8 Questions to ask your potential marketing agency BEFORE you sign anything

If you’re looking for a marketing agency in Melbourne or Sydney, you’ve got a lot of choice.

There are the big multi-nationals, plenty of digital in-betweeners and a few plucky little agencies who serve their niches well (like us!).

So the question becomes not ‘who’s the best?’, but ‘who’s the best for me?’.

Let us help you make the right choice.

Here are a few questions you need to be asking any digital marketing or creative agency you think you might like to work with. They can dazzle you with a fancy office or a comped lunch, but there’s no hiding from these 8 grenades. Write them on your hand and don’t leave the room until you’ve had them all answered.

  1. Who will be my main point of contact day-to-day?

We’ve seen it plenty (and it’s happened to us in past lives) – the boss or creative director nails the pitch, then handballs you to a rookie and escapes up the tunnel.

It’s obviously unrealistic to deal with the business owner for every interaction – and having youth on your case can be a good thing – but you want to know there’ll be a senior marketer frequently looking at your account.

  1. What do your clients like about working with you?

A good agency should be proud of the feedback they get from their clients.

And if they’re a good agency, they’ll have had plenty of good feedback.

The trick is to read between the lines and decide whether that’s what you’re looking for. Just because a marketing agency is well reviewed, doesn’t mean you’ll like it.

  1. How do you manage projects?

Before you start a working relationship with an agency, you need to know what project management processes and systems they have in place. It’s really important that they gel with yours because it’s inevitable that you’ll end up using some of them.

It also needs to be scalable. If they’re a good agency they’ll be very busy, which puts the pressure on their workflow.

So – check how they do the following:

  • Project management (we use Monday.com because we find it really easy to keep on track and share stuff with clients)
  • File sharing/hosting (we use Dropbox)
  • Document editing (we use Google Drive as it doesn’t require any software download for clients)
  • Time tracking – do they know how long things take, or are they just guesstimating your quotes and invoices?
  1. How is your team structured?

There are many different ways to structure a creative agency. They all have their strong points, but one will suit your company best.

Most have full-time employees, plus a few contractors and maybe a partnership with other (specialised) marketing businesses. It’s important to know which aspects of your work will be handled in-house and which will be outsourced. Also, it’s good to know where your agency’s suppliers are located.

If their team is in different places, ask how can they’ll ensure your projects will be handled collaboratively and delivered on time.

  1. What do you do to keep your team’s skills current?

Marketing changes almost daily. You need to know that your people are going to keep up.

If you find an agency that regularly sends its employees to courses, great; if you find one that does its own experimenting, even better.

  1. Do you specialise in specific industries?

This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker – after all, you wouldn’t expect your agency to know more about your industry than you do. With some industries, though, it helps to have some experience – especially when dealing with regulation or peculiarities.

  1. Are you working with any businesses that compete with mine?

Again, not always a deal breaker, but a potential issue. Some agencies don’t work with competitors as a rule. Clients can (understandably) see it as conflict of interest, but it can also be a good thing to specialise (especially if you’re in one of those tricky industries from question six).

  1. Why do you want me as a client?

This is a cheeky question to test they’ve bothered to do their research.

Ideally, you’re looking for them to have a good base knowledge of what you do and why you do it, and an idea of the direction they see your digital marketing strategy taking.

Another point to consider…

When you’re picking an agency it’s important to differentiate between those that make you feel good and those that will do good for you.

Do they just nod their heads and do what you ask for, proclaiming you a genius of marketing? Or do they provide advice based on what they think is best for your business?

Yes, you want an agency that’s easy to deal with – but there’s little to be gained from a supplier that just follows your instructions. You want them to disagree with you (if needed) and come up with ideas and campaigns you haven’t requested to get the best result for your business and budget.

Like this? Want to know more? We’re The Marketing Project, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne. Get in touch here.