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How to Choose an Ad Agency

….I Mean - Marketing Partner.

Advertising is just one piece of Marketing. MARKETING includes everything from broader communications (think public relations, social content, etc.) to strategic development and positioning, to media planning...all the way to analytics/measurement. (And it can also include your internal process of product development, pricing, etc.)

The importance of this role demands a partner, versus a mere “vendor.”

So you probably mean “I need a Marketing Partner” when you say “I need an Ad Agency.”

You’re busy, so let’s skip anything else on the intro/101 level and jump in to some of the factors you should be considering.

  • INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE (do they know your stuff)
    Do they know your industry. Have they worked with clients in your industry, or proved themselves in areas that could translate to your industry. If they don’t, but you really like their work, are they willing to immerse themselves in what you do. Do they CARE about what you do.
  • CREATIVITY (do they produce good stuff)
    Does their work stand out from the clutter. Grab your eyeballs. Make you think. Make you do something. Make you feel something. Does it do what it’s intended to do.
  • RESPONSIVENESS (do they help you find solutions for your stuff)
    This does not mean when you suddenly want something NOW/YESTERDAY you necessarily get something NOW/YESTERDAY. It’s more about being heard – what is important to you is important to your partner. That you don’t feel like some B-level client. (And when you DO need something now/yesterday – your partner will try, but isn’t going to promise if it means giving you something crappy. A good partner will not want to give you garbage.)
  • COMMUNICATION (can the two of you talk honestly about stuff)
    A good partner is that friend who tells you the pants really do make you look fat. You’re paying your marketing partner for their expertise, so please give their input serious consideration. But a good partner also acknowledges no one truly knows your business quite like you do, and sometimes you are going to ignore them and buy the damned pants anyway. And they will be ok with that.

“A good partner is that friend who tells you the pants really do make you look fat.”

  • STRATEGY (do they know how to plan stuff)
    Do they think beyond the individual project to the bigger picture. To what your goals are for the year. For five years. Do they ask you a lot of questions. Do they want to see your marketing plan (or, can they help you develop one). Do they focus on how everything will work together. Do they make you think bigger, broader, more impactfully. Do they bring things to the table you didn’t even think of. Can they take all these pieces and fold them into an actionable plan.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY (does their stuff produce results)
    Do they want to talk to you about goals, and how you’ll both measure the success of your efforts together. How you’ll work together to ensure that success (what you’ll be responsible for, what they’ll be responsible for). Then, do they monitor and measure and report on those elements.
  • CHEMISTRY AND CULTURE (do you like the way they do stuff)
    Do you have that indefinable chemistry with the members of your marketing partner team – do you LIKE them. The way they do things. The way they present themselves. Does the company culture resonate with you and your organization. Do you click.

Yes, there are certainly more factors, but these will get you started in the right direction.

And here’s the read-n-run recap:

  1. Do they know your stuff?
  2. Do they produce good stuff?
  3. Do they help you find solutions for your stuff?
  4. Can the two of you talk honestly about stuff?
  5. Do they know how to plan stuff?
  6. Does their stuff produce results?
  7. Do you like the way they do stuff?

At ndp, we have a team full of great minds that can help with creative, PR, strategy and more. We know our stuff. If you need help getting your stuff together, give us a call at 866-677-9817. Or, send us an email to info@ndp.agency.

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