Think Transformation, Think Razorfish!

Digital Business Transformation
The following article is originally published in The Financial Express by Mr. Jaideep Mehta (MD, IDC India & South Asia)

New ways of consuming IT are emerging

Many analysts and observers cite 2015 as one of the most challenging years for the IT industry. Financial performance was challenged relative to historical numbers.

Many analysts and observers cite 2015 as one of the most challenging years for the IT industry. Financial performance was challenged relative to historical numbers. Large players are struggling to fire up growth, and margin maintenance is becoming a significant challenge. With some notable exceptions such as Mindtree, Tier 2 and small companies are more severely impacted on both counts. The forecast of 12-14% growth seems, sadly, unachievable: high single digits is probably a more realistic number. Talent retention is on the agenda like never before and top technologists decamp for the greener pastures of the booming start up world. Then, there are the markets: aside from the relatively bright demand in the USA, global markets range from slow to downright grim.
These are symptoms of a more problematic phenomenon. History will judge 2015 as the year when the traditional high profit, high growth model of the industry started being dismantled. 2016 will see an acceleration of this fundamental disruption. The key driver is the industrialisation of the technology sector, massively disruptive innovation, and the resultant emergence of new ways of consuming IT.

The digital transformation wave has pervaded corporations globally. The IDC Digital Transformation Maturityscape Index, built on more than 2500 assessments globally, shows that more than 60% of the companies are at Stage 2 or 3 on a 1-5 scale. Many are still struggling to get off the starting blocks, but realise it’s a game of survival. Practically every company we speak with, anywhere geographically and across vertical industries, is actively investing to understand and leverage digital technologies, processes and methods to drive superior business performance.

Consequently, in 2015, 120% of industry growth has been driven by these investments: traditional IT, though 70% of total spending, is shrinking by 4.5%. In other words, what the IT services industry is best at doing is in secular recession.

The challenge for the Indian companies is that these programmes are driven through high engagement and high iteration projects, which do not lend themselves to offshoring. So, the traditional advantage they brought to the table is substantially reduced. Organisations are building front-end or “on site” teams to be able to give clients the assurance of service, and to demonstrate capabilities.

As digital transformation starts with customer facing processes, the software underlying these programmes tends to be design-led. A capability that fundamentally does not exist in the engineer-dominated industry which failed to see the wave coming, and steadfastly ignored all leading indicators till it was too late. Now, it is collectively scrambling to buy this capability, often at premium prices and with post-acquisition integration challenges such as salesforce integration and enablement, cultural fits and margin dilution issues.

Finally, engaging clients on digital transformation initiatives demands depth of end-user industry knowledge and consulting capability which is rare: to partner with a bank on retail banking customer transformation programmes, for example, demands a depth of understanding of retail banking processes, customer preferences, channel migration issues and digital marketing disciplines which even the largest organisations find themselves challenged with. Consulting and domain teams are being invested in to overcome this challenge. Tuck in acquisitions buttress existing capability.

All in all, digital transformation programmes remain a challenging business for the industry to dominate. It has ceded ground to the likes of Accenture, Razorfish and others who are significantly outperforming the industry from a growth performance perspective.

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Digital Marketing Consultant vs Digital Agency, both are relevant for business

digital marketing consultant vs digital agency
This post is not to convince people against digital ad agencies, instead it is to help business owners make better business decisions.

Back in 2006, when I started my career in Quasar Media (a leading independent digital agency & now a WPP company) , I never thought that I would get an opportunity to work as an independent Digital Marketing Consultant for such a long time.

Over the years, I’ve worked with clients ranging from enterprise companies to absolute bare bones startups. For someone like me who has actually gone through from the mad corridors of digital advertising to the “politically corrected” corporate boardrooms and now a “meandering consultant”, its been a helluva ride.

But this post is not about me, this post is to help you make better decisions while you are choosing the right marketing partner for your business. But lets understand the business problem in a much more holistic manner.

In the last 5 years, there has been a massive increase in the number of marketing channels, marketing technologies are changing at the pace of light and the world is no longer about just generating new customer leads, thanks to social media and mobile ad tech, you can now predict when and from where you would get your next customer. But all of that isn’t that simple either.

Gartners Digital Marketing Transit Map
Gartners Digital Marketing Transit Map

Gartner’s Digital Marketing Transit Map is just an indicator of this increasingly complex world. Needless to say, with newer technologies like artificial intelligence taking over the reins, marketing can become further complex for future organisations.

In this situation, every business must choose the right vendor partner who can help them navigate through this phenomenally complex world of digital marketing.

The decision of choosing between a Digital Marketing Consultant vs Digital Agency is usually based on the size of the organization, but there are still multiple factors that affect this decision:

Digital Marketing Consultant Services
Digital Marketing Consultant Services

For Enterprise Company

If there is one word that defines their business, it is “LARGE”.

For them it is an obvious choice to hire multiple vendors/ agencies to manage their different digital work streams like customer acquisition, brand management, technology development, content marketing, publicity design, customer relationship management and the most critical one, data management. Based on these, an enterprise company usually hires vendors for the following functions:

  • Digital communication design
  • Technology development for different platforms like web, mobile, digital outdoors etc.
  • Digital brand strategy
  • Localisation agency to managed campaigns in different regions
  • PR & Social Media Agency
  • CRM
  • Digital Content Production
  • Customer Data, Analytics & Research Partner
  • Digital Media Agency ( for paid media campaigns like SEM, FB ads, Performance Marketing, Affiliate Marketing)

There are very few cases where an enterprise company hires an independent consultant. Only where the work is project based and highly niche in nature which cannot be provided at the same level expertise by any of the existing vendors in the market, hiring a consultant becomes imminent for the enterprise brand.

For Small Medium Business

This is where it is most difficult to assess your business requirement. Majority of the SMB’s are focussed towards generating more sales and not building their brand. For them, marketing is an expense, which should be avoided as much as possible, and only ROI driven marketing tactics are considered by the business owners with the clear objective to achieve sales.

However, there are multiple segments (based on size, nature of business, employee count, technology, customer base etc.) within the SME space, each of which has a different level of marketing requirements.

  1. For Local Business – the size of the business is extremely small ( like a small travel operator, Builders & Real Estate Agents, SOHO business, local retail, personalised services etc. ) which is not lucrative for any mid-large digital vendor, not just from scale but from monetary standpoint.
    1. Their marketing requirements (briefs) are often vaguely defined and restricted to most commonly used plus tried & tested digital marketing practices like Search optimisation & Adwords Marketing, Social Media Optimisation and Lead Generation.
    2. Most of these businesses get their low cost websites done by some local web design company without much focus on brand hygiene or customer relationship.
    3. Recommendation : Today, there are tremendous opportunities for any local business to grow, what they lack is a clear focus and direction based on the type of their business. Digital Marketing Consultants are best bets for local business as they can help them define their business focus and create a simple roadmap to grow without spending too much money. Its like visiting a private doctor’s clinic for expert’s advice before getting admitted to a hospital.
  2. For Startups – they come in many shapes and forms based on the stage of business , funded vs bootstrapped, tech vs non tech, product based vs service, e-commerce vs non e-commerce. Based on the type of startup, their marketing requirements are also different in nature.
    1. Early stage startups literally bootstrap their marketing expenditure for a long period of time. I’ve seen founders getting their hands dirty with everything in the marketing, right from building the strategy, finding alliances and partners, writing the PR copy, social media campaign, customer support etc.
    2. Startups are also secretive about their core idea till they build enough customer base. They usually hire people for doing specific task in marketing like SEO, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing etc. (Also read : How to hire for your bootstrapped startup?)
    3. For startups who manage to raise decent amount of funding in Series A/B, prefer to build their own digital marketing team instead of working with ad agencies. I guess most of the startup founders believe that ad agencies would not understand the vision completely. However, the trend is changing, startups are working with digital vendors for specific requirements like content marketing, online video campaigns (Also Read : How beautifully Faballey created their #unfollow campaign)
    4. Recommendation : on one side, early stage startups badly need top quality resources, but they also want to bootstrap it till the time they find gold aka funding source. Building momentum is super crucial for the founders as it allows them to build a strong business case to prospect investors. In this situation, it is highly advisable to hire experienced Freelance Digital Marketing Consultant who’ve been there and done that. The biggest benefit of working with a consultant is that they bring best practices from all perspectives including product management, sales, integrated marketing, customer relationship management etc.
  3. For Small Enterprise – these companies are those who are on a growth trajectory and certainly big enough in terms of their marketing operations, that allows them hire full time digital agencies.
    1. Despite being cash rich, these companies are extremely performance driven and sales focussed. Having said that, they still hire best of the marketing resources from elite B-schools all around the country by offering fat pay packages.
    2. Their requirements are often multi disciplinary, right from the core strategy to building a sustainable marketing plan to finding right partners in every aspect of their business.
    3. Usually these companies are cash rich and are prepared to spend money on brand building as well. The annual revenues are in high 3 digit numbers with double digit YOY growth.
    4. Please note, below recommendation is extremely relevant for Small B2B enterprise companies.
    5. Recommendation: Companies like these should prioritize their annual budgets and resources based on their short, medium & long term goals. While a Freelance Digital Marketing Consultant may not be the right option as (s)he cannot drive scale for their ambitious growth plans but (s)he can certainly come handy to drive certain specific needs like corporate training, creating your website content, creating your corporate blog strategy, building your website SEO & analytics. Digital Agencies are perfectly modeled for this kind of business as they can offer end-to-end services to their clients.

How to become a Digital Marketing Consultant?

Twice in the last ten years, that I took a break from what they call a “stable job” mindset and opted for full time digital marketing consulting career . I had little clue about what digital marketing consultant does? 

Consulting for me was not about making money but to give myself a chance to think differently. Nevertheless, life is very difficult for any digital marketing consultant in India and there are many reasons to re-consider before you take a plunge into this rabbit hole.

Here are few suggestions from my side if you are planning to leave your cushy job for starting as a digital marketing consultant in India:

Identify your core skills

Ideally it should not be more than 2-3 skills that’ll get you some quick projects, in sales they call it as “low hanging fruits” and easy to sell services which are no brainer for any client. You can’t start your consulting in India with just strategy as your key focus. Strategy is always considered as a default skill. I doubt if there is anyone in India who pays to an independent marketing consultant for strategy. They simply don’t (exceptions might be there). 

A digital marketing consultant should always have a specialised skill at the back of his hand like Social media, SEO + SEM + Analytics, Content Writing, Programming etc. The biggest benefit of having these skills is that you can sell them like a product because the output is measurable and the scope of work can be defined much easily (which I would touch a little later in this post).

Consider this as an advice, even before you think about leaving your current job for a “not so fancy” consulting career, think about your current established credentials. What are you known for? What is market’s perception about you? What is it that people would recommend you for on your LinkedIn? Do people look at you as a subject matter expert? Is your thought leadership truly established?

Blogging is no longer optional

Continuous creation of content to establish your skills, knowledge and thought process is absolutely vital in a world which is dominated by mediocre people and companies. I’ve seen people who were absolutely brilliant in their jobs, but when they started their own marketing consulting practice, they had to re-establish their thought leadership and skills in the market.

Fortunately, you have the benefit of blogs and social media which is an awesome “free publicity” tool for anyone who wants to build their credentials in the market.

Today, clients discover you in two ways, either through the personal referrals or through social media. I agree that relationships matters in almost every type of consulting but in case of Digital Marketing, you need to build a strong knowledge portfolio for which there is no better tactic than blogging.

Focus on lowest customer 

It looks fancy to put a logo of any Fortune 500 company in your sales kit, but for most of the marketing consultants it is a pipe dream. Most importantly, it is painful and less rewarding to pick up projects for big brands as they are extremely demanding and often force you bend backwards during the project.

If you are starting new as a digital marketing consultant in India, you should always aim at small business customers first as they’ll value your work a lot more than big corporations.

Fortunately, there are plenty of aspiring startup entrepreneurs around who are looking for all kind of support, right from building the website, writing their content, preparing investor pack, managing their digital marketing and lead generation, setting up their email marketing & CRM.

You would find a great connect with the early stage startups as they are sailing in the same boat as you are.

Define your scope of your services

It all depends upon what you are trying to pitch. It is not so much of a problem if you have a tangible skill set like coding / designing / search marketing / SEO / affiliate marketing etc. But if you are a digital generalist, then it can become a huge problem for you during client meetings.

Clients often have this habit of creating an open ended project scope which would kill you once you start working on the project. It is absolutely vital to define the scope of the project till the last word. Make sure you’ve taken the client through the process of execution with clearly defined expectations, timelines and deliverables.

Pricing your marketing consulting services in India

Needless to say that Indian clients do not pay enough to marketing consultants. You really need to spend over a decade to build your quality stamp and may be eventually, put a “non negotiable” tag on yourself. The problem is that when it comes to marketing in India, everyone consider themselves “an expert” so very few people would value the services of a consultant.

Often, the term consultant is associated with “low cost services”. This is one of the major reason as to why some of the best professionals work on projects from outside India when there is plenty of work available in India.

And the worst part is the payment cycles. India is the worst possible place for an individual to start his consulting practice because payments here take forever to land in your account. Unless your work is indispensable to the client’s success or the organisation is extremely ethical, you would never be able to get your payments on time.

Lets do a quick recap on the top marketing consulting priorities:

  1. Identify your core skills
  2. Build your thought leadership through blogs
  3. Try winning small customers and startups
  4. Define your scope of services
  5. Pricing your marketing consulting services

5 ways to get startup funding for your digital agency

startup-funding-digital-agency

If you are an avid follower of the startup news, you might have noticed that most of the startup funding is landing in the tech startup space, that too largely in the mobile apps & e-commerce category. Have you ever wondered why the startup advertising agencies are not in the investment radar.

Why is it that the most innovative or profitable ones (agencies) get acquired, while the rest struggle to make their mark for a very long time?

If you are an owner of a digital agency startup, here are few things you must build in your business plan in order to secure startup funding for your business:

1. Productize your offering

There is a general assumption that agencies are service based companies (which is not incorrect) and their revenue model is fragile. The competition is so intense that you have keep searching for leads all the time. Payment cycles are long and ‘client loyalty’ is limited due to which advertising agency is considered (or perceived) as low cashflow business.

In order to change this perception, you need create a unique product of your service which has a tangible aspect to it. One way you can do it through technology i.e. by building custom proprietary solutions targeting a specific need (like lead generation, customer engagement, user behavior, customer satisfaction) in a particular industry.

Once you do the above, it would lend measurability to your business model. You can actually predict a certain revenue based on the target audience you have made that solution for.

2. How to showcase your solution to an investor?

Every investor wants to see a practical and profitable business application of your service/product. Do your research on different brands across industries, make an attempt to understand their brands and business challenges. In the agency world, this is called working back to the creative brief. Figure out why your solution or service best-suited to help a particular client.

Show examples & case studies to your investor as to how you transformed it for a particular client.

3. Demonstrate Measurement and Support Capabilities

Make sure you have a sophisticated measurement and accountability system embedded into your technology. Analytics are essential components of the agency business, so be sure to address the topic in your presentation. Also mention your team, however small, in your pitch. Even though you may be a small startup, you have to reassure that you and your team will be able to see any project through to the end.

4. Scalability is critical

One of the key criteria of evaluating any business model is to see how quickly it can scale in time. Every agency is currently dealing with this issue of scalability, especially because they have not embraced the technology to the fullest. Most of the processes (especially around Project management, client relationship, resource management), can be automated through various digital tools available on the cloud. These technologies allow you to get more done with limited number of resources at 1/10th of the operating cost.

Once you have a strong business case, the investor would be interested in knowing how you would scale up the revenue & systems to handle hundreds & thousands of clients? That’s why your investor pitch needs to have scalability in its DNA.

5. Demonstrate multiple business opportunities and revenue models

The investor is also interested to see the vision behind your business. Are you thinking ahead of your time and your competitors? Do you have the team who can produce cutting edge solutions based on past, present & upcoming platforms?

A single business model can never succeed and is too risky to put investor’s money. Having said that you must showcase your plan of action around every revenue model that your company would touch in the next 5 years.

What are places where you are trying to generate first mover advantage for yourself? How will you accelerate existing revenue models? What are the new audience segments you would try to penetrate where existing market hasn’t ventured out?

6. Brand your startup agency

There is no doubt that digital is the hottest proposition at the moment. Every company is re-looking at their business models to match the growing requirements of the digital world. In this case, it is absolutely vital for a digital startup agency to build their startup philosophy in order to create a differential.

A smart investor would definitely like to see how good is the social media of the company who claims to bring the next big disruption in the space. Is your website behaving like a notice board (bored) or your achievements or if it is designed to share valuable insights & trigger conversations?

Also read: 25 ways to Brand your startup

Beware! Do not consider creating a fancy parallax website as thought leadership. Disruptive strategy does not require show off. Sometimes, it is doing all the right things in a clinical manner that makes a huge impact.

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How to handle angry clients in a digital agency?

How to handle Angry Clients in Media

One of the key reasons why clients hate modern day digital agency is due to poor quality customer servicing.

Very seldom you would find a digital agency who has a strong account management team at their disposal. Not that they are ignorant about the importance of an account manager, but sometimes they just choose to ignore it.

In my personal experience, most of the business I’ve won or retained is due to the quality of servicing I provided to my client at each and every stage of their business.

A powerful account manager can literally become the match winner for any business. He can navigate the client’s business out of rough waters and most importantly become a powerful bridge between the agency and the client.

One thing which most of the agencies forget is that Advertising is part of service industry and your service quality is the only differentiator between you and your next door competitor who is anxiously waiting for you to fuck up. Even the best of the agencies can’t take their business for granted.

There is no doubt that to handle angry clients is an art. I myself have gone through hundreds of tough client calls & meetings where things could have gone out of control within a matter of minutes but I kept my patience and came out victorious.

Vendors (ad agencies) cannot afford to allow client servicing team sit on the back seat forever. Client servicing needs to take the driver’s seat right away without much delay. A client servicing strategy for any agency or publisher means nothing but a customer focused strategy. The time has come when each business owners must re-look at their business priorities.

It is important to first acknowledge the fact that you are not just in the technology business or agency business or content business but you are in servicing business.

After all these years, I firmly belief that not just the digital agency but any business lose their clients due to poor account management.

 

 

How to write client proposals in a digital agency?

Client Proposal in Digital Agency

If you are new to digital sales, its an uphill task for you to come into the groove straight away and start getting revenue for the company from day 1.

However, you can certainly build an intent to make a difference to your pipeline by calibrating your digital agency proposals or RFPs by keeping into consideration the below points:

Product Relevance

First, and the foremost question you must try and answer for the client is why your product relevant for the brand in achieving their most critical brand marketing objectives (both strategic & tactical). So whether it is expanding the brand reach in an exclusive territory like a particular ethnic group/ community or it is driving a strong engagement amongst a niche audience across different geographies. Remember, in any case, how you will target the brand’s core audience will remains a key focus.

Innovation

Second, explain how your product/offering brings any strategic leverage for the brand. In simple terms, does it allow the brand to venture out and experiment or play with their current brand messaging in a more innovative way? If your proposal is also offering run of the mill solution to the brand, chances are that your sales person would end up standing in the long queue outside with other vendors.

Domain Experience

Third, what’s your relevant experience in the domain? Not all clients but certainly the high spenders like to work with selected vendors whom they believe have the technical prowess & proven expertise to deal with any future troubleshooting situation, especially when there is serious money at stake. If you position yourself as somebody who can just do the job well by offering competitive pricing, the person on the other side of the table ain’t gonna take you seriously. Agency planners need to see the WOW factor in your proposals every time and nothing better than offering them relevant case studies examples of their client’s competition. So next time, make sure you beef up your proposals with certain strong case study examples.

Understanding of Brand Objectives

Fourth,  have you understood the long term objectives of the brand? For instance, if the brand is launching itself in different geographies, it would expect its partners to bring key market insights on the table to allow him to take future decisions about the brand positioning vis-a-vis the competition.

Vision for Scalability

Fifth, is your approach scalable in future? Interestingly, very rarely I’ve seen this approach in vendor proposals where they talk about how they will span out a strategy which will evolve in the long run and would benefit the brand by offering scalable solution. More often than not most of the people offer a short sighted approach which may or may not give long term returns to the brand. For instance, a lead generation strategy should also come with future customer engagement plan for better customer acquisition.

How to write digital marketing brief?

Is your client servicing person sounding repetitive & still talking about SEM, SEO & Display in the weekly strategy meetings?

Does your weekly marketing reporting dashboard still looks the same with acronyms like CPM, CPC, CTR etc.?

Are the strategic discussions in your marketing team still hovering around reducing cost per acquisition?

If any of the above is true, then you should definitely fire few people or the agency because the world has moved on from these archaic goals & matrices. With the tsunami of smart devices hitting the shores of our digital world, there is a massive change in the adjacent marketing landscape. Last I heard:

PC sales were at an all time low & following a negative growth trend,

Smartphones & Tablets sales was expected to overshadow PC sales by the end of 2013 (read IDC report on Connected Device Projections by 2017 & Tablets sales forecast)

Google had started doing mass production of its next generation wearable tech Google glass – Read this

And guess what , in the middle of all this phenomenon change, your client servicing & digital marketing teams are still discussing about how to optimise your cost per acquisition.

Frankly speaking, it is not your mistake, most of the digital teams around the world are still obsessed with making your brand a super successful social brand on the Facebook, twitter & pintrest but deep down inside your heart says that all this is nothing but a wild goose chase. Having said that, I am not out-rightly denying the importance of these tried & tested cost effective marketing tools. It is just that the thought process needs to adapt with time.

In my opinion, mobility will soon force the brands to change their brief to the servicing teams so that they can successfully achieve the long term marketing objectives. Ideally, the new marketing brief would surely have below 2 components:

  • Find out ways to catch & engage with the target audience while they are on the move. In short, make the brand adaptive to mobile environment.
  • Optimise the marketing plan across all current & foreseeable devices (PC was yesteryear story, Mobile & Tablets will easily cover next few years. This is very important because off late pace of growth in the digital device industry has just gone exponential. Keeping the integrated Acquisition, Engagement & Retention plan ready which is connected across all devices & platforms would become the next big thing among brands( Read about Cross Screen Marketing )

It is high time that marketing teams should start re-calibrating their marketing briefs for the client servicing teams as otherwise they might miss the mobile bus like the way a lot of them did when online took the world by storm.

Digital Agency vs Digital PR Agency

digital pr agency vs digital agency

Digital PR agencies are in the business of creating content for a long time through which they can offer lot more value to the brand in a socially dominated digital ecosystem.

As a matter of fact, PR is perhaps much better placed compared to any other player to build digital brands as they are closest to the process of influencing audiences.

Public relations companies could well change how social media is looked at in 2015. Considering digital is the core focus of all offline content providers & news publications, PR can play a huge role as the content curator for their respective clients and help them in monitor & eventually dominate social media landscape.

How to hire digital marketing agency in India?

In a continuously evolving media environment, where on one side, the opportunity to market your brand has increased due to increase in the number of communication platforms, it has also added to the list of problems for any brand/ marketing manager of choosing multiple vendors for diverse requirements like online media, offline media, BTL, creative, CRM. Technology, PR etc.

Unlike the west where most of the clients believe in having specialized units for every task, Indian clients want a one stop solution, which is sometimes not a good idea.

Though most of the big traditional media companies claim that they have the expertise for end-to-end solutions, often that is not the case. A client should be wise enough to figure that out during the pitch process. (Also read : Decoding Digital DNA, A Strategic Perspective for PR Agencies in India )

A lot of agencies outsource their operations to small vendors and that’s quite regular in our industry but the fact remains that this increases the turnaround time & even results in poor quality due to miscommunication between various agencies & vendors. This is one of the reasons why a client should go for specialists (even specialised consultants who can reduce their pain points and build a smooth process driven marketing approach would be a good idea)

No single agency can provide all the specialised services with highest efficiency & quality. In fact, if the agency can focus on their core specialty, they would be in a much better position to get more business compared to ever so growing number of studio agencies.

6 points all clients must look at if they wish to give their business to any single digital marketing agency in India:

1. Objective : Has the agency been able to interpret the client’s objective clearly? Often agency is too busy selling what they want to sell and forget the client’s core purpose of advertising.

2. Process Understanding: Does the agency understand the business processes of the sector? This is very important as they need to be aware of the purchase life cycle of the products and the existing sales process which will help them craft their engagement campaigns for the brand more strategically.

3. Money Saving: Is the agency interested in saving client’s money in any form, either by improving their business processes internally  or by saving costs through their media planning abilities ( not buying or not even lowering their commissions because that is negligible cost saving ). Has the agency demonstrated any such cost saving measures in the past for any other client.

4. Core Expertise: Client should upfront ask the agency about their core expertise and see the work only in that domain. Though an agency might showcase their credentials across range of services but client should see the crux on day 1 itself.

5. Vision: An agency should also demonstrate their next 4-5 years vision for the client in the digital space keeping an eye on the technology, market & consumer insights which is critical for any brand.

6. Customer & Market Understanding: An agency should also bring their market intelligence by doing a thorough research on the product &/or category so that they have a clear  understanding of their final goal of getting the right audience through right communication & channel.

7. Mobile Understanding: Considering Mobile devices would soon outgrow the digital medium, which means that every agency needs to build a road map for the brand’s digital assets transition from online to mobile. Does the agency have those resources who can think about creating a separate Mobile Experience for brand’s audience?

I believe this would help any client to understand if the agency can handle their brand in the digital environment or not. If the client is not convinced then I think they should definitely look at the option of hiring various independent specialists for the job.