Grab a fork.
You’re about to pick a marketing agency.

Your organization, your business, your product is your baby. And you’re about to hand off its future to a group of people you barely know. You’ve had an initial meeting or two, sure. You’ve perused a portfolio, took a tour of an office and shook hands with the President and Creative Director. But how to decide if a marketing agency is right for you? It’s awfully similar to baking a cake. (What can we say? We like cake.)

Pick a Flavor

Just as there’s a cake to suit every taste (we’re partial to chocolate) there’s an agency to suit every client. Do you prefer the reach of a large shop or the personal touch of a boutique marketing agency? A firm that believes creative comes first or one that touts “Strategy Rules”? Budget, scope of work and even your previous experiences will also shape what appeals to you. But don’t think too hard about it. Your first craving is usually the right one.

Gather Your Ingredients

Of course it’s impossible to know how an agency would sell your wares before spending a significant amount of time with you in the trenches. But there are cues that can give you a hint to future performance. Ask to see examples of work for clients with similar needs. And spend a few minutes with each of the folks who’ll be doing the work for you. Get to know who’ll be in the mix.

Blend ‘em

This is when it all comes together. Put everything you learned into one bowl, and stir. Does the agency’s philosophy, credentials and expertise mesh with where you want to go? Or are there some lumps (i.e., red flags) that hint at a less-than-delicious partnership? When the chemistry between client and agency is right, bottom lines are more likely to rise.


Take some time to think about it. Don’t rush the decision—and don’t let an agency make you feel like you need to. But don’t wait too long, either. You’ll start to lose momentum and excitement and risk getting burned.


Tell your agency of choice the good news! Enjoy this new relationship with gusto, for the right agency/client match-up can bring you both sweet success.

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