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5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Marketing Agency

Megan Oosthuizen |5 min Read

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Marketing Agency

Did you know that 63% of marketers say their biggest content challenge is driving traffic and generating leads? That's where a marketing agency can help.

Choosing the right agency is not as simple as ordering takeout; it's about finding a strategic partner who understands your vision, audience, and goals.

Before you jump into any agency partnerships, ask yourself these 5 crucial questions:

1. What’s Your Destination? (aka Your Business Goals)

Before you can even think about hiring a marketing agency, you need to know where you want to go. What’s the big picture for your business? This is about more than just vague hopes and dreams - it’s about setting concrete goals that will drive real results. 

  1. What do you want to achieve with this partnership? Do you want to increase website traffic? Generate more leads? Boost brand awareness? Be specific!
  2. How do these goals fit into my larger business strategy? Your marketing strategy should be a key part of your overall business strategy, not just an afterthought.
  3. What’s the ETA? We all want instant results, but successful marketing takes time and strategic planning. Set realistic deadlines for achieving your goals – and be prepared to adjust your course along the way.

2. What’s in Your Toolkit? (aka Services Needed)

You wouldn't build a house with just a hammer, would you? The same goes for hiring a marketing agency. Before you start interviewing agencies, take stock of your marketing toolkit. Do you have all the tools you need, or are there some gaps that need filling?

  1. Need the whole toolbox or just a few key tools? Figure out if you need a comprehensive marketing strategy overhaul or if you're better off with specialized services like SEO, PPC, content marketing, or social media management.
  2. Short-term project or long-term collaboration? Is this a quick campaign, or are we building something bigger? Short-term project or long-term collaboration? Defining the scope of your needs will help you find an agency that's the right fit.
  3. What areas of marketing are you currently struggling with? Be honest with yourself (and the agency!) about your weaknesses. Are you struggling to get your website seen? Is your content falling flat? Look for an agency with a proven track record of success in the areas where you need the most help.

3. How Do You Measure Success? (aka Defining Success)

Unlike a pressure cooker, you can't just set it and forget it. You need to constantly track your progress, measure your results, and make adjustments along the way. And that means defining what success looks like before you start working with an agency.

  1. What does success look like to you? Is it a specific number of website visits? A surge in social media engagement? A flood of qualified leads? Get crystal clear on your definition of success, and make sure the agency is on board with measuring the metrics that matter most to your business.
  2. How often will you get a progress report? Demand transparency and accountability. Don't settle for vague promises or fluffy reports filled with vanity metrics. Insist on regular performance updates that provide actionable insights.
  3. What tools are in their arsenal? Does the marketing agency use industry-standard tools for analytics, SEO, social media management, email marketing, etc.? Understanding their toolkit gives you insights into their capabilities and how they measure success. 

4. What’s Their Roadmap? ( aka Agency Process)

Every agency has its own unique way of getting things done. Think of it as their operational style. Do they take a data-driven approach or are they more creatively driven? Are they highly structured or more flexible? Before signing on the dotted line, it's essential to lift the hood and understand how the agency operates.

  1. How do they navigate the journey? Get a clear understanding of their approach to strategy development, project management, and (crucially) communication. Finding an agency whose approach aligns with your working style is key.
  2. Who's your guide? Ensure you have a dedicated account manager or point of contact who knows your business inside and out and will be your advocate within the agency.
  3. How involved will you be? Clarify your level of involvement and how they'll keep you in the loop. Do you prefer hands-on collaboration or regular progress reports? Set clear expectations upfront to avoid any surprises down the road.

5. Are They the Right Fit? (aka Brand Alignment)

You can have the best roadmap in the world, but if you and your agency aren't speaking the same language, you're going to hit some serious roadblocks. This final step is all about making sure there's a true fit between your brand and their approach.

  1. Do they get your brand? It's not enough for a marketing agency to be good at marketing - they need to understand your brand identity, your target audience, and what makes your business unique.
  2. Have they explored this territory before? Experience in your industry can be a major plus, but it's not the be-all and end-all. A willingness to learn, a passion for your industry, and a commitment to staying ahead of the curve can be just as valuable.
  3. Is there good synergy? This is about more than just checking boxes – it's about finding an agency whose communication style, work ethic, and company culture mesh well with yours.

Final Thoughts