During the relationship between a customer and a digital service agency, there may be ups and downs due to multiple situations. It’s normal for a customer to have doubts about the quality of the services provided. Here are ten questions a customer can ask about your digital service provider.
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Below are a number of situations we have faced over the last few years. This listing is not intended to be complete, but if it reflects frequent situations and suggests a number of solutions to implement.
This situation has to be reviewed from different points of view. As a customer, have we shared enough information with our digital agency? Is there any market motivation that makes it difficult or impossible to achieve these results? Is it really a good agency and they know what they do? It is difficult to know if the achievement of the objectives is given for one reason or another and before making a decision you have to analyze the situation.
We propose to seek a second and even third opinion (as with physicians), of expert people who analyze the strategy and campaigns to have more opinions about it.
The first thing would be to revise if these results are realistic, and re-redefine them in the case where their establishment was given in an unreal way, or without having taken into account any market variable not previously detected.
The reverse situation can also occur, where the objectives defined are conservative and have to be redefined upward to improve the profitability or turnover of digital actions.
If on the contrary the client distrusts the ability of the agency to achieve the objectives, and has spent a reasonable time of testing, you may change the provider to give a fresh air to digital actions and to seek solutions from Different angles on the part of the new supplier.
After a while working on a digital strategy and advertising campaigns, the results can stagnate. This is quite common, due to factors such as limited demand for the product or service offered, new competitors, changes of algorithms, etc. That is why the agency that provides services should always seek to innovate and learn about the latest trends in Digital Marketing in order to minimize the impact of changes in the customer’s ecosystem. Again, asking other experts for an opinion can be a very appropriate solution.
A digital agency must always be at the Forefront and try things constantly. In a changing world you have to always look for new things, always in a controlled test environment, and if they work, implement it in a general way.
If we think that our agency does not innovate enough, the solution might be for the customer to establish quarterly objectives, where they are looking to try new actions related to new features, new networks, changes in the web, changes of Communicative strategy, etc.
During my time working at Google would have no doubt in answering with a resounding: “No, not good.” Now it would not be so resounding (we do not defend it or apply it). Google is openly positioned against fixed-click charging. It understands that it is an abusive practice towards the clients, as well as a erosion to its base of benefits, by taking the digital advertising agency part of the cake that it understands as his.
Another possible case is that a client asks an agency for records or sales at a cost X, and from there the agency manages to get records or sales at a lower cost and stay with a greater margin. This does not look bad to Google, but has similarities with another client to ask an agency clicks at a specific cost, no matter what.
Our position is that while the two parts are transparent, and reach an agreement, no model is reprehensible (at least completely).
Otherwise, the client has no transparency of the digital advertising cost model, and finds that the agency has hidden it, the crisis with the agency might occur and without any solution.
In our experience we have seen cases, mainly in immature markets in the digital environment, where certain media agencies, inheriting the traditional media purchasing model, increase with ridiculous margins the costs of Google AdWords. In most of these cases the clients cut in a sharp way with the agency. The transparency of the agency is fundamental to have an optimal and lasting relationship with its clients.
This situation has been given to us several times. Digital Marketing is like a puzzle, where each piece should be in place so that the rest of the pieces make sense. If one of the pieces necessary for the success of a digital strategy, it is not controlled by the agency, and this believes that it must work more thoroughly in it, does not mean that it is throwing balls out, but it detects a need and seeks to help to improve the performance or the digital strategy completely.
Customers may be hiring some digital marketing services with various agencies or some things being carried internally. Digital marketing strategies should be established holistically and if any leg of such strategies is not robust, it can impact negatively on the efficiency of the other legs of the strategy.
If a trusted digital partner asks us to improve certain aspects, we should take that into account and evaluate it. If they are right, they may save us a lot of money or generate many additional benefits.
In the previous post about how to solve a crisis with your digital agency, we mentioned about the complexity of defining a correct agency fee due to multiple situations. Sometimes it may be that the fee of departure is low, and that the agency can not offer the best results.
If an agency asks to raise the fee, because it understands that it is not profitable to work with a specific customer, the customer must value if it makes sense, and if the incremental they ask continues to make your business profitable or even more profitable for possible improvements that are not achieved.
Here the solution is based on the intention of the two parties to continue working together. On the one hand, if the client is not profitable for the agency, it can decide to continue working with the client, because it represents a good brand impact or instead to devote its efforts to other more profitable clients.
Regarding the customers, if you understand that the service is good and you have confidence with your agency, you should assume that a good service should be paid well and if it generates good results you must maintain the relationship for the good of your business.
Sometimes there are customers who grow enough to be able to hire an internal person, since the fee of the agency is enough to pay a resource. Determining whether to continue with an agency or hiring someone internal, is a very important decision, that not only should compare the wage cost of an internal resource with the fee of an agency. There are other hidden concepts such as innovation, knowledge of other accounts, holidays, sickness, employment changes, etc. that should be valued as well.
There comes a time when a customer can be interested in having someone in the business to manage certain digital services of the company. The hidden costs of internalising certain activities within the company should also be considered; holidays, job changes, limiting the learning of other clients, etc. The solution depends on each customer and where they want to invest their efforts.
This decision depends a lot on the degree of dependency we want to have with one or more agencies. Both decisions have positive aspects and negative aspects. All with an agency, it can be good for the agency to fully know the entire digital strategy and not just an isolated portion. On the other, depending on an agency, it also has dependency risks, against the flexibility of having different providers.
Also, having different agencies, each one specialising in their own, will have the best of each class in their own, improving, in theory, the complete performance of our digital marketing strategy. This solution will also require more management work and control of the different suppliers by the customer.
Here it depends on how we want to manage the service providers and the time that we can have. If you are a customer who has the ability to manage multiple vendors, it may make sense to have different, each one the best on your parcel. However, if you are looking to trust a single company that orchestrate all your needs, the most optimal solution will be to hire the current agency. The agency will be able to provide the services with internal capacities or subcontracting the best and managing the projects completely.
Advertising campaigns can degrade and stop giving results over time. This can be due to changes in the industry, lack of innovation, lack of rotation of digital assets, etc. Digital marketing is not magic, and there are many variables alien to both the client and the agency, which can make a digital strategy does not work as previously.
In order to understand the situation correctly, a joint analysis should be made between the client and the agency, to analyze the possible causes and act accordingly to reverse the situation.
This is a critical point, there may be different motivations by which the results have been degrading little by little or abruptly.
In case of an unxpected way, it will be necessary to analyze whether a competitor has entered strongly in the client’s digital ecosystem in anything front; Product breaker offers, mass communication or others. There may also have been a malpractice on the part of the agency or an oversight. Other reasons can be totally dependent on the client (fall of the Web, payment failed gateway, etc.)
If on the contrary the digital actions have been degraded little by little, we will have to make a more thorough analysis and to revise those signals that indicate us degradation (less sale, less interaction of our users, lower volume of visits, increase of Digital advertising costs…). In view of this analysis, we can understand if the problem is focused on the product and its price, on the costs of promotion or other concepts, and to forge a plan to solve it.
If a customer has the determination to change agency, but the advertising accounts have been created by the agency and indicate that they belong to them; “Houston, we have a serious problem.” This situation can lead to hostages that may require ransom to be released.
Our recommendation is that the client always be the owner of the advertising account so that, in the case of wanting to terminate the relationship, he can leave without having to abandon his advertising accounts.
If you have encountered this situation, you may be able to talk with the advertising platform provider to unlock the situation and the agency to release and give up control of the accounts.
The solution here can be complex. If the resolution of this conflict is bad, the client would lose historical information invaluable and the agency would lose a client forever as well as generate bad public relations. The recommended solution is that advertisers ‘ accounts are always the property of advertisers; this will avoid future problems.
If a customer has doubts about the results and work that is being done on their accounts, it is best to have an external audit of those accounts. Wordstream offers simple audits but useful though insufficient from our point of view.
These audits can be used to have another point of view and that the agency and client, thanks to these insights, can improve the results of the campaigns. Digital Menta Offers free audits on Google AdWords and Facebook advertising accounts.
We offer free audits on strategies and digital advertising campaigns so that prospective customers and ourselves, know the capacity to improve these accounts.
Solution: look for a second, and third opinion (we already said it in the previous article). For AdWords, even people at Google can do an analysis of accounts and give advice. There are also external auditing tools like WordStream, which in less than a minute make an account assessment. If this rating is below 50% the account is deficient and another vendor should be searched or the current one should be pressed to work the account. Digital Menta can also do AdWords account audits for free to get a work point in AdWords that has been done by former Google workers. If you are interested do not hesitate to contact us.
Therefore, to have the best of relationships and not to be continually in crisis with the digital agency, we have to lay the groundwork from the beginning so that the relationship does not start limping. To do this we must make an honest analysis of the situation.
As soon as a digital agency and a prospective customer sit together, it is because there is a need for the agency to help that prospective customer solve a problem. If both parties do not properly analyse the starting situation, there will be a high probability of generating the snowball effect, which will generate new problems sooner or later. Basic problems can start due to:
The client has unrealistic expectations of what he can achieve with the execution of a digital strategy. If, in addition, the Agency is not capable of detecting them, or at least not establishing reasonable and honest doubts about those expectations, the relationship is already part of an incorrect trust base. If these unreal expectations are defined as the objectives to achieve, the problem is already served and it will only be a matter of time before the relationship is bad.
To define a price for the provision of services is something really complicated, because the market and the client situations, as well as the competition, seasonality, etc., make each project different from another and require more or less effort.
As I read in the Manifesto Win Without Pitching, to establish a very low fee assumes that before any contingency not foreseeable or envisaged, the Agency is not able to maneuver without losing money and the provision of the service is offered in losses, something undesirable for any of the parties.
On the contrary, a high fee can generate mistrust in the short term because the client can understand that he is not getting enough so he pays once the relationship between the parties advances.
The fee of services has to be established in an agreement where both parties feel comfortable (what we call win-win or you win , I win) and must allow them to generate an acceptable benefit for both parties.
The provision of services, which is based on people and their knowledge, makes the comparison between a provider (or business partner, as we want to position ourselves), and another provider, is very difficult.
Therefore, to analyze whether a digital agency is going to offer better service than another one has to analyze many factors that are hard to be compared, such as trust and expectations, that play a key role.
This complexity ends up often making the client (sometimes urged to do so by certain agencies) to compare only the price as cost, because it is the only thing that can or does compare, and not as a better or worse investment.
This poses a problem for both parties; First for the client, because in doing so it establishes that the provision of services is a “commodity” (like raw materials, hardly differentiable except for the price) and may not get the best for your business by making an incorrect decision; and secondly, for agencies, because they can fall into the trap of entering that valuation and not give themselves the real value they have as business generators for their customers.
In Digital Menta , we try to work these points at the beginning of any business relationship. If we do not do so, it can cause us problems in the future, as we will not be able to offer what is expected of us.
In the case where we cannot get to understand ourselves by analysing the above mentioned points, we prefer to withdraw from the relationship before committing ourselves to false expectations.
If you are currently in a crisis situation with your digital agency, consider whether you start from an inappropriate initial situation and can discuss how to solve that problem using our advice.
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