Choosing an Agency

There are more than 30,000 advertising agencies in the U.S. How do you find the one that’s right for you? You’ll want to identify and meet with several before making your decision. Ask each one about their background, work and rates. Keep in mind that there are big differences between how large and small companies find and select an ad agency. Here are a few guidelines to help you…
Know what you need. What do you want your agency to do for you? Build a strong marketplace image for your company? Or create and place an ad in the local paper? Craft a full marketing strategy for a new product? Or build a website? Know what you need up front. This will ensure that you don’t waste the agency’s time or your own time.
Ask around. Canvass your peers, colleagues and other business owners. Ask if they use an agency, what they use the agency for, and if they’re getting good results for their money. One sure sign an agency is worth its salt is if multiple businesses use the same one.

Know what you can spend. This is probably the biggest difference between your advertising and a corporation’s: budget. Know what you can afford, and be prepared to share that with agency contenders. It’s a good way to weed out inappropriate agencies quickly. (See “Agency Fees and Costs.")

Ask about their experience in your field. An agency with expertise in your industry and market will shorten the learning curve. You want them to relate to the market you are targeting and know how to entice those buyers.
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