You are here
Home > e-commerce > 13 Key Things E-Commerce Businesses Should Look For When Partnering With A Marketing Firm

13 Key Things E-Commerce Businesses Should Look For When Partnering With A Marketing Firm

Click here to view original web page at www.forbes.com


The worlds of brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce are remarkably different. Because of the inherent differences between those systems, e-commerce companies that hire marketing firms to help them put marketers in a difficult spot. E-commerce companies need to be aware of specific critical competencies of a marketing firm before they even consider bringing them on board.

Each e-commerce business is different and requires different skills for their campaigns, and the truth is that not all marketing firms can offer those necessary abilities. Thirteen professionals from Forbes Communications Council share below some of the key elements that an e-commerce business should focus on when hiring a marketing firm to help them.

Members share their best tips for choosing the right marketing partner for your e-commerce business.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Experience With Other E-Commerce Brands

Yes, it's obvious but the right marketing firm for an e-commerce business should have proven experience working with other e-commerce brands. Ask critical questions about team members' knowledge of Shopify or WooCommerce and request metrics from past clients to show sales directly driven by their efforts. Marketing firms can all talk the talk (it's what we do), but not all can walk the e-walk. - Melissa Kandel, little word studio

2. Proven ROI In Your Market

In the old-school, brick-and mortar-world, it was "location, location, location." Now, digital footprint is the "new" location. When choosing a digital marketing agency, be sure they have proven ROI with your market and segment. If you are consumer packaged goods/direct to consumer, be sure your agency is top of its game in this segment. - Ken Sterling, BigSpeak Speakers Bureau

3. Conversion Rate Optimization Skills

E-commerce sites need to hire a marketing company that specializes in conversion rate optimization (CRO). The competition for consumer wallets online is fierce, so e-commerce sites have to be built to convert their website visitors. Amazon focused on this and that's why they dominate the space. Using SEO, paid search and social to get more traffic is useless, unless that traffic converts into sales. - Lavall Chichester, JumpCrew

4. Performance Marketing Traction

An ideal marketing firm for an e-commerce business can provide proof of traction with performance marketing campaigns. Effective ad campaigns that actually result in sales is crucial to the success of an e-commerce business; a knowledgeable marketing firm should expertly advise, if not lead, those campaigns. - Lian Amaris, Spiralgroup Marketing + PR

5. Understanding Of The Full Landscape

E-commerce is just part of the puzzle. With the rise of direct-to-consumer offerings, it's key to understand how these customers are advertised and sold to. Understanding audience behavior and the value of influencer relationships is just as important as making the transaction turn-key. - Meghann Craig, Empower

6. Alignment Of Values

First, ensure your values align. Consumers are bombarded with bad news about shady data practices and creepy ad targeting. The last thing you want is a marketing partner going rogue and staining your brand image. Second, as your brand grows and evolves, look for marketing firms with experience in the real, physical world. There’s a brick-and-mortar renaissance happening; don’t be left out. - Seema Kumar, servicechannel.com

7. Revenue Numbers

The digital space is awash with vanity metrics. Growth metrics abound on all social platforms, which marketing firms can be keen to exploit when pitching their services. Ultimately, while it is nice to have these metrics, followers don't put food on the table. Look to the quality of leads that the firm will deliver and, from that, the conversion rate of those leads to valuable, lifetime customers. - Patrick Ward, High Speed Experts

8. Data-Driven Strategies

Look for being a firm that’s data-driven with the capacity for building insightful measurement around strategy. A marketing partner should be able to adapt to consumer behavior insights as close to real time as possible. Great creative is important, but you won’t win without being data-driven. - Marija Zivanovic-Smith, NCR Corporation

9. Existing Accounts They Work With

You should be looking at how your firm has not only handled emerging e-commerce accounts but also at how they've helped successfully pivot traditional retail brands into the ever-evolving marketplace of the web. This will give you the best understanding for what kind of bearing they have on the medium and how much they respect that "the times they are a-changin'." - Daniel Lalley, Brondell Inc.

10. Per-Customer Engagement Capabilities

Retail runs on brand recognition. Many things help build brand -- discounts, proximity to residential areas, stocking popular merchandise, etc. E-commerce businesses need that kind of brand affinity in a noisy environment where customers can switch loyalty easily. A track record of building engagement around per-customer personalization is what businesses should look for while evaluating firms. - Seamas Egan, j2 Global

11. Knowledge Of Amazon Search

Do they understand all of the different e-commerce platforms, processing systems, international payment, voice assist, and most importantly, do they know how to work with Amazon search? Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla in the room in all industries, but nowhere more than e-commerce. Your partner agency needs to have a strong understanding of how to work with Amazon. If not, keep looking. - Liz Weir, LevLane Advertising

12. Upfront Data Analysis

Begin by knowing your target audience and your competition. When approaching a marketing firm, have demographic and market analysis data in-hand -- any firm worth their salt will be able to answer targeted questions about this data. They should have worked with audiences and products similar to yours in the past and be able to demonstrate a strong track record of success. - Andy Nauman, Ameri-Force, Inc.

13. Content Marketing Skills

While search engine and social media marketing are crucial, a good marketing firm will not neglect the power of content marketing. E-commerce businesses do not have a physical presence, so it's important they give their products “life” through content. Consider the success of clothing e-commerce stores like Revolve: Quality image, video, storytelling and product placement is what brings shoppers back again and again. - Vivien Garnes, Upfluence Inc.


The worlds of brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce are remarkably different. Because of the inherent differences between those systems, e-commerce companies that hire marketing firms to help them put marketers in a difficult spot. E-commerce companies need to be aware of specific critical competencies of a marketing firm before they even consider bringing them on board.

Each e-commerce business is different and requires different skills for their campaigns, and the truth is that not all marketing firms can offer those necessary abilities. Thirteen professionals from Forbes Communications Council share below some of the key elements that an […]

It is fair to share..
Top