How to get the best out of your new marketing agency

Working with a new agency, like all professional relationships has it’s up’s and downs. Where it should be a streamlined process telling the project manager what it is you want and then a few days later it appears in your inbox there are always a few of those jobs that just never happen that way.

From the ‘big idea’ to minor artworking jobs, there is always a process to go through in order to get the best out of your agency. Below are a few tips to help you get the best out of your new marketing agency;

Sense check

Approaching the right agency for a particular campaign that you have in mind is a good start, different agencies may specialise in different services, such as digital, creative, consultancy etc.  it might be worth asking your agency to send you over a creds presentation so that you can see the kind of work they have done before and can see the type of work they can do.  Sometimes you may be asking your agency to undertake a task that may need additional expertise, agencies generally have a bank of resource and suppliers that they can call on but check they have them and whether or not they have any examples of similar projects. 

The brief

The work will only ever be as good as the brief you give to the agency. It’s basically as simple as that. A bad brief leads to disappointments, extra rounds of amends and tweaks and usually there is an element of dissatisfaction on either side. A good agency will almost always ask you questions about any brief you provide to ensure they fully understand your requirements, a brilliant agency will ask if what your asking for in your brief is the right thing for you and the audience you are trying to reach.

Be as clear as possible as to what it is you are expecting from the agency. Highlight deadlines and budgets early on so that your agency can provide you with plausible ideas within the parameters you have set.

If you have never worked with  the agency before it’s always a good idea to sit down and talk through the project face to face and meet who you will be working with, miscommunication can happen very easily and can be detrimental to a brief if not all stakeholders are not working to the same page.

If you have branding guidelines, share them with your agency, make them aware of any key messages and copy points that will need to be included. Be upfront about anything else that may need to be considered in the creative process such as regulatory requirements, review and sign off process, any copyright restrictions as well as any imagery that may need to be included or sourced.

Managing expectations

This is important on both sides so as to be sure that both agency and client are happy with the results. Sometimes clients can approach an agency with a massive campaign or idea that has all the bells and whistles with big expectations. When they see the quote and as to how much it will cost to have all the bells and whistles it can put a dampner on the project before it’s even begun. It’s always best to agree some parameters with the agency first and see where the agency can add value before any work begins.

Another place to manage expectations and communicate to each other is what you would like your final creative to look like, most clients already have an idea as to what they want when they approach an agency. If possible, communicate this to your agency, they will always try to take your comments on board to ensure that you are happy with the end result. It may be that designers and creative bods can come up with an alternative creative or proposition that you hadn’t thought of and that you either love or don’t like at all. That’s the great thing about creative working, it can bring about lots of ideas before you get to the finished thing.

The final thing to manage is timelines. Projects can run over for various reasons, agencies will generally try to put everything they can into meeting your deadlines, but if there is no chance of ever meeting it in the first place then the project is pretty much doomed from the start.

As long as you communicate specific requirements such as deadlines to your agency, they will keep you informed as to whether they can meet your deadline or additional time will be needed. Negotiate where necessary and agree reasonable timelines for each stage of a project accepting responsibility for any action points that you may need to undertake to ensure there are no hold ups on your side.


Communicating with your agency is important throughout any project is important whether large or small. An agency will be used to receiving feedback and amends to be made to artwork, but how these are communicated can affect the work and what is done.

Clear action points as opposed to passing statements and questions are needed as your PM will need to give these to their creative team,  if instructions aren’t clear it can hold up a project whilst clarification is sought. Check the instructions you pass onto your PM and be willing to discuss any points that may need explaining from you.

Working with a marketing agency can be a great working relationship and usually all people involved want to help you deliver the message you need to the audience you need. As your relationship with the agency develops the above will become second nature and you will start to see even better results from your agency as they learn more about you and your marketing needs.

Holly Waite

Holly works in the business development and marketing team, helping to drive Purple's new business strategy. She has worked with Purple for over two years and supports Purple's teams in delivering engaging experiences for our clients.