5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Ad Agency 

5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Ad Agency 

When we visited this topic in our When Should I Hire an Agency post, we shared examples of when to consider hiring an agency to help achieve your business goals. Whether your needs fall under sales quotas, marketing strategy, social media presence, creative execution—or all the above—a working partnership with the right agency can be a game-changer.

So now that you’ve realized you need the help of marketing and advertising experts, where do you start?

We’ve rounded up some of the most common questions we hear from potential clients, with answers that can help you with your search.

1: How long have you been in business?

The number of years an agency has been in business is likely a strong indicator of its record of success. However, an even better gauge is proof. Successful agencies will have case studies and references available. Just ask.

A follow-up question is often “How big is your agency?”  Some agencies will have a smaller team full-time, and supplement with contractors if needed. Not a bad question to pose for clarification, but a better inquiry is whether you’ll have a dedicated account manager and team of experienced professionals working on your account. Don’t be shy about asking about their background and the skills they’ll bring to the table.

2: What are your strengths?

As new platforms, software and technologies become more prevalent in the marketing industry, it’s common to see new agencies crop up that specialize in specifics: digital, social media, influencer marketing, public relations, etc.

On the other end of the spectrum are more traditional end-to-end agencies with experience serving a client from the beginnings of a brand discovery through a full campaign that utilizes multiple mediums.

While your business goals can be an indicator of what type of agency would work best for you, keep in mind that the most effective marketing campaigns will utilize a combination of tactics. This means content, digital ads, videos, social media channels, traditional media, even supporting sales and service pieces should all support a consistent message—something only a full-service agency will be able to provide.

3: What is your experience working in my industry?

This may be the most important question you ask because both a “no” and a “yes” will have implications to consider.

An agency with no experience with your industry may be able to provide a fresh perspective. However, you’ll need to invest extra time getting them up to speed on understanding your business, customers, lingo, etc.

An agency that has experience working in your industry will be able to hit the ground running, but are the potential conflicts of interest that may arise? Is the agency currently also working with your biggest competitor?

You’ll need to determine which pros and cons are important to you.

4: How will you measure the success of my campaign?

This is where your answers matter too. As you begin searching for an agency, you’ll need to know how you envision success. Sharing clear objectives up front with a potential agency is essential. As much as they would like your business, they’re also measuring their strengths against what you want to accomplish.

A good agency will define key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics they’ll use in measuring the tactics of your campaign. A successful agency knows demonstrating a clear ROI is essential. Again, ask for case studies and references as proof of success.

5: What are your company’s values?

An advertising agency with your best interests in mind will see themselves as part of your team. That means being proactive to reaching your goals and having a shared vision, not just doing the bare minimum, and putting out fires.

A company hires an employee based on whether they fit within the company culture, and it’s no different when you’re hiring an agency. Don’t choose an agency based on name recognition or size. Rather, view the agency as a partner and choose one that best aligns with your own values. You’ll find that being on the same track with fundamentals will be the foundation for a successful partnership.

Is it time to bring in the professionals to help you achieve your goals? We can help—and provide all the answers to your questions. Contact us today and let’s get started. 

David Morton is JWM’s Co-Founder, Co-Owner, President of Marketing Services and wrangler of new biz, branding and strategic direction.

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