A digital campaign consultant or agency is an essential part of a candidate’s team. You’ll rely on them to bring expertise, talent, resources, and perspective to your campaign. Digital outreach is a core function for modern campaigns.
52% of voters turned to the internet to get news and information about political candidates and elections in 2020. That number will continue to rise, especially for state and local races where media coverage is limited.
Hiring a digital agency or consultant is a big decision. These questions will help you find the right one.
Is This Your First Time?
Talented, emerging campaign operatives bring fresh, relevant experience and a new perspective to your campaign. It’s important to understand what stage their business is in.
Every new business has growing pains and is developing new processes. Having awareness of this is critical. Are they just freelancing and planning on abandoning you when they find a full-time job? Do they have other clients already on board so they can stay operational through election day?
What Other Projects Are You Working On?
For service-based businesses like digital consultancies, keeping your highest paying client happy is always the most important priority. For digital agencies, commissions on advertising are often the most profitable line item.
Get a sense of the other clients your digital consultant or agency has. Will your campaign be near the top of the pile, somewhere in the middle, or at the bottom? Regardless of best intentions, bigger clients that pay more will get prioritized over you.
TIP: During negotiations, mention expectations for responses and turnaround times.
Can I Speak With People Who Have Worked With You In The Past?
Past behavior is indicative of future performance. Speaking with a consultant’s past clients will give you a sense of their quality, communication style, and work ethic. You’ll also unlock insights about how to maximize their full potential.
Don’t just speak to the references they provide. Use campaign finance data to find other campaigns they’ve worked with. Even if you decide to hire the firm despite negative feedback, you’ll have visibility into potential pitfalls.
What Is Your Strength? What Is Your Weakness?
There’s a lot that goes into your digital campaign. Digital touches fundraising, communications, voter contact, and paid media. It’s difficult for a single firm to focus on all of them at the same time, much less be experts.
Understanding their strengths and weaknesses gives you an overview of areas where there could be blindspots. If the agency excels at fundraising but their social media copywriting is bland, figure out how to shift responsibilities internally.
Who Will My Campaign Be Working With Day To Day? Are There Others On Your Team?
For larger digital agencies, the person that pitches you won’t be the person you work with day-to-day. Ask to meet the team who will so you can understand how the pieces fit together.
Conversely, in a smaller firm, there may not be any redundancy if someone is out sick, has an emergency, changes jobs, or any other unpredictable life events. Get to know their backup plan.
Your digital campaign consultant or agency is a critical partner and finding the right one is a big decision. These questions can help you get the best fit possible.