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Insights How to pick the right creative agency

Emily Stewart-Wooler
Emily Stewart-Wooler
Marketing Specialist

01 Jul 2024

5 minute read

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Finding the right marketing or creative agency can sometimes feel like looking for the right partner as I guess, in a way, it is! Your relationship with your marketing agency is likely to span a good few years, so you need to make sure that you’re investing your time, money and resources into the right one.

You want an agency that understands your challenges, your needs and your goals. Otherwise, if they don’t, you run the risk of paying for a service that gives you next to no ROI, which is the last thing you want, especially in this day and age. At the end of the day, an agency is there to help you, so they need to understand you properly. 

It can often be hard to figure out who to select the right creative agency for you. And with so many different types of agencies out there, how do you pick the right one that will get you the results you want? 


Why pick a creative agency at all? 

A creative agency can help with anything from your web design to a full brand redesign and everything in between. They are the experts in how to build your website so you optimise lead generation; they know how to create marketing campaigns that will grab the attention of your target audience. Simply put, brand, digital and marketing are their bread and butter and they really know what they’re talking about. 

But, once you’ve decided you want to work with an agency, you need to consider what type to go for. Do you want to work with a full-service marketing agency (like us) that can assist with all your brand, digital and marketing needs in-house or do you want to work with a different agency for each aspect of your company?

Remember, they act as an extension of your marketing team, so it’s important to pick the right one for you. 

So, what should you look for? 


1. Are they qualified?

Now for me, this is a very useful point to consider, hence why we’re starting with it - you want to ensure that not only does the prospective agency have experience in the creative field, but do they have industry knowledge and experience within your industry? Simply put, are they qualified for the job?

Some agencies specialise in a wide range of different industries, while others are very niche. Of course, there are pros and cons to both… 

If you pick an agency that has a wider range of specialisms you’re able to tap into a wider range of learnings from a broader variety of past campaigns. For example, you might work in property but your agency might be able to use some insight they’ve gained from working with an automotive brand to help make your campaign more successful. They might also come to the table with a wider variety of concepts for you to choose from. However, you may find that they don’t have quite as much industry knowledge that’s specific to what you do, so there may be a bit of educating on both parts. 

Alternatively, you may opt to choose a niche agency. A bonus of going down this route is that you can be sure that they know your industry well and are comfortable with the types of brief you may give them and the types of challenges you might face. However, not only could you lose out on wider insights from different industries, but you may end up with something similar to your competitors - not so great if you’re wanting to stand out from the crowd…

Whichever side of the coin you pick, it’s always worth asking for case studies and examples of work. Through this, you can gage if their style is what you’re looking for and if they’re able to deliver the ROI you’re hoping for. If not, case studies provide a good opportunity to ask them questions about previous projects. 


2. Are they a good culture fit? 

Something we think is incredibly important and suggest doing with any prospective agency is see if they’re a good culture fit; do you think you could work collaboratively together? Before you sign with any agency, heck before you really go down much further into the pitch process, set up a culture fit meeting where you get to know prospective agencies a little better. 

Now you don’t need to be BFFs, but we always think it’s incredibly important to have similar values and get along on a human level with any team you’re going to enter a long-term relationship with. Ultimately, if you find an agency that aligns with you, this will make any project process that bit easier. 

It’s important to remember that working with an agency isn’t an ‘us and them' situation, it’s a long-term relationship that needs nurturing and respect from both sides - it is a partnership after all. 


3. Can they work to your budget? 

Now this is easily one of the most important questions to ask - can they work to your budget? Now more than ever, marketing budgets are being cut or are under the watchful eye of C-suites, so it’s important to make it clear from the off what your budget is and whether or not any prospective agency can work to that. When receiving a quote, it’s important to check if it is inclusive of all costs the project might incur and, if not, what the likely overspend will be. 


4. What is their process? 

Something I think is always good to go over, if they don’t explain it during the pitch process, is what their ways of working are. Do they explain how they carry out projects? Do they hold any workshops to get to know you and what you’re hoping to get out of the project? If they do none of these, this might be a bit of a red flag as, ultimately, they won’t really be getting to know your business and your reasons for doing the project or campaign… they would just be going in blind and likely not adapting to you. 


5. How honest are they?

Here at The Escape, honesty is very important to us, no matter what it is we’re talking about. While you want a creative partner who will work with you to bring your ideas to life, sometimes you need someone to tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear. 

For example, you might really want to change the style of your website so it’s only one page whereas your agency might tell you that’s not a good idea for XYZ reasons. While it’s not what you want to hear, they will have your and your business’s best interest at heart and at the end of the day, they are the experts so they probably know what they’re talking about! 


Picking the right marketing agency can be a little daunting, but I promise if you put the thought and effort into the process you’ll be amazed at the work that will come out from working with one that suits you and your business needs and goals. 

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