. We believe in a two-way understanding of what is expected of both us and our partners, and we strive to form trustworthy relationships with everyone we work with. If you want to know more about how we can work with you to improve your digital strategy, please contact us.