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How to: Pick the right agency for your business

Picking a digital marketing agency in Dubai is a daunting process.

branding for a marketing agency

There are way too many agencies out there. Some of them have good reviews. Some of them have worked for businesses similar to yours.

Most businesses in the Dubai market prefer working with agencies that have been referred to them by a friend or a business partner. This may make the agency more ‘trust-able’, but as a business owner, it is imperative to filter the agency and ask them the tough questions that need to be asked.

So after years of interacting with clients and leads, we know what matters to you and to us. Team Donut has compiled a list of six factors to look out for when hiring a marketing agency for your business.

1. Make sure their digital listings are optimized and well-built

Digital listings such as their website, Instagram, google maps, etc The way a business handles its presence is indicative of the way they are likely to handle your digital presence.

Many agencies and businesses tend to focus on sales and ignore this aspect, and that’s fine if you are looking to test the waters or need quick sales.

However, if you are looking to build a brand, the listing setup is crucial to understand how the agency will represent your brand across the internet and offline. 2. Ask for the Company Profile & Case Studies

The company profile is basically another form of a digital listing.


However, the company profile is the marketing agency putting its best leg forward. This should be flawless, or as perfectly done as you expect your brand to be. Inspect the copy, the alignments, the image quality, and their past work. The way that the marketing agency communicates their brand is the same way they will communicate your brand.

On the case studies, pay attention to what have they done and how is it presented.

Is the communication level up to the mark? If it’s not and the agency promises that the copywriting for their clients is done in a better manner, be aware that the client work is most likely outsourced.

And that’s alright, as long as there is that transparency from the marketing agency.


3. Ask the agency for their current clients and inspect their work. Judging an agency by the information they give you about themselves is the first step. Step 2 is to judge the agency by the work for their clientele.

woman working in a marketing agency on her ipad

Some agencies may feel reluctant to share this information with you stating that it’s confidential. This can be true for an agency that works for the government sector. Or a non-profit organization.


However, agencies that work to promote restaurants or privately owned businesses have no reason to state that as a reason.

Marketing a client to another client or to a lead is still spreading awareness about that client’s business which is exactly what the agency is hired to do.


If there’s a significant drop in the quality of the work on the client’s assets and the agency's assets. This is a point worth asking about.

4. Ask your selected agency the tough questions. Ideally, the agency will have sent you the above information over WhatsApp or email but the next set of questions can only be asked or enquired about over a meeting.


After checking on the above 3 and filtering out the hundreds of marketing agencies in Dubai, it’s time to meet a rep from the agency face to face. If you’re not sure what you can ask an agency rep to audit them, here are 3 questions that will help you understand the ethos of the marketing agency. - Why did your last three clients leave you? Every agency loses clients. That’s not a bad thing. Situations change. Sometimes the agency messes up, and sometimes the client’s business goes under. However, it’s important to see how the agency rep responds to this question to measure their level of self-awareness and attention to their client’s needs - How do you define success for a client such as myself? The reverse of this is something that I always ask the leads that come to us. What would define success in our relationship? A question like this helps you understand if the marketing agency is laser targeted toward achieving your goals. - What are the weak spots in my marketing strategy right now? This question helps to test the agency’s ability to audit your business - assuming that you have given enough information to the agency to come up with a reasonable answer to this question. It’s unreasonable to expect a thorough SWAT analysis on your business.

But the agency should be able to give you some feedback on what needs changing in your listings, your content, or the strategy.

Nothing too detailed, but answers that show that the agency rep has prepared for this meeting by at least looking at your social and digital listings.


5. Avoid agencies that make tall claims without devising a solid strategy.

Many agency reps will make promises and claims to attract you and win you as their client, and there is nothing wrong with that if they’ve got the right strategy to prove their claims.

But constantly speaking in numbers and talking about the agency's past success stories without referencing it to your business problems is a red flag.

marketing agency office decor and laptops

The general reasoning for them is that if it worked out for a past client, it would also work for you.


While it all sounds good in theory, it is essential to look beyond it.

Note that your business is unique, and so are its challenges. Just because it worked for another client does not mean that it will work for you.

Therefore, instead of going by the agency’s words alone, confirm that they understand your company’s requirements and can deliver what they claim.

If they constantly talk about what they can achieve for your business but not about how they plan to achieve these goals - that's a red flag.


6. Make sure you are at the agency's price point.

Pricing is a tough thing to talk about because clearly there is a conflict of interest here between an agency's perspective and a business owner's.

Once an agency shares its first quote, this will most likely be in the higher range of what they get from their current clients in the same segment as yours. Negotiating up to 10% is fairly standard practice but if you find yourself wanting to negotiate more than 20% of the agency fees. It may just not be worthwhile for your business to work with the agency.


It's no secret that marketing agencies tend to prioritize and give the most attention to their top-paying clients. So you do not want to be the lowest-paying client in an agency’s portfolio.

It's better to be a top client for a mid-level agency than a low client for a high-level agency.


However, the only thing that truly trumps how much you pay the agency is the relationship that you create with the agency. Personally, I have seen a marked difference in the quality of work that the creative team delivers for certain brands. The key thing these brands had in common was that the owners or marketing managers insisted on hosting the entire team at the store before signing us on. This helped the marketing team appreciate the brand, appreciate the people behind the brand, and understand the brand ethos better. Hence enabling the agency to produce better work.


Why work with Donut Media?

Marketing Agency team members smiling

If the above makes sense to you, know that we cover all the above points and concerns before ever signing on a contract.


As a team, we strive to understand the expectations, set fair timelines, and then work hard to surpass those. Our conversations begin with ROI & strategies before we talk about impressions and reach. If you're looking for a performance-focused marketing agency to increase your sales, enhance your brand awareness and improve your digital footprint. Get in touch with us!

Read more about our team here. Read about our 5-star reviews here, also watch a video on our clients talking about their experience with us.

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