5 Questions to Ask Your Next Advertising Agency


Welcome to 5Qs, a series highlighting the must-ask questions for a successful agency search. Let’s find your next advertising agency together.

Advertising agency

You have a great marketing plan. Congratulations! Now you have to execute, which probably involves some advertising. The number of advertising agencies has proliferated since the days of Mad Men, so how do you find the right one? You could take a gamble with Google, or you can try Agency Spotter. In a matter of seconds, you’ll see agencies that meet your search requirements. Once you have a shortlist, ask each one these five important questions:

1. How has your agency evolved over the past five years?

Your hairstyle has changed since 2009, right? Shouldn’t the same apply to your next agency? While digital seems to be pushing the industry frontier, technology and innovation has affected all aspects of advertising. Is this agency nimble? Open to integrating new technologies? Did they exist five years ago? These answers may tell you if they’ll be around in another five.

2. In which area of advertising does your company have the most expertise?

As a marketer, you know there are a lot of channels in which you can advertise your brand. Maybe your current advertising strategy isn’t getting the job done and you need a partner with strategic know-how. Do you want help with media planning, creative for a traditional campaign (i.e. print) or both? Would your ideal agency be experienced with online ad networks as well? Know what you really want or want to know from an advertising agency before they pitch you.

3. What is the average tenure of your clients?

No one wants to date someone who keeps getting dumped. The same goes for your advertising agency. Do yourself a favor and ask about relationship history. Does this agency turnover clients quickly? Maybe it’s because they take on short-term projects…or aren’t good at account management.

4. What unique tools does your agency have to help us reach our target demographic?

Let’s keep the cookie-cutter ad agencies in the kitchen. Give your brand a competitive advantage by selecting an advertising agency with skills aligned to your goals. “Tools” can be an award-winning creative team, partnerships with ad networks or proprietary techniques for reaching a certain customer type. In other words, what makes this agency special and how will that help your brand?

5. How will you specifically deliver value on this campaign?

Big picture, your goal as a marketer is to persuade people to choose your brand’s product or service over the competition’s. But the devil is in the details. Be specific with your ROI expectations in the RFP. Steer away from agencies that can’t clearly articulate how they will convert your advertising dollars into the results you want.

Find the Right Advertising Agency For You

With these five simple questions and Agency Spotter, starting a new, productive partnership with an advertising agency isn’t so hard. Your perfect agency is out there, we promise. Sign-up to find it!

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About Claire Wallace

Claire writes about strategy, insight, and advice to help inspire smart and savvy marketers. She completed her MBA at UMass-Amherst and has been a team member at City Sports, MIT, and an organic farm in Maine. A former student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin, Claire now runs marathons, for fun! On her bucket list is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, dining at Per Se, and running the beautiful trails in New Zealand.