25 Essential Questions to Ask Your Marketing Agency

Maximize Marketing Value

How can you get the most value from your marketing partners?

Gartner, Inc. has reported new research showing that 50% of CMO’s digital marketing is outsourced (U.S. Digital Marketing Spending Survey). This represents a significant investment in outside resources.

With average marketing spending sitting at just over 10% of revenues and marketing budgets forecast to increase 6% in 2013, agencies – especially digital agencies – represent a huge investment.

Will Your Agency Deliver?

To get and keep a competitive advantage, growing companies can’t afford to waste money on a marketing agency that doesn’t deliver. CMOs with broad marketing responsibility must oversee a lot of moving parts, including marketing technology, advertising, branding, digital strategies, and promotions.

Finding agencies that can work together to support your strategic objectives is essential, and a misstep can be costly.

Don’t Hire a Marketing Firm Without Asking This…

If you’re considering an agency change or are thinking about hiring a new marketing partner, here are several questions you should ask before making your decision.

  1. How much experience do you (or your team) have? Get details about agency or client-side experience and the various functions your prospective partners have held.
  2. What other firms (if any) are you working with in my industry? Are there any competitive relationships I should know about?
  3. Who will be doing the work on my account? I want to meet the people who will be on my team and make sure we see eye-to-eye.
  4. How often will I see my account executive and the principal(s) of the agency?
  5. What recent successes can you cite, with specific details about your firm’s contributions?
  6. Can you provide project examples and case studies that demonstrate measurable results?
  7. Do you use freelancers for client work? How often? What is their experience and skill level?
  8. How do you communicate with clients on progress and results? What tools and resources do you use to share information?
  9. Tell me about a project that didn’t work out, and what you did about it.
  10. When was the last time you lost an account? Why?
  11. In addition to current clients, can you provide a few former clients as references?
  12. What financial incentives do you have for products and services you may recommend? Do you get commissions or affiliate fees?
  13. What ongoing training do you provide for your staff? How do you ensure they stay current on the latest and greatest approaches?
  14. Are the “big names” on your client list companies you have worked with at this firm, or organizations your team has served or been employed by in the past?
  15. Who do I call if I have a problem? (Get the name and number of the person empowered to FIX issues.)
  16. What does your billing structure look like? Are there items that must be paid in advance? What are your payment terms?
  17. How do you bill for expenses? Is there a markup or are expenses invoiced at cost?
  18. For creative work, how much can I edit, review, or redirect work? Is there a limit on revisions?
  19. What do you consider a “rush” project? Are there additional fees for this? If so, how much?
  20. Describe the core values of your firm. How do they impact your clients?
  21. What will you do to get to know my business?
  22. Do you expect to reassess – or reinvent – my strategy?
  23. Who do you think should have creative control?
  24. What happens if I’m not happy with someone on the team?
  25. What do you look for in a successful client relationship?

Did I forget anything you would ask? Drop a note in the comments below.

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