Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency: 8 Criteria for Ending the Start-and-Stop Project Cycle


What is the most important project on your marketing agenda right now?

  • Executing a digital campaign?

  • Promoting a sales offer?

  • Developing a fresh content asset?

  • Keeping up with your blog?

  • Rethinking your CMS?

  • Updating your website?

  • Launching a new product or service?

  • Refreshing your brand?

If you’re like most marketing leaders, you have multiple projects on your list. And you probably can’t choose just one because they’re all urgent. You may choose a marketing agency—or multiple contractors—to complete those projects. But the constant start-and-stop cycle of onboarding, briefings, and project management takes time and energy that could be better spent supporting the strategic objectives of your marketing organization—and your company.

The key is looking beyond the project level. Checking projects off your list—without a strategic, guiding vision—will get you only so far. Maybe a blip on the social radar or a brief increase in sales leads. But when the short-term benefit is exhausted, you have to start all over.

You end up spinning your wheels—and failing to create the momentum you need to drive meaningful organizational change.

What you need from a marketing agency is bigger than a single ad campaign or digital initiative. But finding a partner that understands how to achieve those bigger goals can be a challenge.

Curious to know the secret to successfully building and sustaining momentum?
Read on to learn some of the key criteria for selecting an agency that will add value to your organization.

Creating Connection and Continuity Across Marketing Activities

Think about WHY you do what you do. For example, why are you updating your website? It’s not because you really want to build a website. It’s so you can:

  • Tell a better story that represents your brand authentically

  • Enrich the user experience and support visitors with a clear buyer journey

  • Improve engagement, conversions, lead quality, sales opportunities, and revenue

The problem is, all those “WHYs” are complex and interconnected. They touch on activities that are outside the scope of the actual website project. And they require thoughtful integration with that site through optimized technology solutions that can adapt and improve as your business needs change.

When you approach an agency relationship at a short-term, project level, you may get projects done. But it’s unlikely that you’ll get projects that are cohesive, connected, and integrated with your bigger vision.

For that, you need a full-service marketing agency that has both a broad scope of services and depth of experience.

What to Expect from a Full-Service Marketing Agency Partner

The best marketing agency partner will understand how to effectively blend strategy, design, technology, and execution in a way that puts your goals first. They’ll specialize in marketing for complex organizations. And they’ll know how to efficiently develop strategies based on deep industry understanding, audience research, and insights.

These eight selection criteria might not be on your radar yet. But look for them; they’ll make all the difference in your marketing outcomes.

1. Start with discovery

To help build and sustain momentum for your organization, a full-service marketing agency will take the time to understand who you serve and what your capacity and capability is to serve them. They’ll augment initial conversations with your team with industry and audience research.

At Refactored, we know that upfront understanding is critical. It enables our agency team to determine the best way to develop a cohesive strategy and align messaging, digital user experiences, and the best technologies for your needs. And it ensures we’ll be delivering the right messages in the right channels to help you accomplish your goals efficiently.

2. Experience in industries that look like yours

For complex B2B organizations, choosing a digital marketing agency with experience across a variety of industries is a huge advantage. When your provider already understands your industry, you can leverage that experience to reduce the time to market for your programs, saving budget and hassle.

Refactored works with organizations across highly technical industries including software, cybersecurity, industrial, agriculture, member-based associations and nonprofits, life sciences, and emerging technologies. In these industries, our teams already understand key market dynamics, common buyer personas and behavior, best practices for digital outreach, and the most effective techniques to help you reach your ideal buyer and engage customers. 

3. Positive, collaborative relationships with internal teams

Your agency should support and supplement your internal team—not override them. The best marketing agency for you will address your immediate needs, acting as an integrated part of your organization. In addition, they will bring a fresh perspective and expertise to recommend and support ongoing strategies and programs that continually improve your impact.
Refactored understands how to navigate complex organizational structures. We will add to your existing knowledge, enabling your teams to focus valuable time and resources on solving pressing challenges and executing innovative programs.

4. Senior marketing professionals, close at hand

In a world where Zoom meetings are far more common than in-person connections, it’s an advantage for you to work with a team of senior-level marketing professionals who are dedicated to your account.
Even when in-person meetings aren’t an option, it’s essential that your agency team is YOUR team. You must have confidence that your work isn’t being passed down to junior members and that everyone who works on your projects has a shared understanding and history with your work.

5. Consulting as a strategic advantage

Figuring out the right approach to a challenge is often harder than executing the solution. An agency that consistently focuses on research and ideation ensures that you’re solving the right problems today—and positioned for future growth in your marketing programs.

At Refactored, we’re also keenly aware that too much data can cause paralysis. We carefully structure highly focused research engagements with fixed points of review, targeted deliverables, and clearly defined outcomes that are directly related to your strategy execution.

6. Transparent budgets and expectations

Visibility into project scope, budget utilization, and associated timelines can be the critical difference between initiatives that fail to launch and those that find their footing and thrive.

When choosing a digital marketing agency, look for a partner that provides continual, open management of budgets and scope and fosters ongoing communication through scheduled and on-demand updates. You’ll want to choose a partner who can help you fairly reconcile discrepancies, manage evolving expectations, and deliver on your most important goals—while sometimes letting others go.

We know that B2B initiatives typically entail complex details and can take many months to come together. We ensure we always leave room for key decisions that can change the project’s trajectory—and impact your budget. We are committed to providing you with budget and timelines that are realistic, timely, and fair.

7. Bridge-building between solution providers

The marketing agency partner you choose should be adept at helping you get what you need from the vendors and solutions you choose to work with. They should:

  • Be deeply familiar with your existing technology

  • Have the ability to optimize it

  • Offer unbiased advice about technology changes or additions that best serve your interests

At Refactored, our senior staff has worked across a wide range of technologies—from association management software and content management systems to marketing automation and analytics solutions. That deep experience enables us to understand the underlying complexity and interplay among solutions—sometimes better than our clients do. We put ourselves in your shoes and help you make the right technology decisions—not the decisions that benefit us.

8. Multi-track capabilities

When you embrace an integrated, strategic marketing approach, you need a partner that’s extremely adept at managing engagements that require multiple, simultaneous efforts—including coordinating with internal teams, proper sequencing of projects, and dynamic strategy development. Everything must be coordinated to deliver on your objectives. It’s essential that you choose a digital marketing agency partner who can maintain a vision of how all the components will work together over time.
These multi-track engagements are common for us at Refactored. We understand that an agency must be able to dedicate teams in a flexible manner to support your end goals. Our staff intentionally, continually synchronizes our efforts on your behalf—and shares key details across teams.

The Refactored Way:

How We Build and Sustain Momentum for You

What makes Refactored different? We’re fully committed to you. We care.
And most significant, we’re not like other agencies that are satisfied with transactional projects offering little lasting value.

We’re accountable, dependable, and relentlessly focused on achieving outcomes that align with your business goals. We’re in the business of growing your business by developing a deep understanding of your brand, leveraging our skilled staff’s expertise, and cultivating a trusted relationship over time.

That’s the Refactored way.