Choosing a digital agency or service provider to work with you to help grow your company is a very important step. Nothing is more important than your business and it’s growth. You need to be sure to do your due diligence, weigh all the options and pick the agency (or vendor in some cases) that you feel is best aligned with your vision and goals.
When interviewing these potential business partners, what is most important? I have a longstanding history of telling everyone I talk with, over and over and over that companies need to hire marketing partners and not vendors. So that is something that is super important to always keep in mind. Another thing though that I think people get too hung up on when choosing who they are going to work with are the marketing/tech platforms that “agency X” uses to achieve their goals.
I’m going to tell you a secret. The technology platforms a potential marketing partner uses are actually one of the least important things you can focus on when deciding who to work with. That’s right. I said it.
Why Marketing/Tech Platforms Aren’t As Important As You Think
So does that mean that if Agency X doesn’t have any sort of marketing/tech stack at all that they are a company you should consider doing business with? No. Of course not. That said though, we’ve gotten to a point in this industry where every company has some sort of marketing automation technology stack.
This has quickly become a thing that really is just a “cost of doing business” thing. Why is this? It’s because as I’ve talked about in the past, the Internet has commoditized everything. Marketing automation platforms are not excluded from this.
Even though this is true, there are a ton of marketing agencies out there that are hanging their weight and also their value on the technology they use. This is a bad approach for marketing agencies and buying into this is an even worse approach for a business owner that is considering who to work with to help them reach their goals.
When we started this agency, our goal was to provide value for our clients. Part of that was having proprietary tools that we can offer our clients that other agencies do not have. It was important to us to have our own tools, but it was understood that this would be literally only 20-30% of the value we bring our clients.
Why is this? It’s because if we were talking about 10 years ago, we would have been a unicorn if we built the marketing automation stack we have. Today though, the Internet has commoditized everything we have. While it’s true that most companies don’t have their own built from scratch platforms, there are so many apps available for little to no money out of pocket each month that an agency with no engineers or budget to build out their own platform could cobble together an almost equally powerful platform that they can use to help run their client’s campaigns.
So If It’s Not The Platform, What Is The Thing That’s Most Important?
That is the question. If it’s not the platform you need to be sold on, what is it you need to pay attention to when interviewing agencies about teaming up with you to reach your business goals? It’s simple. It’s their approach to content and their understanding of your current customers and ideal future customers.
Anyone can learn to operate technology. No matter how difficult a platform is, at the end of the day it can all be boiled down to a list of tasks you perform in a sequential order to complete a task. There is no art to this. It’s simply following instructions.
Marketing, especially in the digital space is art. You are looking to move the needle in a space that is so noisy and that is being misused by so many businesses, it truly is an art to grab that attention of the potential clients you so desperately need to reach your goals. To be successful in this, you need a partner that not only understands the channels that need to be used to demand this attention, but someone that truly understands where to find your ideal potential customers, how to add value to their lives, how to educate and delight them, and how to use the feelings those things instill in your them to establish you as the 900 pound gorilla in your market space.
So the next time you are on a sales call with an agency you are considering partnering with, remember that it’s easy to let their sales team wow you with the technology that they use, but at the end of the day that does not matter. What matters are the fundamentals. If you focus the majority of your attention on their actual digital and content marketing philosophies and practices, you will end up making a much better decision and positioning yourself where you have hired a long term partner.