Questions to Ask When Hiring a Marketing Agency

Are you considering hiring a marketing agency but don’t know where to start?

Through my experience working with agencies and clients, I know that not all will be the best fit, even if they look good on paper. It’s just like hiring individual candidates: sometimes you don’t know until you work together for a while.

However, there are things you can do when you are hiring a marketing agency to help you select the best of the best. Sometimes these can come in the form of referrals, but even so, you need to put a little work in at the start to ensure that it’s a good fit.

Here’s a list of questions that I hope will help any organization understand the type of exploration they need to do when hiring a marketing agency.

I can help you find the best agency fit and get the most value out of your marketing agency—please reach out if you’d like more information!

10 Questions to Ask When Hiring A Marketing Agency

1. How Would You Describe Your Ideal Agency Partner?

When you hire an ad agency, it may seem obvious that you want to find one already experienced in your niche/industry.

But there’s more to it than this. Some topics you’ll want to inquire about include:

  • Whether your ideal agency understands current trends as they might relate to sales goals or other important metrics
  • Do they have case studies involving businesses in similar industries?
  • Who are some examples of previous clients they’ve had?
  • Who are their favourite clients, and how can you become one?
  • What do they prioritize in relationships?
  • What are the agency’s values? How do they fit with your company”s values?

You may want to check in with other clients and get first-hand references.

2. Which Agency Specializations Matter to You?

When you are hiring a marketing agency, you may be tempted to hire one with a specific type of background.

Consider basing your search around not only an agency that has experience in your field but also in the facet of marketing that you want to focus deeply on.

Do these people excel at video marketing, or are you looking for someone to take on smaller marketing tasks over a longer period of time?

You may be tempted to hire an agency that claims they can do everything, but often there will be at least a subset of specialties. For instance, they may be stronger at SEO and web design or stand out with visuals and video.

At the same time, they should be well-rounded enough to tackle most basic marketing activities, especially if you are undergoing a big change, such as a major rebrand.

3. Is the Ad Agency A Good Cultural Fit for Your Business and Why?

When hiring an ad agency, it’s important to look beyond just whether they have the skills and strengths to carry out your desired goals. You will be working with them for quite a while, so make sure that it’s a good fit culturally. Check in about their values, approach, and work styles, and make sure that each team will be well-matched as well.

4. How do They Stay on Top of Changing/Evolving Trends?

Marketing today involves so many elements that it can be challenging to stay on top of what’s most important.

SEO (search engine optimization) is a perfect example of this. Though it may seem like an obvious term, Google’s algorithms are constantly changing, which most people in the digital marketing field need to stay on top of to get the best results for their clients.

5. How Does the Agency Typically Solve Creative Problems Or Roadblocks?

The best agencies will be able to tackle tricky situations and problems in a clear and proactive way.

They’ll be clear about their recommendations but still, be open to finding solutions from you. Your organization should look for an agency that understands how to solve problems and is willing to take the lead, but you must also give them the reins to do so.

In this vein, hiring a marketing agency isn’t just about telling someone what to do. You will need to hire someone you trust to handle confidential information and work on your behalf.

6. How Does the Agency Typically Move Through the Project Approval Process?

A common issue with agencies is that it can take time to obtain approval from multiple leaders within their client organization.

When hiring an agency for long-term collaboration, make sure you are clear about who makes the final decisions and how the agency ensures that all collaborators are consulted.

7. How Does the Agency Approach Project Management?

It may seem obvious that you want to hire an ad agency with a solid reputation for great project management, but how can you tell that this is true?

Here are some questions to help you understand the ad agency’s project management style:

  • How does the agency ensure that projects are done on time?
  • What project management tools and software do they use?
  • How often do they typically meet with their clients?
  • What are the agency’s preferred methods of meetings and other communication?

8. What’s the Agency’s Process for Generating New Ideas?

Hiring a marketing agency is about collaborating with creative experts.

Your ad agency is there to lead the creative process and develop your marketing communications. It’s their job to come up with new ideas and innovate. But over time, there can be glitches, and sometimes the creative well can run dry.

A good agency should have a pre-set process that they use and keep their team motivated and productive.

9. How Does the Agency Exchange And Incorporate Client Feedback?

Do you and your team have specific processes in place to give and receive feedback with your ad agency?

An ad agency worth its weight should be on top of its game when it comes to both giving and receiving feedback from clients. They should understand when to heed the advice and when to push back in the interest of specific project goals.

Agencies and clients should both place a high value on transparent and constructive feedback and have processes in place for this.

10. Who is the Team Assigned to My Business?

Understanding how the ad agency team is structured will help you coordinate and plan. Knowing that you have people with the appropriate skills and experience will help you determine which responsibilities you can delegate to the agency and which tasks should remain with the in-house marketing team. Who is on staff at the agency, and who is freelance?. You want the right combination on the team to ensure you have team members who know your business, and a team who are agile and able will help if there are tight turnarounds or last-minute revisions.

Let’s Improve Your Client-Agency Relationships Together

I leverage my agency and marketing experience to help clients manage their agency relationships.

I have a proven track record of helping organizations find their best match ad agency and can help you with marketing planning, coaching, and more.

Save your money, and don’t make the mistake of hiring the wrong fit. The wrong match could cost you more time and money than you imagined.

Contact me today to learn more about how I can help.

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