Common marketing missteps waste time and money. These 5 fixes are GAME CHANGERS.

Carolyn Daughters - agency vetting -

Marketing Agency Vetting and Selection

Expert Due Diligence to Help You Choose the Agency That Best Meets Your Needs

Many growing businesses reach a point where they’re ready to choose a marketing agency. They do preliminary research and discover they have thousands of options, many of them not cheap. They get recommendations, meet with a couple agencies, and pick their favorite — often without sufficient agency vetting. Some of them end up paying exorbitant fees for months or years on end with little to show for it.

If your business is ready for an agency, you should hire an agency. The risk, of course, is that you might back the wrong horse. When it comes to agencies, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the just plain horrifying. Asking me to vet your agency and review their contract terms may well be the smartest business decision you make all year.

Agency Vetting 101

It’s hard to know if an agency is good at what they do and if they know how to optimize your budget. After you sign with an agency, their staff will start doing work for you. Some of those doers may be junior-level employees who look to you for direction; others may be freelancers (or offshore workers) hired to fill in the agency’s many gaps.

To properly vet your agency, it helps if you have a baseline knowledge in their purported areas of expertise. Review examples of their work. Ask the hard questions. For example:

  • What are the exact deliverables they’ll deliver, and what sort of weekly or monthly KPIs and reporting can you expect?
  • How much of the money you pay will go to ad buys, technology, licenses, and other hard costs? Will these expenses be treated as passthrough costs, will you pay markups?
  • Who exactly will be performing day-to-day work for your company?
  • If junior-level staff will be handling some or all tasks, who will be responsible for supervising their work?
  • Will the agency be using outside resources (contractors, freelancers, or offshore workers)?
  • If they’re using outside resources, what’s the agency’s vetting process, and who will oversee the work those resources produce?

Put every word your agency reps say and write on trial for its life. Protect yourself by following your gut.


Get a Professional Opinion

For point of clarification, I’m not running an agency. I’m not openly or secretly competing with your current or future agency. I support small businesses, enterprise organizations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations in my areas of expertise. When those organizations need the support of a large agency team, I often offer agency recommendations or vet their agency selection.

Here’s the deal: It takes a bona fide expert to create an end-to-end marketing strategy that works, and the marketing industry’s filled with posers and fakers. The danger’s real. But fortunately you have something going for you. You have me. 

I’ll do the research needed to determine if your agency of choice is the real deal. I’ll read your contract and look out for red flags. I’ll make sure that you don’t pay a high price tag for marketing services that will look good on the surface but that ultimately won’t get the job done.

Great agencies are worth their asking price. Every single penny. If you think you’ve found a great agency, you should hire that agency — after I handle the due diligence for you, that is. Make a smart, strategic marketing investment and contact me before you sign on the dotted line.