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Creating a winning partnership

Seven questions to ask when hiring a creative agency

By Hannah Massen 

Finding the right creative agency for your business is as important as having the best attorney or financial planner. Whether you don’t have the time, or staff, to manage marketing, PR, and social media on your own, or you recognize the value of having experienced marketing professionals take over this part of your business to leave you to concentrate on the bigger tasks of growing your business, working with a creative agency is a proven way to help you reach – and exceed – your marketing goals.

But just like you wouldn’t hire a project manager without confirming that it’s just the right fit for your company, there are a few things you need to learn about the agency that you’ll be partnering with before you seal the deal.

Here are seven questions to ask when hiring a creative agency to confirm that it’s the right “fit” for your business and to ensure not only smooth sailing ahead but the creation of the perfect partnership.

  • Can you show me your case studies?  This simple yet effective question can help you decide whether this is the right agency for your business. Case studies not only show what kinds of clients the agency typically works with but also demonstrates their ability to follow through on creating brand experiences. Be sure to pay attention to the quality of their own website and social media feeds, too. 
  • What does your process look like?  Every agency is unique, but they should all have an established process for getting things done. Ask your agency to walk you through their entire creative process, from initial planning to materials production, and find out what they expect from you at each stage. 
  • What is your team’s experience level?  There are small, niche agencies with incredible staff and established corporations that hire entry-level freelancers. You won’t know whom you’re hiring until you ask. 
  • Who are some of your previous clients?  While not necessary, it is nice to see proven results from past clients within your industry. It is also important to make sure that the agency is currently not working with any of your direct competitors to avoid conflict of interest.
  • Who will be my point of contact?  There are a lot of moving parts involved in marketing. From strategy to web design, you will have a lot of different people doing a lot of different things. Hence, you need to identify the person who will be your go-to throughout the process. 
  • How do you plan to execute marketing differently than our current approach?  There’s a reason you’re hiring a new agency. Your team needs change instead of the same old thing that didn’t work, and the agency you hire should be able to present a new approach.
  • What will you need from us?  Whether it’s a necessity or a nice-to-have, your agency will likely be asking you for your input or business materials on a regular basis. They’ll appreciate you being an active and considerate partner, just like you’ll want the final word on every project.

Hiring an outside creative agency not only frees you up to ensure that you have the time needed to work on the “big picture” aspects of growing your business but will assure that you are getting fresh, creative ideas from experienced professionals who know what works, and what doesn’t, in marketing. The key is finding the right client-agency fit.

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