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20 key questions to assess right agency fit

· Digital Marketing,Branding

For the past years, we have been working with and in agencies. Collectively we will like to share 3 key considerations we learned over the years, to help business owners/ marketers/ brands on how to assess the right agency* to work with.

*Agency of any domain: Creative/ branding/ marketing/ digital

  1. Quality & Delivery
  2. Pricing
  3. Relationship and synergy

Quality and Delivery

Every other agency says they are the no 1 … or the fastest-growing agency... so let’s request for their credentials. In the credential deck, it will cover the type of services they provide, their track records and the past/existing clientele.

Also, if an agency lacks your domain industry vertical experience, it doesn’t warrant as an immediate dis-qualifier. Probe on how the agency has advanced and performed in previously uncharted industries for their clients.

Here are some of the recommended questions for you to ask the agency during the initial discovery call/ meeting

  • How long have you been in business?
  • What are your key industry verticals?
  • How many staffs do you have?
  • Have you done this or that before (for our industry)?
  • How were the results of that campaign or engagement?
  • What were some of your learnings from that specific campaign or engagement?
  • Give an example of how will you do rebranding/ digital marketing/lead gen etc for our company given our current situation?

Tip: Outstanding delivery is a result of great alignment between the agency and the client. Work with an agency that can truly understand your business and capture your needs. Check how aligned the agency is using a brief document, the final deliverables must be clearly defined.


The qualifying process is 2 ways, at agencies, we qualify prospect too. There are deals which we will outrightly turn down because it is not sustainable or may daunt our quality of works. Sharing of a budget range (if possible) will save both your agency and your time, as the agency can scope up the optimal services mix and proposal on your budget.

You might wonder why the drastic discrepancies in price range among agencies, simply because there is no standardised rate card for agency services. The following are some questions I recommend thinking through before approaching agencies:

  • What is your budget range?
  • Do you need quality and rapid turnarounds?
  • Do you need dedicated support?
  • How many revisions you might need?
  • Do you prefer a strategic agency can singlehandedly manage your project end to end or an agency that you don’t mind handholding throughout the process?
  • Is the saving worth the risk of the detrimental cost incurred in the unfortunate event of agency subpar performance?

Tip: If you have a budget or range in mind, just be upfront and transparent with the agency - “I like to have this service and receive x business results at this budget. Can it be done?”

Relationship and Synergy

“The addition of a new line or to modify this requirement will cost you this X manhours amount”. - Agency

  • Is the agency responsive to you?
  • Is the agency's working pace aligned to yours?
  • Is the agency flexible to your requirements changes?
  • Does the agency strictly follows a plan or adaptively respond to change?
  • Does the agency intuitively get what you need?
  • Do you foresee friction working with this agency?

In today’s digital era, speed is critical. Agency needs agility and empowerment to manevoure. At Republic Asia, our digital campaigns are monitored daily (365 days) and optimisation happens continuously.

Establishing strong foundational rapport allows increased flexibility in navigating towards an enhanced final delivery.

Synergy is essential. A vendor that delivers output is common. A business partner who instinctively knows the end goal, understands the gap and execute the necessities flawlessly for you is hard to come by. Communication is a 2-way street. Build that synergy.

Tip: Get to acquaint the account/ creatives/ marketers/ developers for the project. Share your compliments and feedback. Agency individuals are passionate in their craft and will love to hear how their works fare. Have more face time or schedule routine check-in with the agency. Cost of synergy outweighs a cheaper agency quote who are misaligned.

We hope you find this article helpful. Now go find that partner.

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