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Hiring a new marketing agency is an investment in time and resources.

Why hire a marketing agency?

Experienced marketing agencies offer a fresh perspective and can give clients insight into specific customers, products and business. Marketing agencies can remain focused on strategy, creative, etc., while not getting bogged down with business matters. They also provide expertise and support to in-house teams that are working at or above their capacity.

Specialty marketing agencies add value

In some cases, even when a company has one or more marketing agencies in its network, it may bring in a specialty firm that can help target a specific demographic, such as the Millennial or youth market. A specialty agency can successfully execute a certain type of program proficiently and develop relevant assets. The right agency working within its area of expertise should be able to execute fresh, exciting work with creativity and efficiency.

Marketing agency hiring process

Once the decision to hire a marketing agency is made, the following are valuable steps in the agency hiring process.

Request For Proposal

Request For Proposal (RFP)

A good first step is for the company to identify and document its needs. Doing this gives a prospective agency insight into the company’s goals. It also can help stakeholders within the company’s organization align on key elements of the program and prevent unmet expectations later. The approach to documenting your needs can vary from listing a few key points written in an email to a detailed Request for Proposal.

A good RFP will outline the following:

  • Business and brand background and positioning
  • Summary of desired work and objectives (include any special expectations and considerations)
  • Details on targeted consumers (and customers and/or distribution and retail systems if appropriate)
  • Budget
  • Timelines for responding to the brief and for the program

Some clients prefer not to provide budget information, however a budget is necessary in guiding the agency to develop feasible solutions to the company’s marketing challenges. Agencies will spend a great deal of time and energy responding to an RFP, therefore potential clients should be clear with the agency about the following:

  • If an agency may not be hired as a result of the process
  • If funding has not been approved for the agency’s proposed projects


Research Potential Agencies

There are a few ways to research potential agencies. You might network within your organization or research trade publications. When you identify a potential candidate, you should have an initial phone interview with the agency to discuss your project and the agency’s capabilities.

As you conduct this interview, consider the following:

  • Does the agency really do the things you’re looking for or are they just saying, “we can do everything”?
  • Can the agency provide examples of past work (done in the last three years) that is relevant to your needs?
  • Does the agency have other clients that you think can serve as a reference point for your own needs/goals?
  • Is there chemistry and personality fit?
  • Does the agency have a formal system to manage work and update clients on progress?
  • How does the agency staff client accounts?
  • How does the agency bill for services?

RFP Discussion

Provide the RFP

When selecting agencies to respond to the Request for Proposal, be available to discuss it with each agency. Remember, the more details you communicate about your project, the more likely the proposals will fit your needs. Give each agency a reasonable RFP due date of at least two weeks.


Evaluate the Agency Proposals

Plan to review agency proposals in-person or via phone conference, allowing the agency to present the proposal and not just email it to you to read. Criteria for evaluating proposals should be identified in advance and consistently applied to each agency. This typically includes agency expertise, topline concepts, ability to execute, how the program will be measured, budget analysis and other factors specific to the project.



Hiring the agency typically involves signing a service agreement, agreeing on a payment schedule and having a kick-off meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Fuse different from other marketing agencies?

Fuse focuses on teen and young adult consumers. Fuse presents a client’s message in an authentic voice that is critical in connecting with young consumers.

How does Fuse work with new clients?

A relationship with a new client typically starts with a phone call or a meeting between one of Fuse’s Partners or Directors and a prospective client. This initial meeting is to determine if the client’s objectives and Fuse’s experience are a match.

The information that Fuse seeks to determine if there’s a fit includes:

  • Background information on the client’s specific project and goals
  • Details on a project budget
  • Timeline of the program

Fuse will then develop a proposal and present it to the prospective client to provide its’ services.

Does Fuse respond to RFPs (Request For Proposals)

Fuse will respond to an RFP if the agency’s Partners and Directors feel that the project is a good fit and after the agency has met the prospective client in person or by phone. Please either submit your RFP here or via email:

How does Fuse determine a project’s costs and its agency fees?

Fuse develops fees based on the projected number of agency hours dedicated to a project or group of projects. Agency fees include the cost of agency staff compensation, overhead and an agency profit margin. In addition to fees, project expenses are estimated in advance and billed to our clients. In most cases, project expenses are billed at cost.

Is Fuse a local, regional, or national agency?

Fuse works mainly in the U.S, but also executes programs in Europe, South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Does Fuse have a brochure it can provide?

You can obtain most agency information and case studies about Fuse on our website. To request a capabilities presentation or discuss a specific project, contact Fuse.

My company has one or more agencies at our disposal. Why would I need Fuse?

Most of Fuse’s clients are national and global brands that work with several agencies. Our exclusive focus is on marketing services targeting teens and young adults, which provides clients and their agency roster with added expertise and value when talking to younger consumers. Fuse often collaborates with other agencies.

Why is Fuse headquartered in Burlington, Vermont?

There are many reasons creative firms like Fuse have success based in Burlington, but we think the three most important are the following:

  • Lifestyle: From Forbes to Parenting to Outside magazine, Burlington is on nearly every “Best Place to Live” list
  • Proximity: We are a 40 minute flight from NYC and less than 90 miles from Montreal
  • Creative Culture: Most of Fuse’s staff have moved here from NYC, Boston and other major markets to participate in Vermont’s Creative Economy, the state’s effort to support Film and New Media, Advertising and Marketing, Games and Software, and the Arts

Focus Groups

Focus groups are a method of research in which individuals are asked their views on products, advertising, or their experiences in order to gather insights about their attitudes and behaviors.

Similar Terms: Market research

Digital Survey

A digital survey is a research tool used to gather and measure consumer insights via the internet.

Similar Terms: Online survey

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is part of a brand’s strategy in which it strives to inhabit a specific position in the minds of consumers relative to its competitors.

Similar Terms: Branding, product positioning

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is a document that outlines the marketing and advertising strategy and tactics to meet marketing objectives.

Similar Terms: Business plan

Grassroots Marketing

Often using nontraditional advertising and marketing methods, grassroots marketing targets precise audiences by appealing to their interests.

Similar Terms: Word of mouth, niche marketing

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing uses key leaders in a consumer segment to amplify a brand’s message to a larger audience.

Similar Terms: Brand ambassadors

Partnership Marketing

Partnership marketing is based on two companies which share common consumers, joining forces to reach those consumers in a unique way.

Similar Terms: Co-marketing

Community Management

Community management is a brand’s effort to build strong relationships with its social media fans and followers by demonstrating value to those community members.

Similar Terms: Online customer service

Social Media Promotions

Social media promotions are contests and other programs used to grow a brand’s social media following or increase its community engagement.

Similar Terms: Online sweepstakes

Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising utilizes the demographic information and targeting capabilities (geotargeting, behavioral, etc.) of social media sites to reach specific consumer groups.

Similar Terms: Online advertising, social media marketing

Sponsorship Activation

Sponsorship activation is a brand’s plan to utilize the sponsorship assets they have purchased to maximize awareness, grow sales, or achieve some other business objective.

Similar Terms: Sponsorship execution

Event Experience Design

Event experience design is the development of a brand’s physical “footprint” that will provide consumers with a memorable experience while they engage with the brand.

Similar Terms: Event presence, sponsor presence

Mobile Marketing Tour

Mobile marketing tours are a form of experiential marketing that typically use custom vehicles to access consumers in markets across a wide geographic area.

Similar Terms: Promotional tours, pop-up stores

Promotional Products

Promotional products are branded items companies give to consumers for free usually to increase awareness, motivate them to purchase a product, or as a gift with a purchase they have already made.

Similar Terms: Premiums, swag

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing is the implementation of non-traditional, unconventional, and low-cost marketing tactics.

Similar Terms: Viral marketing, buzz marketing

Paid Media

Paid media, particularly relative to digital media, is media a brand pays for to reach consumers on a large scale. It includes Google AdWords, search and display advertising, SEO and PPC campaigns, social media platform advertising and promoted posts, and more.

Similar Terms: Earned media, owned media

Earned Media

Earned media includes publicity gained through a brand’s marketing and promotional efforts other than advertising. Relative to digital media, earned media is usually content picked up by other sites, mentions, shares, reposts, reviews, or recommendations.

Similar Terms: Free media, owned media


Content is information used or created by a brand to attract and retain its customers. Brands strive to make their content relevant, interesting, entertaining whether it’s in the form of text, images, video or audio.

Similar Terms: Content marketing

Graphic Design

Graphic design is the visual communication that combines images and words to convey a brand’s marketing message to consumers.

Similar Terms: Art direction, design

Art Direction

Art direction is the unification of the overall visual appearance of a brand – from visual elements, style, messages, and concepts – all leading to a design that supports a brand’s positioning.

Similar Terms: Graphic design

Visual Identity

A visual identity includes a logo, wordmark, color pallet, typeface, and other elements that combined create a consistent visual brand representation.

Similar Terms: Branding, design

Package Design

Package design is creating the visual outer design of a product a consumer purchases at retail.

Similar Terms: Branding, graphic design


Copywriting is writing for a range of advertising, marketing and promotional tactics.

Similar Terms: Advertising

Print Collateral

Print collateral includes any marketing and promotional items such as business cards, letterhead, brochures, fliers, postcards, signage, and more.

Similar Terms: Collateral design