5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Partnering With an Interactive Agency

August 30, 2013

If you’ve ever gone through the process of selecting an interactive agency partner, you know it’s no small decision. There are a number of criteria to consider in your evaluation, from methodology and approach to office location and industry expertise. But sometimes, no matter how many meetings you have and questions you ask, you end up not getting quite what you expect.

As you might imagine, we’ve heard some interesting stories from clients about their past bad experiences and what they knew they wanted in an agency partner after not getting it right the first time. We’ve compiled this list based on what they’ve told us so you can avoid frustration and start off on the right foot.

Pitfall 1: The Single Discipline, Loose Collaborative Agency

Working with an agency whose focus is only design or development may get you a stunning site or a technically beautiful build, but it won’t get you both. A digital strategy agency who can handle both design and development will ensure that the nuances the creative designer has incorporated into the site are carried out successfully during the build process. By partnering with a single discipline agency made up of geographically scattered telecommuters, you’ll miss out on a seamless handoff from design to development putting you at risk for a final product that doesn’t function as you’d expected. Also, make sure the agency’s resources are in-house or your project may end up on the to-do list of a contract employee with little vested interest in making your site great.

Pitfall 2: The Design Without Reason Agency

Creating a new website takes more than just a new design. It requires an understanding of the site’s user and the type of experience they are seeking. An digital agency that doesn’t start off by conducting competitive and user research won’t be able to deliver a website that will drive results for your organization and you may find yourself tasked with another website redesign sooner than later. In addition to research, testing your site both prior to and post launch should be a part of your interactive marketing partner’s methodology.

Pitfall 3: The Design Without Content Strategy Agency

When designs are created without a content strategy in place, you can end up with a website that doesn’t offer the flexibility you need to communicate your message effectively. Make sure that your agency partner wants to work with you to create a content strategy that will allow you to incorporate your content throughout the site without compromising the design integrity of the creative. 

Pitfall 4: The Deliver Without a Plan Agency

Launching a new website is a big undertaking in any organization, but the really challenging part can come post-launch if you don’t have a governance plan in place. Your digital strategy partner should help you to build a framework that outlines standards for updating and maintaining your new site because, without one, you could find yourself with an inefficient and confusing process. Your plan should include guidelines for content management and workflow, web standards, site ownership and permissions, and maintenance and expansion of search engine optimization.

Pitfall 5: The Website In A Silo Agency

All of the tools you employ to round out your marketing landscape work together to help you meet your business goals, so it’s important that your agency have knowledge of the technical implications and best practices for integrating SaaS marketing tools into a digital marketing platform. Understanding how best to leverage tag and customer relationship management, marketing automation, and inbound marketing software tools, is key to creating a website that helps you engage your audience effectively throughout the stages of the funnel. 

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