How to Choose The Right Marketing Agency - A Checklist

Posted by Neil Persaud on November 30th, 2015

Time and time again, I’m often presented with client horror stories about their previous relationship with agencies, such as: “We were working with a developer and all of a sudden we can’t get in touch with them” or “You guys are all the same! You promise to deliver traffic and increase my digital presence, but it leads to no conversions or sales.” Or my favourite, “Wow, that’s so expensive! I can get this done cheaper somewhere else.”

Well, contrary to popular belief, not all agencies are created equal and it’s unfortunate that some fly by night agencies give the rest of us a bad name.  But, we welcome the challenge… in fact, we embrace it.  Like anything else in life, you pay for what you get and this is no different when it comes to choosing the right agency to represent you in today’s marketplace.

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The client-agency relationship is simply just that… a relationship.  Whether it’s a love-hate relationship, a win-win relationship or a long-term relationship, choosing the right agency is a fundamentally important decision towards achieving your desired results and maximizing your ROI.

In today’s marketplace, there are so many options to choose from and if you’re reading this post, you’re doing your due diligence and background check to ensure you’re making the right decision to partner with an agency in the first place.

marketing questionsDoes this sound familiar?

Are you strapped for time?

Can’t seem to get all the items on your marketing wish list completed?  

Do you find it difficult to create a structured marketing campaign?  

Is your sales funnel filled with more “tire-kickers” then actual pre-qualified leads?

Not quite sure how to integrate your marketing plan?


Below is an outline of the SURROUND attributes and a good benchmark or check-in when exploring possible agencies to work with.

STRATEGIC – What problem(s) are you faced with?  Are you finding that you have a common, recurring situation that can’t be solved?  Are you finding it increasingly difficult to fill your sales funnel?  Your future agency should be methodical with their approach and incorporate a sound strategic plan to successfully execute your campaign.  When meeting with possible suitors be sure to plant a seed during the discovery process – their responses should provide you with some insight towards achieving future success.

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UNIFIED – An integrated agency combines traditional marketing with digital competencies.  Your project and/or account manager should initiate a collaborative and consultative brainstorming session with key subject matter specialists and all team members involved with your account should have a clear and concise understanding towards your goals and objectives.   

RETURN On Advertising Spend – Any agency should be able to provide you with real-time metrics and reporting on the effectiveness of your campaign performance.  Creating amounts of revenue generated from your advertising investment is easily calculated by dividing revenue earned by revenue spent on your advertising campaign.  Find an agency with openly transparent reporting metrics that identify exactly how and where each and every dollar is being spent.  Better yet, find an agency that invests your money as though it was their own! 

blog google rankingRANKINGS – When you’re using Google as your primary search tool, it’s critical that you work with an agency that has a firm understanding of SEO – Search Engine Optimization and the relevance of Content Marketing. Instead of seeking out different companies to coordinate different tasks, find an integrated marketing agency that can do both well.   

ORGANIZED – When you have a variety of projects running simultaneously there’s an increasing chance that the agency and/or account managers may accidently forget a critical component or task.  Be sure that your agency of choice provides you with a detailed schedule that outlines key deliverables to ensure your campaign will be on-time and on-budget.  If you find that certain aspects of your campaign get left by the wayside, you might need to inquire about their process or perhaps explore the opportunity of introducing smaller projects first to determine if everything runs smoothly. 

URGENCY – Due to unforeseen circumstances, you may find that your marketing and advertising campaign requires adjustments or immediate changes to reflect the demands of your customers.  It’s critical that your chosen agency be proactive and responsive to your ever changing needs.  If you find that your agency is too structured or not willing or able to work with you to redesign your marketing plan… it might be time to find a new agency.

NON-STOP – Your agency should be innovative.  As an extension of your marketing team, they should be introducing new concepts and ideas that will differentiate you from the competition.  If you’ve been working with an agency and they’ve become stagnate with their ideas and possibilities, it may be a good time to shop around.  Often, some agencies take their clients needs and working relationship for granted.  If you find that you need to ask them for their insights or new direction from time to time, they may be putting another client’s needs before yours.  Regardless of your spend with your agency, your needs should be priority #1.

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DETERMINED – Don’t settle or make your agency selection based on price.  The proof is in the deliverables. Price is what you pay, but value is what you get!  Be sure to evaluate the metrics and work that’s been done, when and where applicable.  Ask for examples or samples of work, references and when researching existing clients, ask them what makes this agency different and why they choose to partner with them, look for testimonials from their clients.

When you’ve finally selected a short list of possible agencies be sure to have all the boxes checked off on your wish list.  In the end, it’s about partnering with an agency that understands your needs and is willing to work with you to help accomplish them efficiently.