Relationships are hard work. Friendships, dating, marriages... they all have ups, downs, twists, and turns. Yet another type of relationship that requires some extra TLC is the one between clients and their marketing agency.

Sometimes, just finding the right agency is the biggest hurdle. There are plenty of agency fish in the sea, but you need to find the special one that can adapt and thrive in your company's pond.

Here are six tips for cultivating a lasting, meaningful relationship with your marketing agency of choice.

1. Commit for the long-term

A relationship will never be successful without sufficient levels of commitment from both sides. After a thorough vetting and interviewing process, your team should be confident enough in your choice to fully trust your new agency's abilities.

To get to that point, ask the right questions when comparing your agency candidates:

  • Request to speak with the agency owner.
  • Meet your project manager; it's important to mesh with the person you'll be in contact with day-to-day.
  • Ask for introductions to, or for the bios of, the other key team members; vet their experience.
  • Be sure the agency has niche experience in your industry—ask for relevant industry associations, key partnerships, other work they've done in your industry, and longevity in the space.
  • Get quantifiable results from the agency's current or past clients in your industry.
  • Ask for referrals and use them.

Quality agencies typically won't engage on small, limited-time, or one-off projects. They want to sink their teeth into a meaty, long-term engagement. They want to be your partner and share in your success.

Remember that results take time. Agencies want to work with companies that understand that and won't threaten their contract if leads aren't delivered in Week Two.

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image of Brian Shilling

Brian Shilling is branding and digital marketing director at Clarity Quest Marketing, a full-service agency for healthcare and technology companies.

LinkedIn: Brian Shilling

Twitter: @Shilling_Brian