February 4, 2003 — BPI’s agencyfinder.com™ Investigates the Purchasing Phenomena
Richmond, VA – If your company or your agency has not yet been impacted by the growing trend to involve purchasing or “procurement” in the client/ad agency relationship, it’s a trend and it appears that it’s not going to subside. Why has this happened?
Chuck Meyst, CEO and founder of agencyfinder.com commented, “Companies are more and more vulnerable to the near-term success or failure of their marketing programs. Marketing – as in bringing goods and/or services to market (via advertising, public relations, sales promotion, and other such tactics) – is generally contracted to outside vendors. These ad agencies, publicists and consultants are entrusted with hard-earned, precious budgets meant to contribute to the success of these companies. Clients assume these vendors are qualified to do that.”
Yet in a country where accreditation and licensing is required of doctors, lawyers, architects, pharmacists, engineers, dentists, psychiatrists, CPA’s and even “nail technicians”, no such requirements exist for these vendors. So those who purport to know how to craft influential and effective “marketing messages” are held to no minimum standards, nor are they required to be regulated or
licensed. Marketing departments and ad agencies may not yet have definitive standards (methods for specifying, for measurement or evaluating compliance), but purchasing departments HAVE been developing them or at least looking for ways to quantify candidates.
Marketing budgets represent a tremendous expenditure for a company, so the process of selecting a marketing vendor, or “marketing partner,” is presumably no longer entrusted only to the marketing department who depended in-part for agency candidates by searching local yellow page directories or asking business colleagues or media reps for recommendations. Now Procurement wants to bring their precise and meticulous methods to the table. What’s appropriate is the integration of methodical and linear processes including Internet search-engines capable of identifying qualified agencies based on stipulated criteria, coupled with compliance and accreditation issues, then high-touch examinations, as in off-line human assessment of non-technical essentials including “creative” and “chemistry.” “Now, in retrospect,” continued Meyst, “what agencyfinder.com introduced in 1997 is precisely what searchers are crying for today.”
Until and even following some form of testing and accreditation established by the advertising industry, the selection of an advertising, public relations or marketing firm is an even more critical decision for every company and it may call for the re-examination of existing relationships. Procurement departments are getting involved, and it’s not going to go away.