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Every facet of marketing requires a specialized skill, and not everyone in an in-house organization may be an expert in a particular area. Or, maybe your organization has a fleet of marketers with just the niche skill set, but they don't have the bandwidth to get to everything on the checklist.

Whichever the case of your marketing organization, third-party help is often a good idea. But not everyone is worthy of a relationship with your business.

Here's what you need to know to make sure you filter out the riffraff and find an agency partner that actually jibes with your company and, most important, helps your bottom line.

1. Gain full transparency into your extra support

Full transparency about who will be assigned to your account and in what capacity should be established before you sign on the dotted line. You may work with an amazing leader in the company as you design the project strategy, but those people won't necessarily give your account much attention post-sale. So, knowing the people who will be doing the work is crucial.

2. What does the agency know about your company?

Just as you would gauge the quality of a job candidate in an interview by asking what she knows about your company, do the same with potential agency partners. If they've done their homework, by the time they present to you they'll know how your organization is structured, what you current marketing mix is, who is on your board of directors, what your brand voice is like, and how many visitors your website gets a month. (You get the gist.) The very best should be able to tell you things about your organization that even you don't know.

3. Consider the billing structure

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image of Allie Gray  Freeland

Allie Gray Freeland is PR director at NYC- and Phoenix- based iAcquire, which offers digital marketing services that encompass organic search, digital PR, and social media.

Twitter: @AllieGrayFree

LinkedIn: Allie Gray Freeland


image of Joe Griffin

Joe Griffin is the CEO and a co-founder of ClearVoice, a content marketing technology company for high-quality blogs and other content destinations.

Twitter: @joegriffin

LinkedIn: Joe Griffin