[Infographic] Everything You Need to Know When Looking for a Creative Agency: A Checklist


When you have a project that involves a huge creative requirement that your existing in-house team cannot accommodate, enlisting the help of a creative agency is the obvious choice.


After all, outsourcing a creative agency has been proven to be more cost-effective than hiring in-house designers. An agency relieves you of the various expenses entailed with hiring an in-house design team, as well as reduce the time-to-market. As a result, you get your ROI quicker.


The right creative partner can help you produce and manage campaigns more effectively and therefore sustain your company’s winning marketing performance. The key is to find a creative agency that understands your needs, is a culture fit for your company, and has the capability to deliver your design needs.


Let this checklist to help you further on your hunt for the right creative design agency for your business.


Everything You Need to Know When Looking for a Creative Agency: A Checklist


Knowing When You Need to Hire An Agency

Tapping into an agency gives you access to a pool of fresh and innovative ideas. Aside from that, look out for the signs that you need the services of a creative design agency.


For one, the number of people you have in-house does not match the scale of your projects and overloading your team has compromised the quality of their outputs. Another case could be a skills gap. Your department may have top-notch marketers, but are missing a critical skill set such as design skills needed to create PPC ads or animated infomercials for your planned social media campaign.


In these cases, you’ll need to supplement your team with people who have the expertise and experience. With recruiting costs, monthly salaries, benefits, and tax, the expenses of hiring an in-house design team can pile up quickly. Thus, hiring a creative design firm like MicroCreatives is the optimal route.


Moreover, if you are struggling to break into new markets, an agency who has experience working in the industry you’re targeting will know what to do to build your brand reputation and identify your ideal customers. Additionally, an agency can put more balance between your subjective opinion and their objective view of your product for a more holistic approach in your campaigns.


If you’ve hit any or all of the abovementioned curbs, it’s time to outsource your creative requirements.


Things to Discuss with an Agency

Before starting your search, it is important that you identify the nature and scope of the project you want to take to a creative firm. Disclose your working budget and your target deadline as these details will be used to plan what or how many resources will be needed to execute your project.


Be sure to discuss your objectives and set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) with the agency. For instance, if your project entails creating social media graphics promoting your group tour services, your goal might be to acquire at least 500 inquiries for your services. You might have more than one goal, with each goal directed at helping you solve the problems you’re facing in your business.


Searching for a Partner Agency

When searching on Google for a creative agency, it would be best to set some parameters to help Google deliver the most relevant results. You may use keywords pertaining to your budget, location, or nature of business instead of just typing in “creative design agencies for hire” in the search box.


You can also leverage your professional network to help you find your partner agency. Ask for recommendations or referrals from your social media followers, colleagues, or friends to help you get more leads.


What to Look for in an Agency

You can identify legitimate creative agencies if they fulfill the following requirements:

  • They have a list of clients they have worked with. If the agency has done work for other companies in your market, you might want to ask how the agency plans to distinguish your project from those of others. A featured list of clients also gives you a gauge on the caliber of the agency.
  • There are actual testimonials and social media reviews from past or existing clients. If a particular work on the agency’s website interests you but doesn’t feature any testimonial, ask if the agency can connect you with the owner of the project to get feedback. Online reviews from previous clients can also reveal whether working with the agency was a pleasure or a struggle.
  • They can show published case studies and portfolios. Check if the agency’s website is up and running, and features sample works and updated blog posts. Their portfolios are telling signs that the agency can deliver what they promised. A blog, on the other hand, shows thought leadership.
  • They’re using proprietary tools and methods. Creative agencies will have access to relevant technologies that help facilitate communication and collaboration with internal and external partners.
  • They share the values, work ethic, or culture of your company. Look for an agency that understands how you think and work since you’ll be collaborating on creative levels.
  • They have the capability to reach your goals. Winning agencies know the best practices in your industry and can devise strategies to deliver high-quality results for your business.
  • They suit your business’s resources. Apart from your company’s budget, your internal processes and approval layers shouldn’t be too far apart from what your chosen agency can provide.


Narrowing Down Your Selection

Keep things simple! Narrow your search to around 5 to 10 options. Include agencies that specialize in your industry. Moreover, don’t be afraid to consider outsourcing offshore. If your business is based in Europe, North America, or Australia, you can cut overhead costs by tapping a creative agency in Asia, such as MicroCreatives.


Making Initial Contact to Discuss Project

By this time, shortlisted agencies might be down to half the original number in your list of options. Take note of those who are quick to respond to your queries. Ideally, it should take agencies only several days to a week to clarify unclear details that they included in their proposal.


When sending a request for proposal (RFP), outline in detail what you’re expecting from potential partner agencies in terms of costing, timelines, strategies, and other relevant project requirements.


Comparing Responses and Making a Decision

Before signing any contract, thoroughly check the terms and conditions that are being offered. What does the package say about inclusions and exclusions? For example, most agencies will allow you to use the artwork in any medium without expressed approval. If you are required to license the work from them, they might not be the best option for you.


Your chosen agency should also be transparent. You don’t want to be promised something but be kept in the dark as to what’s going on in the project. If an agency tells you that it has a certain number of artists or designers working on your project, you should be able to interact with the point persons during project meetings.


Do the Ultimate Check

Use this checklist to help you choose the right creative design agency for your business. Since your partner agency is fundamental to your brand’s success, make sure they can fulfill your creative requirements and pass the ultimate check.


Among creative agencies, MicroCreatives ticks all the boxes in your checklist. Contact MicroCreatives now and see for yourself.