A casual Google search of “digital marketing consulting firm in Singapore” or “digital marketing agency in Singapore” will reveal dozens of results for such firms across the world. Even if you narrow the search to a specific country or city, you will get dozens, if not hundreds of firms turn up, depending on the size of the market.
So, how do you go about evaluating and choosing a digital marketing consultant or agency to engage?
DETERMINE WHAT IS YOUR MARKETING OBJECTIVE
At the fundamental level, as a business, your goal is no doubt to make money by increasing sales or creating an online revenue stream. However, you might also want to build your online presence or improve your customer engagement on popular digital marketing channels.
You need to determine how you think you can reach this overall goal digitally. You will also want to think about how your digital strategy fits with your traditional marketing as part of your holistic marketing mix.
This is something you can brainstorm with your marketing and sales teams while researching the process online to get some direction.
If you are clear of your objectives and require a professional service provider to execute digital marketing initiatives across channels, you will want to look for an appropriate digital marketing agency.
If you are struggling with determining your digital marketing strategy and require professional guidance, you might want to consider a digital marketing consultant instead.
The primary difference between a digital marketing consultant and an digital marketing agency is that a consultant develops a digital marketing strategy that complements your overall business strategy.
An agency executes the implementation of digital marketing tactics that is determined by the strategy. Of course, they will be some agencies who are strong in strategy as well.
In a previous post, we discussed how to get the most out of working with a digital marketing agency which will be a useful read.
MATCH THE DIGITAL MARKETING FIRM WITH YOUR NEEDS
When you have determined your broad digital marketing objectives, you must look for a firm that matches your needs.
Like any professional service providers, all digital consultancy firms or agencies will have their speciality.
Lawyers, accountants and doctors have their areas of specialization, and digital marketers are no different. While most may offer all digital marketing services, the firm was likely founded on a core domain expertise.
As such, the digital marketing philosophy of the firm is typically guided by this domain expertise.
For example, being a strategic hybrid marketing consulting firm in Singapore, it is no surprise that Evolve & Adapt’s domain expertise and focus is search engine optimization, content marketing and digital marketing strategy.
One of our marketing tenets is “strategy before tactics”. In fact, that is the name of our foundational digital marketing course. As a result, our starting point for clients is a strategic one and SEO is a long-term digital marketing strategy. Shorter-term digital marketing tactics like paid advertising or email marketing are then built around the overall strategy.
A different digital marketing consulting firm or agency may have roots in social media marketing. As such its domain expertise may be in building social media accounts, creating personas, content development and sharing as well as fan engagement and community management. As a result, their starting recommendations to clients would naturally be to align social media accounts across all platforms and build a strategy around that strength.
Another firm may be specialized in technology and will promote marketing automation tools integrated with your website.
A good digital marketing firm will always ensure that their areas of expertise fit your needs. They will spend significant time understanding your business and objectives, and evaluate if they can provide the value you need.
You will probably want to avoid small firms that claim they are experts in every aspect of digital marketing and can deliver results in any channel or platform for a low fee.
The exception will be large, established firms with different digital marketing specialists overseeing different types of digital marketing. But, then it is unlikely they will be inexpensive.
We have discussed how much it costs to hire a business consultant previously which will be a useful reference in hiring a digital marketing consulting firm or agency.
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
Digital marketing is a very different discipline from traditional marketing. When choosing a digital marketing firm, you want to ensure they have specific experience in digital marketing.
Being closer to a science than an art, digital marketing results are generally quantifiable, and technical skills are essential.
All good digital marketers will likely have some form of professional certification that relates to their speciality. Major platforms like Google and Facebook have their own certification standards that are awarded to qualifying individuals. And all digital marketers must have experience and certifications in data analytics.
Be sure to verify and ascertain the validity and quality of the certification. Like degree mills where one can buy college degrees, there are also some dubious digital marketing certs available. I have even seen someone claim to be voted #1 on Google, which is complete rubbish and does not even make sense.
For example, in Singapore, the more recognized certifications are endorsed by Enterprise Singapore or Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ), government agencies that are the country’s national standards and accreditation bodies. Most countries will have similar authorities.
You can also look out for 3rd party reviews, endorsements or awards of the consultant or agency. Evolve & Adapt is listed as one of the top SEO consultants in Singapore by ranking website “Best in Singapore“. We were also awarded “Business Consultant of the Year” by the Singapore Prestige Awards 2020.
The three points discussed in this post will be a good starting point for assessing a digital marketing firm for consideration.
Once you shortlist some firms, make contact and arrange a meeting. Your discussions will reveal whether you have synergy with the digital marketers and you can assess proposals to make a final informed decision.