10 Key Questions to Ask Before Hiring A Marketing Agency

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Marketing has always been a vital element of business strategy. But in today’s competitive world, it’s more critical than ever. To win market share and grow to new heights of success, you must be at the top of your marketing game.

The best way to accomplish this is to hire a specialist agency to help. That way, you let true professionals increase revenues and profit, leaving you free to concentrate on running the overall business.

But with thousands of marketing agencies to choose from, picking the right one for your business can be challenging. The decision can mean the difference between tepid growth and knocking things out of the park—so it’s essential to get this right.

How to hire a marketing agency

As a marketing broker, I have considerable experience working with digital agencies. I match client companies with the right marketing partners and have learned a lot about what makes these deals work.

Based on this expertise, here are the key factors that can make or break. this type of business relationship

1. Evaluate the team

Not all marketing agencies are created equal, so it’s important to understand the team you are dealing with. Some will be boutique agencies with less than a dozen staff, while others may have hundreds of employees.

Both large and small firms can be highly effective, but you need to understand what your partner offers. So find out:

  • How many people are on the staff
  • How they are broken down into teams

What each team focuses on

2. Look for red flags

While most agencies do an excellent job for their clients, it’s important to be aware of possible danger signals. Spotting these early on can save you a lot of problems further down the track.

For example, some smaller agencies rely heavily on the efforts of one star performer, such as an exceptionally talented designer. If that person leaves, it may leave a significant gap in the agency’s capabilities.

So take the time to evaluate the team, ensuring it’s balanced and able to service your account regardless of future changes.

3. Ask about their workload

You also need to understand the firm’s ability to service your account. For example, if you need to ramp up quickly, are there enough staff on hand to do the job?

Many agencies will use a mix of full-time staff plus contractors and freelancers. This gives them more room to adapt to changing client demands. Take the time to investigate and ensure the agency is a good fit for your needs in this respect.

4. Discuss communications

Clear communication between you and your marketing partner is crucial, but there are different ways to handle this.

Some agencies will give you direct access to each team member, so you can discuss matters directly with SEO consultants, social media experts, etc. Others may allocate a dedicated manager who becomes your only point of contact.

Both approaches work, but you must choose the one that works best for you. Consequently, it’s important to know you’ll get the right kind of communication.

5. Consider culture

Each agency will have its own culture and way of doing things. Naturally, this needs to be aligned with how you see the world. When hiring a marketing agency, look for one that reflects your view of the world.

In larger agencies, teams are likely to be more fluid. People will quickly rotate in and out of teams, bringing fresh ideas and inspiration.

On the other hand, smaller agencies have the advantage of offering more stability. The founder may still have a hands-on role, keeping teams close-knit and efficient. In addition, this approach means the agency can offer a more personal approach, which can work to your advantage.

6. Decide on flexibility

Another important choice you need to make is flexibility versus efficiency. Some agencies aim to be highly efficient, following clearly-defined systems and best practices. While this has many benefits, it can also make teams somewhat rigid.

Other agencies take a more casual approach, emphasizing flexibility over efficiency. These firms may suit you better if you need a more creative approach, with fluid campaigns that change over time.

7. Choose between specialists and generalists

Some agencies narrow down on one aspect of marketing, such as:

  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Email marketing
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Influencer marketing

This option may work well for you if you want to focus on one type of campaign. However, other agencies take a more integrated approach, offering a broad range of services. The advantage here is that the agency can create a campaign that draws on various methods to create the greatest marketing impact.

8. Review their own marketing

An old saying tells us, “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” The same principle can apply to marketing. Agencies are not always great at blowing their own trumpet.

It’s reasonable to expect an agency to present itself professionally, demonstrating expertise in its own marketing. Though a lot of the best agencies don’t focus on their own marketing as they are constantly getting referrals. So its important to speak to people who’ve had experiences with those agencies.

9. Compare costs

Hiring a marketing consultancy will inevitably involve a significant investment. So, you must ensure the agency fees align with your budget and expectations.

Large firms in big cities may seem appealing, but their services will likely come with fancy price tags attached. Remember that in addition to fees and commissions, you will need to cover the cost of buying media, creating content, and more.

So before you get too involved in agency discussions, ensure that you have ballpark figures for the costs involved.

10. Get independent advice

It should be clear by now that hiring a marketing agency is a complex decision. There are many factors to consider and thousands of agencies to evaluate. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the complexity.

One way to cut through the confusion is to work with a marketing broker. That way, you get independent advice, combined with a wealth of expertise in making marketing work.

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What’s next?

Now that you know a little more about the art and science of personal branding, the next step is for you to put what you’ve learned into practice and to start developing your own personal brand. The good news is that with the insights we’ve shared today, you’re in the perfect position to get started.

Of course, if you’re still struggling with personal branding, there’s nothing wrong with bringing in some outside help. For example, we can match you up with an agency that can help you to develop a visual and written brand identity and creative assets like logos and websites.

We specialise in helping to connect clients and agencies, acting as the middle man so that you can find the services that you need at an affordable price point. And so if that sounds like something that you’d be interested in, be sure to get in touch! We look forward to speaking to you.

Written By
Picture of Behdad Jamshidi
Behdad Jamshidi
Behdad Jamshidi started CJAM Marketing after realizing that most business owners don’t know how to evaluate the value of a marketing agency or assess their own needs. Since every business is different not only in their needs but where they are at in the growth process, it isn’t a one size fits all. In the past 5 years, Behdad (or Bee) has met with and assessed 800+ marketing agencies and vetted them down to a lean 100 preferred partners across all marketing niches. After pairing hundreds of businesses with the right partners, he’s found his skillset lies in the matchmaking process. Featured in MarketWatch, Bloomberg, National Post and the Financial Post, Bee’s unique background in marketing, engineering, consulting, leadership, sales and strategy, has allowed him to serve as the conduit between business owners and the marketing teams they need.
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