Symbolbild: Auswählen einer geeigneten Agentur - Office-Szene

Agency checklist: What to look for when choosing an agency

Reading time: 6 minutes

Table of contents

Agencies are a dime a dozen. The spectrum ranges from classic full-service agencies to specialized service providers. Finding the right partner is not that easy and the selection process can be more complicated than previously thought. However, there are some criteria that you should definitely consider when choosing your new agency, in order to be able to exclude unpleasant surprises within the cooperation in advance.

General criteria for the right agency

Agency type

We already went into detail about the different types of agencies in the last blog post. Choosing the right type of agency is the basis for your further selection process. Once you know which type of agency is suitable for your project, you should consider the following criteria in the further process.

Size and existence

How long has the agency been in existence and how many employees with what skills does it comprise? Even though size and a long existence alone are no guarantee for a successful cooperation, these criteria are an indication for a successful agency.


You must decide for yourself in advance whether proximity to your own location is important. In any case, it can facilitate many things and also makes personal coordination, beyond e-mail or telephone, uncomplicated. This can be particularly helpful for projects with a limited time frame and accelerate decision-making processes. It’s worth looking around the local area and supporting the regional economy. Often the right agency is closer than you think.


How flexibly does the agency respond to your personal wishes and requirements and how available are they to you? Inflexible and unreliable availability before the project starts suggests that things will not necessarily get better within the project. The more inflexible the agency’s response to your personal requirements, the greater the likelihood that you will receive an “off-the-shelf” concept. For some projects this may not be a problem, but for others it can be problematic.

Reputation & References

What references can be found on the agency website? Does the previous client structure fit your organization and what is the reputation of the agency? To find out, you don’t need to start a complicated search, but in case of doubt, just pick up the phone and ask previous customers about cooperation. This often provides more information than an hour-long Google search.

Industry experience

What about their industry experience? The previous customer structure provides information about the agency’s industry experience. To do this, simply browse through the references and look at the profiles and industry affiliations of previous customers. Industry experience is helpful in any case, as it usually requires a shorter familiarization with the topic and requirements can be mapped more easily due to industry-specific characteristics.

First impression

The first impression counts. What do you think of the agency’s web presence? Is she likeable and does her appearance suit you? Here you should trust your gut feeling.

Mode of operation and competence focus

Professional and social competence

In order to get an impression of how the agency works, you should get to know either the entire team or at least your direct contact person (usually the project manager) and check their professional and social competence.

Core competence

Requirements for agencies are becoming increasingly complex as digitization advances. Full-service agencies are increasingly unable to meet these requirements, which is why specialized agencies for almost all subject areas have emerged with increasing tendency. That’s why you should take a good look at the agency’s core competency. As a general rule, it is better to have one thing right than to have only half knowledge in many areas.


Does the agency have any certifications or awards (e.g. for innovation) or distinctions?

Technical know-how

Strong technical know-how is usually essential for the survival of today’s agencies. The lack of this know-how is precisely the reason for the “extinction” of classic full-service agencies.

Marketing understanding and creativity

Look at the results of previous projects and evaluate whether the style of these elaborations suits you. In projects with other customers, you can also check well whether a typical style in respect of corporate / brand design is recognizable. It is worth comparing different customer projects to be able to rule out “off-the-shelf concepts” where only color and logo have been changed.

Conditions and prices

Does the offer meet your individual requirements and briefing content or do you feel you are only receiving the standard template? Is it clear how the prices are made up? Make sure that the service content and daily rates are transparent in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Gut feeling can also guide you

Last but not least, your gut feeling counts. Especially because the cooperation with agencies sometimes even lasts for several years, the chemistry between you should be right and you should feel well taken care of and advised by the agency. Do you feel that the agency responds individually and flexibly to all your requirements and do you feel that you are in good hands? If the answer is yes, then you should take off together!

You might also be interested in

Photographer shows marketing expert photos on tablet - symbolic image professional image management for companies