Life or death: how to choose the right marketing agency for your business

Running a successful marketing campaign is a challenge without the right expertise. Here, we show you how to choose the right marketing agency.

Chris Wright
4 MIN|March 9, 2020

Did you know there are over 4 billion internet users today? If digital marketing can help you engage with even the tiniest fraction of this global audience, it will play an integral role in your company’s growth.

So, why would you ever leave something with so much potential to chance? Knowing how to choose the right marketing agency for your business is not exactly life or death, but it can have some serious ramifications for the growth of your business. And, isn’t that the same thing?

Digital marketing? I thought that was free

Digital marketing is free. What you need more than anything is time. Time to write blogs, time to post them in the right place for the right people to see. Time to monitor your results. And not just blog posts. The same goes for any content, social media, etc. You need to know what to write. And how to optimise it. And when to post so it’ll be seen by the most people. And you need to do this regularly, month after month.

Digital marketing is free. But for it to work you need time and consistency. And that’s where a good agency can help.

Choosing a marketing agency

There are plenty of ways of deciding which agency you want to work with:

  • Formal request for proposal (RFP)
  • Getting agencies to pitch for your business
  • Seeing sample/small projects up front
  • Conducting informal meetings and using an ad hoc approach
  • Getting a recommendation
  • Basing your decision on cost

Finding an agency is easy. The hard part is finding an agency that is right for your business. You should keep the following in mind when you’re trying to decide.


Digital marketing is continuously changing, so it’s natural that strategies will change over time. Do you trust your agency to keep up, while keeping you informed?

Along the way, your relationship will be tested and it’s essential that you know you can overcome difficult moments through open communication. Can you trust them when things go wrong? Will unexpected invoices hit your inbox? When deadlines are fast approaching and something’s not right, can you count on honesty, even if what they say is the last thing you want to hear?


When you choose to move forward with an agency, it’s usually because of the abundance of new marketing tactics and tools that pop up every day. You need an expert partner to stay on top of the latest trend; one who knows how to make the best use of different platforms.


Transparency plays back into trust. For example, the question of pricing must be clarified up front. It’s no secret that some companies will tell you what you want to hear just to win the contract, so be wary of this. Starting a relationship with a lie speaks to the likelihood of further deceptions down the line. You’d be working on shaky foundations.

You be the judge when choosing an agency

Size doesn’t matter

You might not want to be the biggest client, or the smallest, which is fair, but the days of judging companies on the number of desks in their office are gone. Bigger teams don’t guarantee work will be done faster or to a higher quality.

Look at the company’s expertise, calibre and culture. Does the team communicate well, work in tandem and demonstrate an understanding and dedication to your mission? Often, the people pitching to you won’t be the ones doing the work, so check who you’ll be working with. In large agencies, your projects could be handed down to less experienced or junior members. Would you want that?

You need more than a case study

Before you hire new employees, you conduct interviews and check references. But does the same happen with your marketing agency? Past work is a strong indicator of capabilities but only to a degree. Ask to speak with some of their clients who can tell you in their own words what the agency is like to work with on a practical, day to day level.

Price isn’t everything…

…but expectation is. Ask for a clear explanation of the work you can expect, the deliverables the agency will provide and what you will pay for them. Transparency and trust play a big role here, as the costs can fluctuate based on the products or services you use for your campaign. Armed with the true estimate, you can prepare accordingly.

Pay attention to the agency’s own marketing efforts

How do they market themselves? ‘Practice what you preach’ is pertinent to marketing, so look at their content and question whether it’s engaging, educational and well-edited. How effective are their ads? Does their website load quickly on all platforms? Does their social media voice their brand clearly and do they interact with comments reliably?

Of course, how agencies promote their own business will differ to how they market yours. But when choosing an agency, you want evidence they can do for themselves what they have promised to do for you.

How to choose the right marketing agency

Aimlessly running any marketing campaign without a strategy or delivering content (regardless of how impressive it is) without SEO is a recipe for failure. You’re an expert at what you do. The right marketing agency is expert at taking what you’re great at and bringing it to the right people. Repeatedly.