How to choose a marketing agency: What you need to know

How to choose a marketing agency: What you need to know

Marketing agencies can offer businesses strategic support, meet demands to carry their messages further and manage their communications smarter. In this article, marketing expert Laura Bracher, reveals what you need to consider when selecting a marketing agency and how to get maximum impact from your relationship in our step-by-step guide.  

Today, establishing your brand online is no longer seen as a 'nice to have', it's a must-have, regardless of whether you’re a newly-founded startup or a multimillion-pound enterprise. Yet, with so many elements to consider, from SEO and PPC to content and email marketing, finding and executing the right strategy is no easy task. But not all businesses have the resources or expertise to handle their online marketing efforts, which is where an agency can help.  

A marketing agency can support you in achieving your goals, increasing brand visibility, and ultimately driving more business. But finding the right one is a bit like dating: you may need to swipe right a few times before you find 'the one'. In this article, we'll discuss the key points to consider that will lead you to your perfect match.

What is a marketing agency?

A marketing agency is a company that provides a range of marketing services to businesses. These can include market research, advertising, branding, public relations, and event planning. The goal of a marketing agency is to help a business increase its visibility and reach, generate leads and ultimately increase sales.

A marketing agency typically has a team of experts with experience in different areas who work together to create effective marketing campaigns for clients. They use various tools and techniques to help businesses achieve their goals and stay ahead of the competition in their industry.

What to look for in a marketing agency

There are many elements to consider when deciding on an agency, and a near-endless amount to choose from, which is why it's important to do your research. 

Here are some things to think about:

  • Defining your marketing goals and objectives 
  • Researching different agencies 
  • Size and services offered 
  • Culture and communication  
  • Budget and costs

Let's explore these.

Defining your goals and objectives

Before you get started, you must have a clear understanding of your marketing goals. Defining your goals and objectives will also help you measure the success of your marketing efforts and make informed decisions about future campaigns.

To define these, you should consider the overall objectives of your business and what you want to achieve. Some common goals include increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, generating leads, and boosting sales.

Once you know your business goals, you can create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives. These objectives should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. For example, a SMART objective could be to increase website traffic by 30% within the next six months.

Starting your research

Next, it's time to start your research. The first step is to find agencies with experience in your industry. This will ensure that they understand your target audience and unique challenges.

An online search is often the starting point. What does the website look like? Does it appear high up in search results? How good are they at marketing themselves? You could also ask for recommendations from other businesses or attend relevant events to meet with different agencies in person.

Look for case studies and testimonials and check out reviews and ratings on industry-specific platforms and social media. If you can’t find bios, an address, or a list of clients, then stay clear. If an agency looks like it’s trying to hide something, then it probably is!

Size and services offered

When considering different marketing agencies, it's important to evaluate their size. Larger agencies will likely have more resources and experience, but smaller agencies may be able to offer you a more personalised service and attention.

You should also think about the services provided, as not all agencies will have a complete 360 offering.

Be sure to check their portfolio and ask them to provide examples of how they've helped other businesses in your industry achieve similar goals. It's also a good idea to ask them how they plan to measure the success of your work together and what metrics they will use for reporting.

Culture and communication

The culture of an agency can have a significant impact on the success of your marketing efforts. A good agency culture fosters creativity, collaboration and open communication.

Does its personality align with yours? Ask yourself: would you want to go for a drink with them? While technical expertise is important, so is chemistry.

Ask them how they communicate with clients. It's essential to establish open lines of communication, as this will ensure that you are kept informed about the progress of your campaign and that any issues can be addressed promptly.

Regular meetings, calls or email updates will help you stay informed and provide the security of knowing that the agency is meeting your objectives.

Budget and costs

When it comes to costs, while it can sometimes feel awkward, being open and transparent from the outset will save you a great deal of hassle further down the line.

Some businesses will dedicate a big budget, while others need something smaller. Either way, most agencies can offer a package tailored to individual requirements.

Many agencies will also have different pricing structures. While some agencies charge an hourly rate, others charge a flat rate or a retainer. Be sure to ask about any additional costs that may be incurred, such as for materials or additional services.

Final thoughts

Choosing a marketing agency can feel like a daunting task, but with a little research and due diligence, you'll find one that will take your business to new heights. Utilising the above advice will make the process as streamlined as possible and help you avoid choosing an agency that’s the wrong fit for you. But remember, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that they can do the job and you enjoy working with them.


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Laura Bracher News analyst CIM
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