10 Questions to Ask During Your Search for an Advertising Agency

10 Questions to Ask During Your Search for an Advertising Agency

High angle view of group of people sitting at the conference table, discussing, brainstorming. Digital tablets, smart phones, notebooks, coffees on the table. Unrecognizable people.

Does your company or organization fall into one of these two categories?

  • You are looking to go through a complete rebranding process.
  • You are considering increasing your marketing efforts by hiring an advertising agency.
  • You are not happy with your current marketing firm and want to see a change.

If this describes your situation, chances are you on the hunt for a new advertising agency. And it is crucial to choose the right partner that will give you the best return on investment.

When you begin the vetting process, your team will probably come up with tons of requirements and questions that you want to ask. Just remember, the most important topics to discuss during the RFP process are those that will matter to your brand’s success.

If you are having a hard time figuring out where to start, here are some important questions that can guide the initial conversation:

1. Who are some of their previous clients?

While not necessary, it is nice to see proven results from past clients within your industry. On the other hand, a versatile agency can be beneficial because the account team will be experienced in reaching consumers using different tactics. It is also important to make sure that the agency is currently not working with any of your direct competitors to avoid conflict of interest.

2. How will the agency measure the success and ROI of the marketing budget?

It can take months to test what works and then amplify these results, but the agency needs to be able to demonstrate success in numbers that stakeholders outside of the marketing department can easily understand – leads, customers and revenue.

3. Is the agency a one-stop-shop for all of your marketing needs or does it specialize in one area?

Every agency is better at some things than others, so you’ll want to have a good idea of what your company needs to accomplish to make sure it’s a good fit. Ask about their capabilities in web design and development, branding, digital and inbound marketing, copywriting, video, SEO, PR and social media marketing strategy. Depending on your needs, you may be okay with their strengths and weaknesses.

4. How much of the work will be outsourced?

Will the agency outsource any capabilities that it does not specialize in and, if so, how will those projects be managed? Will your team have direct communications with the third party vendor or will everything go through the agency.

5. Does the account team that will be working on your account fit with your company’s culture?

The relationship that you have with your account team is crucial. It is important that you feel confident in the experience and expertise of the people responsible for your success. Think about the qualities you look for in a new employee and evaluate your account team in the same way.

6. What planning and strategy exercises will be required to get the account team up to speed?

Understand how client on-boarding works and how the agency will ensure that its account team will completely understand your business and competitive environment.

7. How do you plan to execute digital marketing differently than our current approach?

There is a reason why you are looking for a new agency. Your team needs a change instead of the same old thing that didn’t work. The digital agency you choose should be able to present a brand new approach to achieve your goals.

8. How frequently will we meet to discuss current and future initiatives?

Talk with your team and determine how often you would like to check-in with your agency. Some teams require a daily meeting during a major project, while others meet weekly or bi-weekly. It really depends on your comfort level. As far as the meeting happening in-person or over the phone, make your wishes clear to the agency to make sure they accommodate your needs.

9. How available will I have to be?

One of the main reasons that you are looking to partner with an agency is because there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Be clear in the amount of time you can give an agency for questions, status updates, meetings, etc. If you cannot be available for approving designs and project plans, think about the person on your team who could be in charge of this to ensure that deadlines are met.

10. What is included in the monthly retainer?

Each agency/client relationship is different. Make sure you are clear about what work will fit in the monthly retainer or project fee. It will be extremely helpful to know what to expect so that your project stays in scope, and there are no surprises down the road.

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