The Mad Men days are over. Today, it’s not just New York Madison Avenue agencies dominating the advertising world anymore—there are thousands out there. From two-person boutique agencies to mega-agencies with offices scattered around the globe, and all with their own specialties and strengths, the options can be overwhelming. With so many fish in the sea, how do you pick the best advertising agency fit for you?

Many businesses rely on in-house abilities for marketing and advertising. But as they grow, partnering with an advertising agency often becomes a necessary move in the process. Outsourced marketing definitely has its perks. Agency professionals live and breathe advertising, and applying their creative expertise to your marketing screams credibility and expertise for your business. Additionally, agency creative can see your business from the consumer standpoint, which helps in creating a message that speaks for and to your public.

Here are the things to look for when considering an agency:

1. Ask yourself what your end goal is.

It is crucial for you to have an understanding of what you want to accomplish with your advertising. The world of marketing is wide, and an advertising agency that might make incredible websites may not be the best choice if you are looking to improve PR. Understand the best advertising options for your type of audience, and choose an agency partner with expertise in those areas.

2. Hunt down an agency with experience in your industry.

Agencies who have knowledge of your type of business will already be acclimated with the needs and concerns associated to your area of work. Industry experts know how to achieve successful strategic marketing efforts. Keep an eye out for the ones that focus in a particular industry but are able to make your brand look unique and distinguish you from their other clients.

3. Find a committed partner.

Communication is the key for a good relationship with your agency. Make sure they’ll keep you in the loop with their work and the outcomes. In order for a healthy relationship to exist and be maintained, there needs to be open communication and commitment. Regardless of the fact you’re not their only client, they should make you feel like you are.

4. Small fish or the big guys?

The size of your agency depends on the options of services you need. This includes your budget, and their scale of resources, among any other personal preferences you may have. Big agencies may offer a wide range of services, but when working with a small agency, they’re more likely to be experts in a specific kind of practice or industry. However, nothing is really the rule, and like everything, there are small full-services agencies out there that might just be what you need.

5. Consider a full-service advertising agency.

Full-service agencies integrate all aspects of your campaign under one umbrella, hence saving you money and strengthening your brand. Although you may not need all the tools an agency of that type can offer, at this moment. Someday you might need to expand your product line, invest more time in PR, plan an event or presentation. Ultimately, having a partnership in place with an agency that already knows your brand inside and out will make opening up those new projects smoother, and keep your look and messaging cohesive.

If you have found yourself at a point in your business where adding an advertising agency for marketing seems like the next logical step for growth, follow these rules, and you will find that with a little research you can end up with the kind of partner that will elevate your brand to the next level.