I’ve always been careful when making a big purchase. I research it for months, analyze it carefully, and talk about it to anyone who knows a lot about whatever I’m buying.  My most recent purchase and – without a doubt – my most favorite purchase, was a 2010 Jeep Wrangler.

When choosing a marketing agency, treat it somewhat like buying a vehicle.

Research it. What’s the company’s history? Do they have integrity and a list of testimonials backing it up? When I researched the Jeep, I also looked at maintenance cost. If your agency is going to surprise you with unforeseen fees each month, it’s helpful to know that ahead of time so you can be prepared for it or take your business elsewhere.

Test-drive it. The first thing the salesman offered me was a test drive. He knew that once I drove it, I would know more about whether or not I wanted to make the purchase. Had it been difficult to drive, had a clear engine problem, or not started at all, I definitely wouldn’t have bought it. In your initial meetings with an agency, pay attention. Do they seem to be running smoothly? Are you easily conversing with them? Are they answering the questions you ask? These things should be taken into consideration prior to signing a contract.

Compare to others. I didn’t buy the first Jeep I came across – though I must say I was tempted. I knew the price was too high for the year and miles it had on it. Even though it ran smoothly as it had for years, I knew there was a better one out there for me. Because I had done my research, I knew what the market value was. I began shopping around and was ultimately successful. Do the same with ad agencies. If it doesn’t feel like the right fit, keep looking. Don’t settle for less than anything that’s right for your company.