What to ask

By Brian Henderson on 2014-04-14

So you're looking for an agency? Sometimes it's hard to know what to look for or what questions to ask, especially if you're doing this for the first time. Here's a few things to ask about and consider once you're past the web research phase and actually speaking to someone directly.

  • What kind of planning process do they have? Will they think strategically about what you need and make suggestions along the way or will they just execute the work as requested? (More importantly, which kind of partnership with an agency are you looking for?)

  • What kind of timeframe will the project require? Is that timeframe dependent on a production schedule or will it be roughly the same at any time in the year? How is the budget affected by a set timeframe? Can the timeframe change if the project is broken up in stages?

  • What responsibilities will be expected of you (the customer) during this process? Understand that you might have a big project with a lot of parts to make it happen. Find out what you will need to do, research and provide along the way.

  • Do they have examples of similar work done in the past? How would the agency?s team work on a project like this? Ask about the previous client's goals and how the agency met those goals.

  • Know your budget and ask if your project will be doable within your budget. You can give a range, but avoiding being transparent about your budget may end up wasting your time in the end. If you know your budget, share it so they can either meet it or let you know its limitations giving you the opportunity to research alternatives sooner.

These are just a few of the questions to start asking when you are choosing an agency to work with, certainly not a comprehensive list. Doing your own research before contacting an agency can prove to be invaluable. It can be difficult to make a decision, but consider a few of the intangibles when you're talking to them as well. Do you get along well? Do they seem trustworthy? Only you can decide, but often the best agencies will be right there with you, full of questions and advice to walk you through the process. Good luck!