What to discuss with your CEO before hiring a digital marketing agency

Hiring a Marketing Agency

There’s a common situation that tends to happen when organizations are ready to make a change with their marketing efforts. It could be that the year is ending and it’s time to reevaluate those numbers. You’ll want to figure out if your marketing dollars were well spent and what the outcome was. What channels were most productive and which ones failed miserably? How do we exclude the noise and determine a strategy that will give us efficient results? What would it take to achieve those results?


When we first sit down with a VP of Marketing or Marketing Manager, our questions are centered around the organization’s goals. If the person in charge of marketing is not included in company goal discussions and are not prepared to answer these types of questions, we will assign them homework so that we can discover together if their organization is ready to hire a digital marketing agency like us. 

If you have been given the task of hiring a digital marketing agency for your company or organization, discuss these things with your CEO first. Marketing is not just arts and crafts, so don’t be afraid to get that CEO involved.

Contractor or Partner

When thinking about hiring a marketing agency, does the organization need a contractor or a partner? Are you explaining your goals and challenges, and counting on an agency to get you there? Or do you know exactly what needs to get done and you just need someone to execute.

CEO Vision

The marketing team needs to have a clear idea of what the CEO envisions for the company. What would their ideal marketing partner do for them? If you don’t know this, you run the risk of allocating a lot of time and effort vetting out a company that the CEO doesn’t want to partner with.


Some organizations will tell their marketing team to go out and get a bunch of quotes. But you want to make sure you know your ballpark before you contact an agency. Some questions to ask your CEO would be; How much did we allocate to marketing last year and to which channels did that investment go? Are we looking to cut expenses or become more aggressive? What amount of sales are we looking to bring in from our website or inbound marketing campaign? These are key questions that will save everyone time.


It is helpful to know what the CEO expects in regards to timeline. For some organizations there is an urgency to go live due to upcoming events or recent changes. Others just want to make sure it’s done right. A clear understanding when a project should start and when it should launch is vital.


Last but not least, what are the CEO expectations for the hired marketing efforts. You would be surprised that by the time the meeting takes place, no one in the room has a clear focused answer on what the organization is looking to achieve. You could be aiming for retention, increasing traffic, more leads, higher conversion rates, better qualified leads, brand recognition, more sales, or all of the above. What percentage does the organization want to increase these by? Make sure this discussion takes place with your CEO. This way your future marketing partner gets a gauge on how aggressive they would need to be to meet the demands in the ideal timeframe.
Before you schedule your first meeting with a marketing agency, make sure you have these things ironed out. A qualified agency shouldn’t be giving you a proposal unless they know the answers to these questions.

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About Fred Schall

Fred Schall is the co-founder of Schall Creative. He has been designing and developing websites since 1997. You can find him on Twitter @mrfredschall.