5 Uncommon Questions You Should Ask Your Marketing Agency

Tracy Marlowe  |  November 9, 2023

When choosing a marketing agency, asking the right questions is crucial. There are the more obvious questions, like...

  • What is your experience in our industry?
  • What are your areas of expertise?
  • What is your pricing structure?

But after 20+ years in the agency world, there are five uncommon questions that I think people should be asking. These questions are less commonly asked but are extremely illuminating of what you can expect in working with the agency.

Here are 5 uncommon questions you need to ask your potential agency partner.

5 Questions You Must Ask a Marketing Agency

1. Will the team we see at the initial pitch actually work on my account?

Most agencies present their senior team to pitch and close new business. Obviously, agencies want to present their A team: the ones with the most experience who can put on the best dog and pony show.

However, once a client is won, that senior team often moves on to the next pitch and the run-the-business team steps in. This team is often less experienced and costs the agency less. Yet, you'll still be charged the rate that you were okay paying when you thought you were paying for that senior-level team.

Although this process is a pretty standard procedure at most agencies*, asking the question will let them know you are aware of the typical inner workings of the agency and will give you an idea of what to expect.

*Note: This is not the case at Creative Noggin.

2. Your advertising works, and you get us interested prospects. Then what?

There is a lot more to good marketing than just creating cool ads.

To be successful, marketers need to understand the entire marketing funnel from top to bottom. We must guide the audience from awareness to interest to action, leveraging technology such as AI and automation along the way. Throw in retargeting efforts to reengage potential customers, and you begin to realize that the buyer consideration process is often anything but straightforward.

A great agency will help you understand and optimize your entire marketing funnel so you can get the most and highest-quality leads—and make the most of them once you have them.

3. What do you do to promote work-life balance for your employees?

This one might seem strange. You’re not seeking a job at this agency, so why does this matter?

It matters for two reasons:

  1. Employee satisfaction: Employees who have the time they need to be rested and fulfilled outside of work are empowered to do their best work. Would you prefer to put your brand and reputation in the hands of someone who is burnt out? Or would you rather it be in the hands of someone rested, passionate, and full of creative energy?
  2. Employee retention: Immersing an agency employee in your niche and brand takes time. Then, through feedback and results monitoring, they hone their approach to your brand. But when an employee who works closely on your brand leaves the agency, that time is lost and the process starts over. Employees who are happy at work are less likely to leave the agency.

Better work-life balance leads to happier agency employees, which in turn, leads to better and more consistent work and results for you.

4. What are your agency’s core values?

If your agency contact waffles in response to this question—or worse, simply doesn’t have an answer—that is extremely telling.

An agency’s core values should be something that the entire agency unites around, and that dictates their day-to-day decision-making. Including hiring to ensure that every single employee shares these values.  Everyone from the custodian to the CEO to the account services team should easily be able to recite them from memory.

For example, Creative Noggin’s core values are:

  • Strategic
  • Collaborative
  • Passionate
  • Smart
  • Fun

Similarly, if you ask an agency what their mission is and their response is something trite like “your success,” that suggests the team lacks a north star.

Meaningful company values and a true mission are important qualities to look for in a marketing agency.

5. What if you don’t agree with what we ask you to do? 

This is key. You don’t want your agency to function as your order-taker. You want a team of experienced marketers who are comfortable pushing back on things that aren’t in your best interest.

Something we’ve been applauded for by clients is that we aren’t “yes people.” We always push for what we believe will drive the best results for the client and brand even if it doesn’t initially align with what our client is thinking. One of the highest compliments we receive from our clients is that they view Creative Noggin as an extension of their internal marketing team—not just as a vendor.

The Takeaway

Digging deep into conversations with a potential agency partner is the best way to decide whether they are a fit. I love answering these five thought-provoking questions, and hopefully, your potential agency will, too.

If you’re seeking a passionate, results-oriented marketing and advertising partner, our team at Creative Noggin may be just who you need. Get in touch and we’ll put a plan together to promote your business in a way that is true to your brand.

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