Today, James and Sarah discuss how to get one of your most important business service provider decisions right — choosing a marketing agency.

Whether it’s a PR firm, an advertising company, a content marketing agency or any other communications supplier, what questions should you ask before you sign on the bottom line?

Here are some key take-outs:

  • Not all agencies do everything. The first thing you have to figure out is whether you’re actually working with the right agency. Your historical supplier might not be your best possible partner.
  • If you need a specialist service, make sure your agency actually specialises in those areas — rather than having an “add-on” service they don’t actually have all that much experience in.
  • If you want to keep your existing agency, find someone to collaborate with to provide those specialist skills your current supplier doesn’t have.
  • Ask whom you’ll be working with on a daily basis. Who is the team? You can even ask how long employees tend to stay in their agency? If they move on quite quickly, you might spend a lot of time repeating yourself or getting inconsistent work. And do they outsource?
  • Ask to see examples of the work the agency has done for people in your industry.
  • Have success and failure metrics for your project from the outset. That’s why you should always start with a strategy. Be sure to tell your agency what your actual goal is and make sure the KPIs reflect those goals, not vanity metrics like page views or likes.
  • Make sure you can get on with them. Meet with them regularly.
  • Don’t let your decision only come down to price. Understand the pricing structure, sure, but think closely about the relationship, their experience, and what their referees told you about them.
  • And, finally, are they doing it for themselves? Ask to see what they’re doing in their own space. If they’re selling you blogs and they’re not writing blogs on their own site, that should ring alarm bells.


On My Desk

Have you heard the one about…

Recently the team looked at how virtual reality was changing marketing.


And here’s a discussion about low-cost options for marketing start-ups.

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