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What to Look for in
a Marketing Agency

Selecting a marketing agency to partner with can be a tricky task. The role of any great marketing agency is to build cohesive and effective brands, bringing them closer to their customers and audience, and help drive sales through awareness. While most agencies promise to do this, only some are able to do it effectively. The checklist of ten items below will give you a better idea of what to look for during your search for the perfect agency. After all, brands have a lot of marketing agencies to choose from when it comes to finding a company to represent and build their brand. What makes sense for your business and who will truly make you stand out from the crowd?

1. What do you want to accomplish?

When it comes to digital marketing, clients often say they want to market their business with a set budget. However, they don't have any goals or objectives in mind outside of that.

It's important to weed out unethical marketing firms, or agencies that aren't a good fit for your business. Make sure to do your homework, write out a plan, and come prepared to your first meeting with the new client. You want to have a crystal clear vision of what you expect from the relationship.

What is it you want to achieve with this agency? More sales? More leads? Better marketing collateral? A new website? Like with any business or transaction, you need to come fully prepared so you don't get taken advantage of.

2. What services do they provide?

Is the marketing firm a one-stop solution for all your digital marketing needs (integrated marketing agencies), or do they specialize in only specific services? 


For example, on the marketing side at Karben Marketing, we specialize in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Google Ads and social media. For these services, you want dedicated experts as there's a lot of knowledge and skill involved in setting up a successful program.


We also offer a number of creative services including print design, web design, photography and video. Some creative agencies will focus on just web design or just print design.


As with many agencies, if you're looking for a service we don't offer, we have trusted partners we can refer you to.


If you have a long standing relationship with your marketing firm, chances are they're going to place you in good hands. However, it's always good to do your homework on these partners just in case. We have an extensive vetting process for all of our partners, because at the end of the day it's our reputation on the line.

3. Who are their previous clients?

Ideally, the marketing firm will have experience with your industry. But at the very least, they should have experience with businesses of your size.


For example, if you run a fortune 500 retail company, you wouldn't want an agency that specializes in local dental offices. Although they may understand digital marketing, you'd likely want someone with more experience working with large corporations.


Many agencies these days list their clients on their site, so this should be an easy task. If not, ask the agency who they've worked with and how recently. You should also look at their reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn to see how past clients liked them.

4. Would you hang out with them outside of work?

The individuals at this marketing firm might not be employees you see everyday, but you still have to work and interact with them a lot.


The best and most successful relationships are when both sides get along well. Different personalities can often cause conflict which make for a troubled relationship. Be sure to have plenty of conversations with the firm over the phone and in person before you make a decision to work with them. Better to find out before then midway through your campaign.

5. How involved do you want to be?

Do you want to be involved in the day-to-day activities or do you want to be hands off and allow the experts to do what they do best?

We work with clients on both ends of the spectrum. Some of our clients want us to handle everything and provide them with monthly updates, while others want to have update calls a couple times a week. There's no right way to be, it's just important that both sides understand your expected involvement from the beginning.

6. Did you read the contract? Read it again.

A reputable marketing agency will provide you with a formal contract and scope of work for a project or campaign. 


Typically the contracts include legal terminology that is meant to protect both parties. However, it's important to read over the terms closely and consult with an attorney if you don't feel comfortable. The terms are legally binding and you want to make sure everything is crystal clear in case something goes wrong down the road.

You're looking for a marketing firm because you want to take your business to the next level. So hire a rockstar agency that is as passionate about your business as you are, that is going to get you to that next level. Once you find that partnership, the sky is the limit for your business!

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