We get it, you’re busy. Especially if you’ve decided it’s time to hire a marketing agency. Whether your in-house team needs some extra support or you’re looking to start a campaign from scratch, an agency can free up your time, optimize your marketing dollars, and lend expertise to offset your knowledge gaps.
In our experience, you don’t need “40 Questions to Ask a Marketing Agency” to see if an agency will be a good fit for your project. About five will do the trick.
1. What Sets You Apart From Your Competitors?
It may feel strange to start the conversation by bringing up competitors, but asking what makes someone unique tells you a lot about them. Is it their skillset? Values? Process? Team structure?
If the initial answer is peppered with marketing speak you’ve already seen on their website, you can follow up with more specific questions about their top five capabilities, the skillsets of the people on the team, or their experience working with organizations like yours. Don’t be afraid to ask for specifics! And if they can’t provide any, this might be the first indication they aren’t the right fit.
Our greatest strength lies in our passionate, experienced staff. We’re polymaths who love to create and seek a deeper understanding of how things work. We can design a unique visual brand, figure out why your Google ads aren’t getting conversions, or create a marketing strategy to reach your specific audience. (We can also offer gardening advice, recommend the best chocolate chip cookie in town, give taekwondo pointers, troubleshoot your knitting project, or discuss D&D at length.)
2. How Have You Evolved Over the Last 10 Years?
Technology constantly changes how we communicate, which changes how we bring our marketing messages to the world. Your marketing partner should be able to speak to how they keep up with trends and evolve their best practices to serve clients like you.
You can use this question to gauge how the marketing agency has kept up with changing tech and if they have the skill set to help your business thrive in a changing digital world. Tailor this question to address hurdles you might have, like marketing automation, SEO, or ChatGPT.
We’ve always been a communications company at heart, even if the mediums we use to communicate have changed since 1993. Whether we’re running 500 remote-controlled VHS duplication machines (a first in West Michigan in the 90s!) or offering branding, digital advertising, or content writing (and more!), we stay at the top of our game so we can help clients reach their goals. (And yes, we have strong feelings about automated ad recommendations and AI content!)
3. Can You Share Project Examples or Case Studies That Demonstrate Measurable Results?
This question usually marks a turning point in the meeting. Will the agency be able to back up their claims with real examples and data points? Think of this as the “tell me about a project that went well” question you might ask in an employee interview. Follow up with clarifying questions about what went according to plan or challenges the team worked through. Then, ask to see measurable results, like increased time on page, higher ad conversion rates, or a growing list of ranking keywords.
Data helps us do our jobs better, which is why we love it so much! We measure everything we can and compare metrics to specific goals and established benchmarks to track performance and identify areas to improve. Projects in our portfolio include measurable results, including a digital campaign for a local senior living community who wanted to get the word out about their expansion. We reached 3.8 million people and had an 11.3% conversion rate for Google ads.
4. Who Is Your Ideal Client, and Why?
Just like hiring an in-house employee, you want to bring on a marketing agency with the skills and values that align with your own. This question is an opportunity to understand an agency’s culture and what kinds of relationships they thrive on. Hearing the team talk through both kinds of examples is another litmus test for how you’ll work together in the future.
We typically work with small- to medium-sized businesses in the Midwest. Many of our clients are in West Michigan. Our ideal client is one who is passionate about their niche service but could use a hand telling the world how great they are. We specialize in a range of marketing services and we love working with clients who need more than one.
5. How Will You Come Up to Speed With My Business and Industry?
If the meeting has gone well so far, this final question will help you envision what the next step might look like. How quickly can the agency come on board? Do they sound excited about collaborating and learning about your business? If you want more particulars, you can ask them to outline the first 60-90 days of your partnership and if there are specific onboarding activities they prefer to do.
Our onboarding process reflects on your marketing plan.
We like to get our team and yours in the same room for a kickoff meeting. We’ll go over the activities outlined in the statement of work and discuss responsibilities, next steps, and a timeline. If we’re tackling a complex project like a brand update or new website, we’ll go into even more detail with a stakeholder workshop. Our main goal during these meetings is to get to know you and establish a framework for how we’re going to work toward your goals.
And we love learning about niche industries. The more specialized the better! Whether you provide credentialing services for career and technical education (CTE), personalized wealth management, or want to revolutionize the coil steel industry, we dive into researching and interviewing subject matter experts without hesitation.
Ready to Hire Us Yet?
With these five questions in your pocket, you’re ready to interview potential marketing agencies and come away with the information you need to decide if they will be a good fit.
Do you have other questions about our services? Drop us a line! We’d love to talk about how we can help you.