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7 Mistakes People Make When Hiring an Advertising Agency


If you’re hiring an advertising agency to help tell your story to the world, you need to make sure you’re going into the relationship with your eyes wide open.

Here are seven mistakes that are made in the agency hiring process – and how you can avoid them.

1. They don’t ask for references from satisfied customers.

If you’re hiring the right agency, they’ve been in business for a while. They’ve worked with other businesses, both on short-term campaigns and long-term initiatives. They’ve promoted businesses like yours and ones very different from yours. They’ve advised small start-ups and established corporations. Whether they are still working with those customers or not, those customers should be satisfied with the job they did.

Take the time to reach out to an agency’s clients. Find out what the agency did right – and what they may have done wrong. Getting to know your potential advertising agency through the lens of previous customers will tell you whether you’ve found the right fit for your business.

2. They compare competing agencies’ similarly named services by price alone, without seeking to understand how they materially differ.

Just like any proposal, you need to make sure you have a complete understanding of exactly what services you’re signing up for – and if you are comparing proposals, make sure you’re comparing the same thing.

What one agency calls Social Media Management may include generating posts and following up on comments. For another, that same term may just mean making weekly suggestions about content trends, leaving you and your staff to do the bulk of the work.

Not understanding what’s included in a service can cost you in the long-term.

3. They accept the agency’s proposal for services without understanding the benefit of each service.

A good advertising agency isn’t going to make recommendations for services that they think are superfluous. That agency will value your dollars the way you do and if they are recommending something, you can be assured that they think it has value. That doesn’t mean that you should accept a proposal without understanding what you are getting for your money.

4. They view advertising as an expense to be minimized, rather than an investment to be optimized.

Marketing dollars are some of the most important dollars you’ll spend on your company. We all have budgets and a good advertising agency understands that – but this is not a line item that you want to slash every chance you get.

By investing in marketing, you are investing in the future of your business; your agency will help you optimize every single dollar you’re spending.

5. They don’t understand how to effectively measure or evaluate the agency’s performance on behalf of their campaigns.

It’s all about the data, baby. A good advertising agency is going to provide you with measurable, actionable reporting. Use those reports to understand exactly what results you’re getting. Don’t understand some of the technical terms? Your account executive should be happy to spend time explaining them to you.

6. They are overly hesitant to cede reasonable decision-making authority to the advertising experts.

Let’s face it. The reason you’re hiring an advertising agency is they know more than you do about advertising. Don’t hobble their skills by micro-managing every decision they make. You’ve hired the right people for the job – let them do the job you’re paying them to do.

7. They force the agency to guess the client’s marketing budget when requesting a marketing plan.

Your relationship with your advertising agency shouldn’t be adversarial. It should be a partnership, one that you trust enough to be honest and forthcoming.

Developing a marketing plan is a cornerstone of what your advertising agency will do for you. This isn’t the time to make them guess what they have to spend. Share your budget honestly and the right agency will be able to optimize your spending to get you even more bang for your buck.

Ready to have a conversation about what the right advertising agency can do for you? Call today to schedule a free consultation with MindEcology.

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