What to Look for When Selecting an Agency: Red Flags and Key Indicators

Choosing an agency can be a difficult decision and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and energy of a pitch. Having an agency that is going to perform how you need it to is incredibly important, especially when you are relying on them for your marketing efforts.

There is endless literature written about carefully choosing your agency in almost every industry because it’s that important. What to seek out, what to avoid, and how to choose from the vast pool of agencies are popular topics of discussion as agencies continue to evolve and companies grow increasingly dissatisfied with them. Even the members of the Forbes Agency Council have input on the matter. Based on my experience and years in the field, I’m sharing what I consider to be the most common red flags that might indicate your agency isn’t a good fit.

A junior team.

We love our junior team members, but a good agency will sprinkle them in with seasoned experts to ensure that the work being produced is nothing short of exceptional. When you hire an agency, you are relying on their expertise and looking to them for guidance. If you have a team full of junior level people, they are learning, too. A junior team can also be an indicator of high turnover in a company, which brings us to the next red flag.


If your team is always changing because of people switching positions or leaving the company, that should be a huge red flag. First of all, if you don’t have a consistent team, you are constantly going to be dealing with people trying to play catch up on your account. Additionally, a high turnover rate in a company points to bigger internal problems (such as company culture), which is more bad news.

They aren’t outthinking you.

You hired an agency to bring expertise and creative minds to your business that could up your marketing efforts. If they are delivering work, concepts, and ideas that your team could have (or maybe already has) thought of, that agency isn’t of much value to your company. Also, you shouldn’t be receiving generic, cookie-cutter deliverables. A good agency delivers high-caliber, personalized content.

You don’t feel like a priority.

This can be a result of turnover with your team, not getting customized deliverables, or not having an engaged team…but whatever the cause, you don’t feel like you are being treated like a priority. The best agencies know how to do good work while also staying attentive and nurturing their relationships with their clients. If you don’t feel like a priority, it’s time to re-evaluate your choice of agency.

Your agency should work for you and perform how you need it to. It is important to go into a pitch with your eyes wide open, and recognize the signs that an agency isn’t a good fit for your company. The right agency can do wonders for your brand and business, so make sure you know what to expect and when to call it quits with an agency that isn’t working.


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