Choosing the right advertising agency is an important decision for any business. Making the wrong choice could result in lost time and money, lead to employee frustration, and could even damage the reputation of your business. With the right advertising agency in place, your projects should run more smoothly, with teams from both sides working together harmoniously. Your customers will be inspired by more impressive, professional campaigns, which will in turn influence how much they trust your ability to deliver quality products or services.

Preparation, Commitment and Cohesion
With so many advertising options to consider, it’s worth remembering that a well-respected advertising agency is more likely to offer a better return on your investment in the long run, because they can deliver more effective results over time. This is why it’s critical not to simply select the “cheapest” advertising agency, or the most “attractive-looking.”

As in any relationship, it takes commitment from both parties to achieve effective results. Many businesses make the mistake of being too detached from their advertising agency, when in fact the best results come from a more cohesive strategy. Make sure you are prepared to give the advertising agency enough of your time, and they will inevitably deliver better results that fulfill your specific requirements.

The Background Check
One advertising agency may lean toward social media strategies. Another may have more experience with TV campaigns. Ask what campaigns they have run in the past, and if they have had experience working with clients in your specific industry. Although this may be important, there may be an advantage in working with an advertising agency that has little knowledge of your business sector, but has proved they can be versatile and bring fresh ideas to the table.

A reputable advertising agency will have clients that can recommend their services. Does the agency display some impressive client testimonials? Who have they worked with in the past? Who are they working with now? Some agencies may even give you contact details of clients who would be happy to speak to you. Did the advertising agency meet their expectations? If you can’t ask specific clients, at least have a strong list of questions for the agency.

The Size of the Agency
An advertising agency may claim to be suitable for your needs, but what is the size of their client list? Do they represent companies much larger than yours? If so, are you in danger of being ignored? Or if you are a medium to large business, perhaps they don’t have the capacity to fully satisfy your requirements. Some agencies simply want to boost their own reputation. In other words, they need you more than you need them. As a general rule, an advertising agency that has a client list of companies similar in size to your own is probably more suitable. But if you’re not sure, just ask. The best agencies will be up front with you from the outset.

Do You Feel Comfortable?
Who will be the principal individuals working on your account? Speaking directly to these people will help you decide whether you’ll be comfortable working with them in the long term. You don’t necessarily have to really like the people you will be dealing with, but knowing you can work with them to get results is what matters. You should have a feeling for how they operate and how sympathetic they are to your needs. Are they really listening to your concerns about budget restrictions and time deadlines, for example? After talking to a number of people, you should recognize who you are best suited to working with.

Flexibility and the Future
If an advertising agency will write a detailed proposal of their advertising strategies for your business, at least you’ll have a good understanding of their style and how they could help your organization. They should demonstrate how much they understand your sector of the market, how they can help you compete against your rivals, and how they can continue to benefit your company in the long term. Companies that only offer certain service packages without negotiation may not be very cooperative in the future if your needs change.

If you have a shortlist of companies to choose from, find out how each advertising agency is willing to help you in the future. Perhaps one agency can offer extra services, or the prices seem more in line with your current budget levels. Whichever advertising agency you choose, make sure they have the potential to be simultaneously creative and strategic. Ultimately, a company that genuinely listens and understands your unique requirements will be the most suitable for your present needs.