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 with a gamut of core strengths, the options can be overwhelming. With so much saturation, 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 advantages. Agency professionals live and breathe advertising, and applying their expertise to marketing initiatives can bolster authority for a brand. Additionally, agency partners see a business from all perspectives, and is a valuable trait for crafting fresh brand messages.

Here are the things to consider when selecting an agency:

1. What is my advertising objective?

It is crucial for you to have an idea of what you want to accomplish with your advertising efforts. Are you launching something new? Do you need to reach a quantifiable goal? The world of marketing is vast, and hiring a broadcast production service or a publication may not be the best choice if you are hoping for seamless brand intent. Know the best ROI will stem from those who excel at brand strategy and execution, and not selling ad space.

2. Choose an advertising agency with focus.

Agencies who spend a bulk of their day targeting specific audience types will already be acclimated with the needs and concerns associated with them, whether it’s B2B or B2C. Simply put, daily know-how reaches marketing goals faster. Also, keep an eye out for those specializing within industries. They can assist with a USP and distinguish you from the competitive landscape because of their familiarity.

3. Find a committed ad agency.

Communication is two-way street. No agency understands your business like you do. In order for a healthy relationship to exist and prosper, a valuable agency will listen, practice inclusion, and not mind educating “behind the curtain.” Transparency goes a long way … as does a genuine interest in your industry. Outcomes are that much sweeter when they are. Regardless of the fact, you are not their only client but they should always make you feel that way.

4. Large Agency vs Small Agency

Your agency selection could also be influenced by a few other variables. This includes your budget, and their scale of resources, among any other personal preferences you desire. Large agency offerings are impressive with layers of process for good reason, while a small agency is more likely to provide a boutique experience with responsive nimbleness. However, nothing is really the rule, and like all things, there’s an array of full-service agencies out there ready to solve your unique challenge.

5. What is an integrated agency?

The term advertising agency has become somewhat archaic. Today, the integrated marketing agency acts as the preferred extension of a business. Their approach is holistic and they are equipped to promote a brand across all marketing channels without solution bias; a perk for you knowing recommendations won’t be avoided due to a weakness in a particular area. Of course, forming a relationship with an agency that is already aware of your brand makes conversations that much easier, but keep your opportunities open.

If you have found yourself at a point where adding an advertising agency for support seems like the next logical step for growth, we hope we’ve made the hunt a little easier. You will find that deeper research will ultimately reward you with a partner who will elevate your brand to the next level.