blog | January 29, 2018
Five Keys to Selecting the Right Digital Agency: Key #1 Agency Longevity
By Gary Hooker
Imaginuity has been in business since 1997; that’s almost like the dawn of time in Internet years. And it’s important. Our 18-year history speaks directly to our longevity, staying power and success as an independent agency in a world full of digital Johnny-come-latelys.
An agency’s age is significant for a number of reasons. With age comes a solid business foundation, a diverse client list to support it, and a healthy client track record.
In the ever changing, always evolving digital world, it also suggests the firm has been able to understand and utilize emerging technologies, adjust its creative aesthetic and keep it fresh, impactful and visually appealing.
Further, the longer a firm has been in business the deeper and broader is their knowledge base and experience.
Finally, it would suggest the body of work showcased on their site, is in fact their own.
So, when you begin your search for a new digital agency, consider how long they have been in business.
Many of the clients who come to us in crisis mode have engaged with a very young agency previous to seeking our help. Typically these greener agencies have been in business for less than three years.
Often, the work they pitch has been culled from projects they did for other agencies. Simply put, the work does not belong to the current group. It is very important to verify that the work an agency includes in their portfolio is in fact work that has been executed by them.
Do not be afraid to ask this pertinent question: Has their portfolio of work been produced since the agency started?
You might be shocked at just how many newer agencies cobble together a portfolio based on previous agency experience and pitch it as if it is was their current agency work.
A newer agency’s client list many may also be a red flag. If they have only one or two clients, or only clients in one vertical, you should ask yourself this question: What happens to my new agency if their big client makes a change or their primary vertical market goes into prolonged economic slump? As we all know, both scenarios are very plausible.
Another pitfall of the “youthful” agency is their ability to sustain themselves as a healthy, viable business. Here again, be sure to do your due diligence and delve into the business side of the agency. Ask the tough questions: How is the agency funded? What is their 3-5 year business plan? What’s in your business development pipeline?
If the group is underfunded, bootstrapping or depending on the next big win to sustain the business, it is likely they will be operationally challenged and distracted. That means your project will almost surely suffer and may not get completed at all. When you finally settle on a new digital partner, the last thing you want is to be their guinea pig!
So, when you begin your search, put a benchmark in place. Perhaps only consider agencies with more than four years of operational experience. And, remember to vet their portfolio and client list as well as their business model.
This is just the first step in selecting a new agency, but it will begin to narrow the field and help keep you on track for the rest of the process. Learn more about the other steps to finding the right digital agency, including size, technology resources, walking the walk, and price.