Digital marketing is ever-changing and has become increasingly complex as companies look to engage people across multiple channels and bring these interactions together to gain a comprehensive view of their customers.
With this evolution comes an amazing opportunity for marketers. They can – and should – expect more of their performance-based marketing agency partners, calling on them to think strategically, act nimbly and have efficient processes in place to drive the best results.
When seeking a performance marketing agency to partner with, here are a few things to look for:
- Expertise. Whether affiliate marketing, SEO or paid advertising, companies often rely on agencies to help them with complex programs or tightly defined, time-sensitive projects.
To meet client expectations, this requires the agency to have team members with subject matter expertise in those areas, have the capability to go strategically deep within a vertical, know and follow best practices and understand what pitfalls to avoid.
- Brand alignment. All marketing should protect and strengthen a company’s brand, but this is particularly true for performance marketing. In order to protect their brand, it’s vital for companies to work with a performance marketing firm that has the expertise to recruit, activate and manage partners who align with your brand and not engage in off-brand promotions.
- Recommendations. Asking your colleagues is a good place to start when it comes to evaluating agency partners. Find out who they’ve worked with and who they would recommend working with.
As with any new business relationship, make sure you ask for references and find out how many of the agency’s clients originated from referrals. If they hesitate to provide either of these, you may want to raise the red flag.
- Forward Thinking. Does the agency have a deep commitment to innovation and continuous improvement? Look for a partner that is on top of the latest insights and trends and is willing to adapt and take measured risks to drive more value for your business.
- Aligned Incentives and Behaviors. Does the agency address how they handle client money? Do they treat it like it’s their own to achieve the highest ROI for their clients?
Look for partners that focus on increasing profits for their clients and keeping costs in check. The best partners are transparent about where your money is going, ensuring that they don’t spend any more than they need to.
- Strategic & Insightful.Does the agency take a top-down approach and spend the time to develop a deep understanding of their client’s business goals rather than focusing on tactical execution. Agencies that are committed to long-term success align your business goals with expert strategy and best practices to deliver the best possible results.
- Client-to-team member ratio. Working with an agency that has a low client-to-team member staff ratio will help ensure that your company gets the attention and high-touch service it deserves. This also translates to more strategic planning, out-of-the-box thinking, personalized interaction, and a higher return on your marketing investment.
- Company culture. Does the agency have a culture deck that tells the world who they are and what their company culture is all about? What’s their Glassdoor.com rating? From their website, industry articles and conversations with your agency contacts, do you get a feel for their company culture?
Does it resonate with you and the kind of agency representation your company is looking for? You can learn a lot about whether an agency will be a fit for you based on their company culture.
- Thought leadership. Do they consistently offer internal assets (eBooks, blog posts, webinars, etc.) that convey their thought leadership and expertise? Externally, do they contribute to industry publications and share helpful industry-related insights? Do they present at industry events?
Agencies who regularly produce thought leadership content demonstrate that they are committed to adding value to their existing and prospective clients as well as to the industries in which they serve.
- Awards. In addition to winning agency-related awards, have they won “Best Place to Work” awards? Agencies that have won both performance and workplace awards demonstrate that they invest time and resources in their team members, which likely translates into a partnership that will be focused on your long-term success.
Selecting the right performance marketing agency for your company to partner with will depend on a variety of factors. These ten characteristics are a good place to start in your evaluation journey and determining whether or not they will meet your marketing needs and help you grow.
To learn more about our performance marketing agency and what we do to support our clients, visit our Company page.
Ready to see how Acceleration Partners can help you launch or grow your affiliate program? Contact our team today. We’re here to help!
Lenox Powell is an Associate Director, Global Content Strategy