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How To Find The Right Digital Marketing Vendor

By Troy Piekarski on August 9, 2020

 

Digital strategies make up a large portion of most marketing budgets. This can be daunting to the average business for a few reasons.

  1. Many businesses have been burned in the past by unscrupulous digital agencies who promise the world but disappear after the contract is signed.
  2. The digital world is full of confusing acronyms and abstract concepts. Most people cannot trust what they do not understand.
  3. There are a staggering amount of digital options available, and seemingly more hitting the market every day. Deciding which digital outlets to invest your hard-earned dollars into can be a burden. And the amount of salespeople telling you their products are the best doesn’t make it any easier.

If you are nodding your head at any of the above statements, we at Trib Total Media can tell you that you are not alone. We work with many SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) who have previously been misled by the wrong digital vendors. The good news is that there are absolutely things you can look out for that will signify whether you are working with a reputable company who is looking out for your best interests.

Red Flags To Watch For

Isn’t Google search, Google search regardless of who runs the campaign? What more could the campaign reporting you are receiving possibly reveal? The simple fact is, when you reach a certain level of digital products and services, every single one of those digital vendors have access to very similar technologies and many of the same platforms.

Lesser digital vendors will frequently hide behind hollow reporting that only shows top level numbers without the truly meaningful engagement metrics. Do not let crafty salespeople tell you that their Google products are any more Google-y than a competitor because it is just not true.

We have all fallen victim to salespeople claiming their products are the best. This is patently false. Do not accept reporting metrics that are limited and/or hide the full picture. Your reporting should be tied to mutually established goals where each tactic displays a projected return on your investment and shows you data to create actionable insights. These are big reasons that the true differentiators between strong and weak digital vendors can be found in the elements that many businesses often fail to consider when selecting a partner which have little to do with the actual technology.

 

Ingredients For Success

Now that we’ve established a couple of red flags to look out for, let’s talk about what really matters in a good digital vendor.

Unlike digital products and reporting, the real ingredients of a strong partnership are hard to see, so you’ll have to ask the right questions and conduct thorough vetting process. These elements are trust, transparency, expert-level knowledge, customer service and work ethic. Do not hand your marketing budget over to company where you become one of dozens of accounts that an inexperienced client success coordinator will talk to once per month for a half hour on a review call.

Before signing a contract, ask the account executive what the on-boarding process looks like. Ask for current client testimonials. Heck, ask to speak with current clients. Ask what their service level agreement entails. Ask for sample reporting which should show far more than just clicks, impressions and clickthrough rate. You should be seeing conversions, top performing keywords, a complete zip code list, granular cost per click data, and more. These are all critical questions that can help unveil who the pretenders are.

 

A True Partnership

Think about it. You don’t really want a vendor. You want someone to run your digital marketing plan as if it were their own. You want someone who will roll their sleeves up and jump inside the trenches with you. What you really are seeking is a reputable digital partner.

It’s important to remember that throughout the duration of the partnership, things will not always go according to plan. But when that happens a good digital partner will always be transparent. A good partner does not set smokescreens and refrain from answering your questions directly. A good partner will tell you what can be changed to optimize the campaign and make helpful recommendations. A good partner will get back to you well within one business day when you have a question or need feedback. A good partner will educate and empower you to know exactly what is going on with your campaign. And most importantly, a good partner will organically start to feel like a direct extension or your in-house team.

 

Terminating Your Current Contract

The hard truth is that many SMBs find themselves in bad relationships with digital companies. Take comfort in the fact that bad digital vendors are not forever because you those are relationships that you should be able to sever those relationships. Here are a few steps to prepare:

  1. Know your contract and understand the written-out language.
  2. Make sure you comprehend any early termination penalties.
  3. Wrap you mind around what a breach on their side covers. 

In the end, a company is only as strong as their reputation and we all know how important an online reputation is. Even the worst vendors will not want a black spot on their public online record. If you are unhappy, voice your opinions and you may be surprised as what comes out of that.

 

Trib Total Media's Pledge To Customers

At Trib Total Media, we are not guaranteeing you that we will run the most successful digital campaign your company has ever seen. However, we can promise you that no matter how large or small your business is, we will take the necessary steps to place goal-oriented digital strategies into motion that will give your campaign the best chance at success.

We pledge to always operate with complete transparency, in an environment of trained experts fulfilling your campaign. You will absolutely grow your digital marketing knowledge simply by working with us because we pride ourselves in making sure you understand every aspect of your campaign.

And above all, we will run your campaign as if it were our own and will always be on call when you need us. The mission of our Marketing & Advertising Consultants is to feel like a member of your very own team. We hope that you will give us a chance to prove that to you. Please feel free to fill out the no-obligation contact form below to learn how we may be able to help today.

 

Topics: Business Strategy, Digital Marketing, Digital Vendor

Troy Piekarski

Written by Troy Piekarski

Director of Marketing | Trib Total Media, 535media LLC

tpiekarski@triblive.com

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