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How to Choose a Full Service Digital Marketing Agency: Avoiding the Pit Falls

Are you reading this post because you had a bad experience with a marketing agency? Or, do you have a hunch that a bad marketing agency could drain your resources faster than you could say boo, leaving you with fewer funds and no results?

Full Service Digital Marketing Agency Members at Work

Are you reading this post because you had a bad experience with a marketing agency?

Or, do you have a hunch that a bad marketing agency could drain your resources faster than you could say boo, leaving you with fewer funds and no results?

If you’re doing your research—that is, you’re learning how to choose a good full service digital marketing company—you’re already a step ahead. When you know what a great full service digital agency looks like, you’re in a better position to succeed.

That’s why we’ve devoted an entire post to teaching you what to look for in a full service digital advertising agency. Read on to learn what to look for when hiring an agency, how to identify red flags, and how to avoid common pitfalls.

By the end of this post, you’ll know how to hire a terrific marketing agency.

Narrow Your Choices and Create Your Short-List

1. Learn what they offer then look for proof of their capabilities

When compiling a short list of marketing agencies, note the services they offer. Not all full-service digital marketing agencies offer the same services. Some focus on branding, public relations, and website design. Others focus on SEO and lead generation. However, a true full-service digital marketing agency will be able to take care of everything.

Look for: Look for a full-service agency that offers the following services: branding, SEO, social media management, online reputation management, influencer marketing, website development, content curation and creation, email marketing campaigns, B2B digital marketing programs, and chatbots.

Avoid: Avoid agencies that call themselves full-service but only advertise a single service. They may or may not be full-service, but chances are they’re experts in a small area of marketing and won’t be as useful as you think in other areas.

Ask: Ask short-listed marketing agencies to show you their portfolio. You can use their past experiences to evaluate whether they are truly capable of providing full-service marketing support.

2. Look for a holistic approach to marketing

Holistic Marketing Written on a Laptop

Successful marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Marketing goes hand-in-hand with your company’s business principles. A good marketing agency knows this and works hard to develop a complete understanding of your business.

Look for: Look for a company that advertises and takes a holistic approach to marketing.

Avoid: Avoid agencies that don’t warn you about the ceiling effects of running your marketing operations in “airtight containers.” These agencies are in the business to earn a quick buck and chances are you won’t be happy with their work.

Ask: Marketing agencies that answer these questions correctly may be worth hiring:

  • Will you collaborate with our in-house team to coordinate all marketing activities?
    A good agency will be like part of your team, so all your marketing efforts will be appropriately integrated. Integrating your marketing efforts contributes to success.
  • What are you more equipped for—creative content generation or lead-generation?

    Some marketing agencies are all about producing creative content with entertainment value. Although this content tends to be successful on social media, it doesn’t usually generate the high volume of new leads and sales most companies are looking for when they hire an agency. You want a marketing agency that takes a holistic approach—that is, an agency that balances creative content generation with business-driven marketing practices.

Choosing the Right Agency from your Short List

Full Service Digital Advertising Agency Members at Work

Hiring the right digital marketing agency is like hiring an employee. Even though they will have different roles, your evaluation process will be similar because you want to make sure you hire the best candidate for the job. So, once you’ve reviewed the agencies on your short list, it’s time to really “quiz” each agency. Here’s what to look for and what to avoid.

3. Discuss your needs then ask the agency how they’d address them and get a quote

When you sit down to have a longer conversation with each agency on your list, go through your brief with them. Be specific about your needs, your assets, your weaknesses, and your goals. Then turn the tables and ask the agency’s representative how they’d address your needs, how they’d measure their success, and what they’d charge.

Look for: Look for an agency that spends time with you before you become a client. You’ll also want to look for an agency that takes your concerns seriously. At the end of the day, it’s important to trust your gut at this step of the selection process.

Avoid: Avoid agencies that try to rush early meetings and avoid agencies that can’t or won’t explain how they would execute your marketing. The last thing you need is an agency that uses black hat practices. Transparency is a must and you’re right to insist on it. If you weren’t satisfied with an agency’s answers, you probably won’t be happy with their work.

4. Meet the Team

Meeting Your Full Service Digital Advertising Agency Team Members

Before signing on the dotted line, speak to the team of
people that would be working on your account. Basically, meet the people doing
the work. Don’t stop at the sales pitch. You’re investing a lot of money, so an
in-person meeting is something you need to do, even if it requires travel.

5. Choose value over cost

Evaluating value is the last step you’ll need to take when you select an agency. At this stage, your job is to focus on value, quality of service, and the agency’s ability to meet your needs.

Look for: Look for an agency that offers value. Higher costs are often justified if the agency has remarkable capabilities and a strong portfolio.

Avoid: Cheap agencies aren’t the steal they appear to be. You should treat a marketing agency as an employee. When you hire a new staff member, you’re investing in a professional, so you’re willing to pay them a professional wage. Same goes for hiring a digital agency. Don’t pass over an agency because they’re charging more. Professionals charge higher rates. If you want professional-level work, you’ll need to pay professional rates.


Congratulations! You now know how to choose a top-notch full-service digital marketing agency. So, proceed with confidence!

Find several agencies, create a short-list, evaluate your top picks, assess their value, and establish a partnership.

A talented and reliable digital marketing agency will be one of your best investments for years to come.

Interested in learning more? Please speak to the specialists at fishbat to get started.

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