1. Who are your clients?

Are the ad agency’s current clients and campaigns similar to your line of business? Look for an agency with expertise in your company’s market. High-tech companies shouldn’t hire retail advertising agencies.

2. How long have you operated?

Select an ad agency that can prove its financial and personnel stability. Longevity also indicates the level of experience in the markets the agency touts as its specialties. There has been considerable consolidation in the industry. Make sure the agency is a strong survivor, not struggling to compete.

3. How big are you?

Size matters for advertising agencies. A small startup shouldn’t hire a big ad agency, which likely will be too costly and won’t be able to advertise effectively on your company’s scale or give your campaign the attention you deserve.

4. When can we meet with your team?

Meet with the potential advertising team early and often before you make your final decision. Really get a good feel on whether that team consists of the kind of people you want to work with and who have sufficient experience, energy and creativity in your company’s market. Also ask yourself: Does it seem like they are recycling old concepts?

5. What do you do besides advertising?

Nowadays, advertising agencies must do much more than merely design ad campaigns. They should also be able to handle branding and messaging, marketing consultation, and public relations. That mix gives them a 360-degree approach to marketing and, more importantly, helps cut your marketing costs.

6. What are your ethical standards?

People in advertising constantly face ethical choices. Ads for reputable companies should not have to lie or even exaggerate, and an agency’s client companies must be able to verify the claims they make about the products in their ad campaigns.

7. What is your methodology for developing ad campaigns?

Often, agencies will begin by pitching products or services to potential customers before choosing the type of ad to run. They will usually tailor their methods to a list of goals your company offers them, but make sure your goals align well with their services.

8. What are your advertising metrics?

The ad agency will need to know — and then meet — your expectations. It should explain to you the metrics that will be used to determine the success of a campaign. Examples of these metrics include reach, which measures the size of the audience who will view your ads, and frequency, which is the average number of times your ads will appear to an individual or household.

9. Who are your senior leaders?

Who in the ad agency can give good advice? An ad agency’s capabilities should include consulting, not just creating pretty ads. Advice from experienced marketing professionals can help you learn what your business could do differently or better to attract customers, but make sure the consultants are indeed seasoned vets.

10. How do you keep up with evolving marketing techniques?

The ad agency’s creativity should extend to the latest techniques in media buying, guerrilla marketing tactics and new media, such as digital media, mobile applications and social media. You don’t want your ad to seem old the second it is pushed out.

Source: 10 things to ask before… Choosing an advertising agency | Biz Journals

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