Once you’ve decided that it’s time to hire an agency and you’ve done some research to narrow down your list of potential agency partners, it’s time to interview them. Just as you would do with hiring a new member of your staff, you’ll want to ask questions to get to know the agency before launching into an agreement with them.
This blog outlines some questions and insights to help guide your agency interview journey.
About Your Business
It’s important to get a good understanding of how familiar your potential agency partner is with your specific business model, goals, and challenges. It’s also imperative to find out how the agency works in partnership with its other clients and what you can expect in a client/agency relationship. Ask questions like:
Can your agency meet our expectations for successful client/agency workflow and collaboration?
While some clients desire a heavily collaborative process that involves a lot of day-to-day interaction, other clients favor a more hands-off approach. Depending on your needs, make sure your agency partner is aligned in terms of how much or little input and collaboration you desire and/or have time for.
What work is considered in and out of scope for our agreement?
As the client, you should gain a deep understanding of exactly what duties and responsibilities are considered in and out of scope as well as a clear picture of the volume of work that will be performed under your agreement. Outlining these details and how the fee/payment structure will work up front will avoid any confusion or unexpected incremental costs down the road.
How familiar is your agency with our specific goals and challenges?
Despite the unique complexities and nuances of any industry, many marketing strategies and tactics can be remarkably similar across completely different verticals. While working with an agency that specializes in your industry may shorten the learning curve, it’s often more beneficial to identify a well-rounded strategic partner. Agencies with rich and diverse experiences are best equipped to leverage learnings from other business categories to address your specific goals and challenges in creative ways.
About The Agency
The right questions can help you gain insight into who your prospective agency partner is at its core, the team members you will work with most closely, and their approach to your success. These are all essential discussion points before solidifying a client/agency partnership. Ask questions like:
What are your core values and goals for working with my brand?
It might seem surprising, but selecting an agency based on their award-winning work doesn’t necessarily translate into moving the needle for your business. Make sure your agency partner takes ownership in the success of your business and places your needs ahead of the agency’s own agenda. Finding an agency partner that aligns with your brand’s core values will pay off in the long run, and everybody wins.
Who will primarily be working on my account and what are their roles?
With many agencies, the day-to-day account team is not the same team that’s trying to earn your business. If that’s the case, it’s important to know, feel confidence in, and have rapport with the individuals you’ll be working with on an ongoing basis.
As my agency, how can you help position my company for long-term growth and success?
Many agencies will work with you to narrow down a specific scope of work and then desperately seek to color neatly within the lines of those boundaries. While a clear understanding of the agency’s scope is important, your agency can also provide tremendous value by maintaining a high-level understanding of your business objectives at all times. An agency that considers itself a strategic partner will welcome ongoing strategic discussions and offer more impactful solutions, even if their execution involves the negotiation of “out of scope” activities.
Is your agency flexible enough to quickly scale up and/or pivot when necessary?
Get a feel for how the agency adapts to change and their willingness and ability to pivot quickly. Under your control or not, your business, industry and objectives are likely to change at some point during your agency partnership. Whether the situation requires a slight change in tactics or a complete strategy reversal, your agency partner will play a major role in your ability (or failure) to respond in an appropriate and timely manner.
The success of your marketing and communications strategy can be heavily influenced by the expertise and creativity of your agency partner. A well-thought-out, intentional interview process provides you the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the agency’s experience, their approach to marketing and communications, and their ability to deliver results. It also allows you to assess whether their style and personality are a good fit with your company culture, and the right agency will take care to ensure the same compatibility on their end as well. Taking the time to interview and evaluate potential partners is a critical step in choosing the right agency partner to help achieve your aspirational or strategic business goals.
At Rocket Launch, we welcome your pre-launch questions! With every question you ask, you’re letting your business values show. Contact Rocket Launch today to get to know our team and learn how we can help you start your own successful launch sequence.