Looking for the right marketing agency but are there too many fish in the sea to choose from? Google is filled with endless opportunities but it requires effort and patience to find the right match for your project. This makes it extremely difficult to figure out what agency is the best one for your needs.

If you’re lucky, you have found an agency that someone recommended. If not, we’re here for you! In any of the cases, it is always best to carefully consider the different requirements that make an agency the best fit for you and your project. 

This Sortlist article will help, by showing you the 6 things you need to think about when picking your first marketing agency. Let’s jump right in!

Table of contents

What do you need? Specialised or Full-Stack Agency?

One of the most important questions is: what exactly do you need help with? 

You might need to hire an agency that will take over your entire marketing department or just someone that helps you with a particular part. If you are only looking for an agency helping you with branding, marketing automation, or social media, it could be best to look out for a specialized team. If you have multiple projects to tackle, a full-stack agency might be the solution. As the company-agency-relationship can be a long-term commitment, it is important to choose a partner with the right expertise for you. This leads us to our next point.

Look at the agency’s Expertise and References

How good is the agency you found in their field? Do they have references that show how they delivered a strong performance?

You can figure this out through a portfolio or testimonials that might be on their website or on a platform like Sortlist. Maybe they also have projects listed that are comparable to yours or even in the same industry. In the best case, you know another company that has already worked with this agency before and can give you some insights. Finally, how is the agency going to track their performance? Do they have a proven method to track the success of their collaborations? You should already consider this aspect before the start of your project.

medi1
Vertical3 Media
Miami, United States
5/5 - 6 recommendations
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swc1
SWC Partnership
London, United Kingdom
5/5 - 9 recommendations
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reflex1
reflexgroup
London, United Kingdom
5/5 - 0 recommendation
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about1
The Marketing Store
London, United Kingdom
5/5 - 0 recommendation
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havas1
Socialyse Belgium
London, United Kingdom
5/5 - 0 recommendation
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op1
POP Communications
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
5/5 - 2 recommendations
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Sandpaper
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
5/5 - 5 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyPublic RelationsWebsite Creation Software
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Bruce Clay MENA
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
5/5 - 0 recommendation
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roots1
Grassroots creative agency
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
5/5 - 10 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyWeb DesignWebsite Creation Software
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ofisi1
Iletisim Ofisi PR
Istanbul, Turkey
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingPublic RelationsAdvertising & Display
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digit1
TRENDS Digital
Bangkok, Thailand
5/5 - 0 recommendation
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media1
Asia Media Studio
Bangkok, Thailand
5/5 - 10 recommendations
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serv1
Aura media
Bangkok, Thailand
5/5 - 4 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyWebsite Creation Software
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found1
Foundeast
Bangkok, Thailand
5/5 - 2 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyPublic RelationsAdvertising & Display
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seo1
Vault Mark
Bangkok, Thailand
5/5 - 8 recommendations
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demo1
Demodia
Saint Gallen, Switzerland
5/5 - 4 recommendations
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wf3
Watson Ferguson Marketing Agency
Cape Town, South Africa
5/5 - 13 recommendations
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evol1
EvolveDigitas
Singapore, Singapore
5/5 - 5 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyPublic RelationsAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation Software
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dfw1
Dfw Creative Pte ltd
Singapore, Singapore
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyPublic RelationsAdvertising & Display
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au1
Autonomy
Singapore, Singapore
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingPublic Relations
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ab1
ab4.systems
Singapore, Singapore
5/5 - 26 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation Software
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right1
Right Click
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyPublic RelationsAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation SoftwareWeb Development
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blen1
Creative Blend
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5/5 - 1 recommendation
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyPublic RelationsAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation Software
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di1
Dice Marketing and Advertising
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5/5 - 1 recommendation
MarketingAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation Software
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your
diARK
Bucharest, Romania
5/5 - 3 recommendations
MarketingPublic RelationsAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation SoftwareWeb Development
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we1
Destinare Marketing Group
Doha, Qatar
5/5 - 1 recommendation
MarketingAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation SoftwareWeb Development
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ngp1
NGP Integrated Marketing Communications
Pasig, Philippines
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyPublic Relations
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gohan2
Gohan Concepts
Taguig, Philippines
5/5 - 12 recommendations
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artx1
ArtX Pro
Karachi, Pakistan
5/5 - 3 recommendations
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redoy1
Redoya – Smart digital branding agency
Lahore, Pakistan
5/5 - 1 recommendation
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do1
DOINGSOON
Lagos, Nigeria
5/5 - 6 recommendations
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somos
Impala
Mexico City, Mexico
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyWebsite Creation Software
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gold1
Expresa3
Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico
5/5 - 3 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyAdvertising & Display
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dosis1
SOBREDOSIS
Mexico City, Mexico
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyAdvertising & Display
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vos1
Avocado Creativos
Merida, Mexico
5/5 - 2 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation Software
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maroon2
Maroon studio sdn bhd
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation Software
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360
Brand 360 Degree Sdn Bhd
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5/5 - 4 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation Software
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n2
Norhafiz Digital Marketing Agency
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingAdvertising & Display
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wave
Caspian Digital Solutions
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
5/5 - 5 recommendations
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dopoage2
LoDoPage Services
Puchong, Malaysia
5/5 - 2 recommendations
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enfant2
Gust-agency
Kopstal, Luxembourg
5/5 - 3 recommendations
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totals1
Totals Marketing & Business Solutions
Kuwait City, Kuwait
5/5 - 0 recommendation
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yamal1
Yamal Media
Kuwait City, Kuwait
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingWeb DesignAdvertising & DisplayWeb Development
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Poixel
Kuwait City, Kuwait
5/5 - 2 recommendations
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95
Morph Visuals
Nairobi, Kenya
5/5 - 1 recommendation
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56
Lokal Vokal
Central Jakarta, Indonesia
5/5 - 0 recommendation
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45
ChubbyRawit Digital Marketing Agency
South Jakarta, Indonesia
5/5 - 10 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyAdvertising & DisplayWeb Development
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30
FMG
West Jakarta City, Indonesia
5/5 - 5 recommendations
MarketingAdvertising & DisplayWebsite Creation SoftwareWeb Development
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22
Shrex Design
Mumbai, India
5/5 - 5 recommendations
MarketingAdvertising & Display
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16
Alpasbox
Delhi, India
5/5 - 6 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing Strategy
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14
Rethink User Experience Pvt. Ltd.
Chandigarh, India
5/5 - 7 recommendations
MarketingWeb DesignWeb Development
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11
Fervent Digital
New Delhi, India
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyWebsite Creation Software
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07
Eventist
Kowloon, Hong Kong
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingDigital & Marketing Strategy
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06
Taksu Digital
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
5/5 - 8 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyWebsite Creation Software
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04
DSIGN Branding
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
5/5 - 2 recommendations
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veloma
heydaysss
Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
5/5 - 6 recommendations
MarketingWeb Development
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ki
4HK
Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
5/5 - 5 recommendations
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gendarme
Fisheye Solutions
Giza, Egypt
5/5 - 3 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing Strategy
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citrus
sendian creations
Al Maadi, Egypt
5/5 - 6 recommendations
MarketingWeb Development
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mangue
Arrows
6th of October City, Egypt
5/5 - 0 recommendation
Marketing
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bonbon
INETWORK Middle East
New Cairo City, Egypt
5/5 - 8 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyWebsite Creation Software
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ses
WebbingStone
6th of October City, Egypt
5/5 - 13 recommendations
MarketingContent MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyWeb Development
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jjjjjjj
Indigo Media
Qism El-Nozha, Egypt
5/5 - 0 recommendation
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Ad Value Marketing Agency
Cairo Governorate, Egypt
5/5 - 2 recommendations
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lilliliil
O2 Media Group
Giza, Egypt
5/5 - 14 recommendations
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hihi
New Step Media
Ad Doqi, Egypt
5/5 - 10 recommendations
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capture789
Essencius A/S
Copenhagen, Denmark
5/5 - 4 recommendations
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capture70
Full Media
San José, Costa Rica
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingSales & Customer Success
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riviera
Riviera Events
Shanghai, China
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingEvent MarketingWeb Design
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Techsoft Web Agency
Douala, Cameroon
5/5 - 0 recommendation
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capture100
The Idea Consultancy
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
5/5 - 4 recommendations
MarketingDigital & Marketing StrategyWebsite Creation SoftwareWeb Development
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Jaroudi Media
Manama, Bahrain
5/5 - 0 recommendation
MarketingDigital & Marketing Strategy
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capture33
Nirof
Comuna 14, Argentina
5/5 - 1 recommendation
Marketing
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Barzza
Bella Vista, Argentina
5/5 - 0 recommendation
Marketing
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Make a decision based on Facts

When finding the right agency, there are a few hard facts you need to consider. These are mostly based on time and money.

Before you get started with the project, make clear agreements for deadlines , and see if they are able to spontaneously adapt to changing conditions. Can they take on more work throughout the project if needed? How much time will they actually spend on your project and how much will that cost? 

The agency may have a deposit that you pay for their ongoing services. Additionally, you need to negotiate the agency’s fee per hour or per project. An hourly rate may be better to track how much time they spent on what, but it might also be good to pay the agency per project.

Communication is Key

What influences your relationship with the agency a lot is your communication towards them. Even before your first meeting, you can do some online research: are they communicating clear times, goals, and a clear strategy? Are they transparent about budget expectations and deadlines?

If you have a productive level of communication with your agency, problems might arise sooner than later, and can be tackled more efficiently. If you work with a larger agency, you might have an account manager that you can always address. However, a small agency might also be good for you as you may be higher on their priority list. This could especially be beneficial if your direct point of contact is the agency’s owner making sure that your project will be a success.

Match the Agency with your Project

Your agency can be good, but do they care about your project?

In a first meeting or phone call, you can figure out if the agency understands what you are doing. Let’s take the example of a branding agency: If they match with the identity of your brand and project, they are probably better able to translate your values, vision, and mission into the new branding. This is extremely important as a divergent new brand strategy could confuse or offend your customers or they might not even recognize the identity of your company anymore. Also, internal stakeholders could be set off by a new branding that is not aligned with the company values. In the best case, the agency is also part of your industry, and specialised in working for companies in your sector. This way, they may know more about your customer than you do or are even part of your target group.

Excellent Partnerships make excellent Projects

Lastly, the agency you choose not only needs to fit with your project or company – it needs to fit with you.

Use a first meeting to figure out if you actually like to work with these people and are ready to commit to a business relationship with them. Do they fit your team and are your team members happy to have meetings and discuss new ideas openly with them? A strong cultural fit can make up for a lack in other fields if problems are tackled together. Ask your team what they think. After all, they are the ones mostly affected by your choice.

Summary

There are way too many things you can take into account when you pick your first marketing agency. The internet offers an abundance of information on agencies, and your industry colleagues will all probably have a different opinion on what you should or shouldn’t do. That is why you have to carefully look into your potential partner, and figure out what factors are most important to you. The price of the agency? The performance and the outcome of the project? Or do you want a long-term partner that fits well with your culture?

In the end, you need to decide on what is best for your project and especially the team behind it as they will know what leads to the best outcome for your brand.

If you are still looking for a new marketing agency, look no further. You can now find the best agency for your needs on Sortlist. No matter if it’s closer than your supermarket or in another country.