Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – April 30, 2008
1. AgencyFinder Launches First Industry Agency Rating Index
2. AgencyFinder Debuts Service in United Kingdom
3. North American Subscription Plan Update
4. Frank Commentary from a Recent Searcher
5. Jelly Bean Cattle Calls and Other Non-Sequiturs
6. My God! They’re in Our Building!
AGENCYFINDER LAUNCHES FIRST INDUSTRY AGENCY RATING INDEX
Clients conducting an agency search have a new, sophisticated tool to better qualify prospects in the agency search and selection process. Business Partnering International’s agencyfinder.com, the world’s largest on line client/agency matchmaker, has announced its launch of the AgencyFinder Power Index™ (AFPI). The index provides searchers (clients and search consultants) with an objective measure of every registered agency’s “readiness” for new business.
“Ensuring the best possible match between agencies and clients has taken another leap forward,” says Charles G. Meyst, Chairman of BPI. “One of our on-going goals continues to be to reduce the guesswork in the agency search process. We believe the most prepared agencies deserve the opportunity to land the right client. Our AFPI rating will communicate an agency’s responsiveness to information requests, the completeness of its on line profile and interest in working within the structure of the AgencyFinder new business process,” Meyst added.
Mathematical Formula Measures New Business Readiness
“For more than a decade, our objective methodology of pairing up marketers with service firms has allowed clients to compare prospective agencies on nearly 500 different characteristics without relying on brand names or reputations. AgencyFinder provides a valid and fair way to create a short list for a search where every choice is a winner,” Meyst explains. “But now, we’ve created another indicator for clients to consider.” “The AFPI uses a proprietary mathematical formula that measures registered agencies on certain criteria within the AgencyFinder database. Clients have told us they do not have time to hunt down certain information, case studies, or determine fiscal responsibility in the search process,” says Meyst. “The AFPI essentially rates each of our registered agencies on the completeness of their files, among other factors, which results in a rating. The higher the rating (a perfect score is 100), the more we can assure the client that the agency has provided thoroughly prepared and up-to-date information to search against. Since the AFPI is a real-time computation, anything the agency does to improve its record is reflected immediately.” A power rating score also continuously reflects the agency’s historical record on invitation responsiveness, process compliance and fiscal responsibility.
Rankings vs. Ratings
“There are a number of industry rankings that measure agencies’ capitalized billings, work force, or number of offices, but clients are telling us what matters more is whether a prospective agency has actual expertise, reliability and fiscal responsibility relative to their needs. There have been countless
times a client will develop a preliminary list of prospective agencies, only to find that critical information is missing from an agency’s data file. They simply do not have time to launch an investigation to find missing case studies, essays or other pertinent information.
“Now a client with a list of agency prospects can consider the AFPI rating as an indicator that the agency has provided enough information for the client to conduct a fair and comprehensive preliminary evaluation as part of their initial due diligence.”
“We want to make sure all of our agencies have an excellent chance of landing new business and are in good standing,” explains Meyst. “The AFPI algorithm reflects the completeness of the agency data file while not discriminating between large, mid-size and small agencies with regard to capitalized billings, or employee counts.
“It’s a matter of trust,” adds Meyst, an ad industry business development authority but seldom-mentioned degree-holder in mechanical engineering who developed the formula. “The AFPI allows clients and agencies to participate in a search process where each is confident that each party has passed muster with AgencyFinder standards.” AGENCYFINDER DEBUTS SERVICE IN UNITED KINGDOM
The world’s largest on-line client/agency matchmaker, AgencyFinder, has announced the launch of its service in the United Kingdom. “When looking at the global marketing services market, it’s clear that London is a hotbed of creativity and agency growth,” explained Charles G. Meyst, Chairman of Business Partnering International, Ltd., the parent company of AgencyFinder. “That’s why we decided to set up operations in London in order to launch our development and expansion into the UK and the European markets.”
“We’re very pleased to announce the selection of Reardon Smith Whitaker (RSW) as exclusive agent for AgencyFinder. Adam Whitaker, RSW’s CEO, is a well-known and highly-respected expert on business development for marketing service firms and his partner, Sam Reardon Smith has been named Managing Director of AgencyFinder’s operations in London. Our relationship with RSW started last fall and through our combined efforts we were able to open the European version of AgencyFinder (www.agencyfinder.eu) earlier this
month. We’ve already started to see client registrations seeking our assistance in their selection of marketing service companies.”
RSW is a leading provider of outbound business development services for marketing service companies in the UK. The consultancy’s clients range from leading advertising and PR agency brands to niche boutiques. “The approach we take with AgencyFinder is different than our outbound marketing efforts on behalf of client agencies,” explained Ms. Reardon Smith. “The AgencyFinder process enables clients who have an immediate and pressing need to define the precise attributes they’re looking for in a marketing service provider and then employ the AgencyFinder search engine and database to identify the most suitable agencies based on that profile.
“Once that’s done, our consultants step in and help guide the client through the final selection, invitation and review process. It’s a unique mix of on-line and personal consulting that, to our knowledge, isn’t available anywhere else in the UK or Europe.” Ms. Reardon Smith also mentioned that RSW has designated senior staff consultants to handle the clientconsulting work and they are undergoing training by AgencyFinder’s US-based operations staff.
Once AgencyFinder’s UK operation is fully up and running, Mr. Meyst projects a significant increase in search activity on both sides of the Atlantic. “We already handle searches for European companies looking for US agencies, but with a consulting staff based in London, we expect to see that number increase dramatically. The same can be said for US companies looking for agency support in the UK and throughout Europe.”
AgencyFinder’s Soft Opening Starts with a Bang
According to Mr. Meyst, AgencyFinder’s UK site launched earlier this month without much fanfare to give agencies time to register and complete their records. Each agency record contains more than 500 data options plus seven essay and case history narratives. The precision of the AgencyFinder matchmaking process depends on accurate and complete data, so this is a critical task for each agency. As that was happening, some clients discovered the site and registered as well, triggering new account search activity even before the launch of the site was formally made public.
“It wasn’t much of a problem,” smiled Mr. Meyst. “We have quite a few agency offices currently listed
throughout the European Union. But now we’re coordinating everything with our colleagues at RSW to make sure all our searches, even our very first – go through without a hitch.” According to AgencyFinder, the company’s database currently contains information on over 5,000 agency offices located throughout the world. The website indicates more than 8,400 completed client searches.
About Reardon Smith Whitaker – RSW is the UK’s leading business development firm for marketing service companies. RSW works hand in hand with each agency and takes on the responsibility for getting them meetings with prospective clients so they can develop a relationship with a view to securing new business. More information is available at www.rsw.co.uk.
NORTH AMERICAN SUBSCRIPTION PLAN UPDATE
By Doug Sidle
If you haven’t had a chance to check out our new AgencyFinder Subscription Plan for North America, please do so. This new plan was introduced February 1, 2008 in conjunction with activities associated with our new UK and European operations. Our basic rates had been unchanged since they were introduced in 1997. This new plan does not reflect an increase, but rather a simplification. The fee structure and incremental payment plan makes AgencyFinder affordable for virtually any agency. And if you’ve been a long-standing registrant, we have a special preferred-rate renewal for you when you inquire. Please check your anniversary date and then give us a call. If you receive an introduction, your invoice will be based on the new plan unless you initiated and completed your renewal prior.
This new plan was effective February 1, 2008 and applies to all registered agencies at that time and since.
FRANK COMMENTARY FROM A RECENT SEARCHER
Like many smaller companies, we have grown to
the point that we needed help marketing and advertising our brand. The initial thoughts about how great it would be to have professionals help us were quickly replaced with anxiety about selecting an agency. After a brief search on the internet, I quickly came to the realization that it would be difficult to conduct a thorough search without help.
We operate a residential real estate company in the mountains of North Carolina and we couldn’t afford to have our small marketing budget wasted. We needed a great value for our money! The following questions became apparent immediately: Do we need someone close to our location? Do we need someone who specializes in marketing for our industry? How do we know that the agency will be as good at servicing our account as they were at getting the business?
After a day or two of looking, I came across AgencyFinder. I was intrigued by the idea of an objective intermediary helping us with our search, but I was still skeptical that someone could make such a daunting task manageable. Once I spoke with their consultants in Glen Allen, and saw the results they sent me, I knew that I didn’t have to look any further. From that point, the process was relatively painless. The only bad part about the search was the fact we came up with 4 great agencies from which to choose.
Unfortunately, we could only hire one of them. In our line of our work we accept bids from multiple vendors on almost everything we do, but we had never, until we worked with AgencyFinder, had a situation in which we couldn’t go wrong with any of our choices. Now, almost two months into our agency relationship we are getting great work that I would have never dreamed that we could afford. Thank you so much, AgencyFinder!
Daniel J. Barr, Junior Partner
Barr Family Developers
JELLY BEAN CATTLE CALLS AND OTHER NON-SEQUITURS
By Chuck Meyst
One of our registered agencies was telling us the other day about an RFP they received from a consultant and later learned it went to 30 agencies. They happened to know some of the “30” and found themselves comparing notes. More than a few agencies, having also heard the number, agreed that was “ridiculous” and talked of tossing the RFP and walking away. Imagine the nerve, the gall of that client; of that consultant!
Our agency apparently kept their mouth shut, other than to venture the question – “how many agencies might do the same?” Assuming everybody would learn of the “number”, the others speculated that most would toss it, as they were planning to do. And that’s just what happened. Only five (5) agencies responded. So it went from the “abundant” 30 to an intimate 5. As our agency told the story – when they learned there were 5 finalists, they speculated each agency had a 20% chance and planned accordingly.
At AgencyFinder we know differently because our clients share their behind-the-scenes thinking. The fact is – it’s not like each agency is a black jelly bean (inanimate and indistinguishable from the other four); each agency is a living, breathing, on-the-spot creative powerhouse, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or NOT! Each agency does not sit passively; each agency should and will endeavor to distinguish themselves somehow. Some will prove their candidacy; others will show why they deserve to be eliminated.
For each, the ultimate outcome is a matter of preparation, pro-activity, passion, presentation, proposition and perseverance. (the Six-P’s) He who puts gets. He who whines & winces looses. I cringe when any agency talks about the odds. When they do, it’s generally from a doomsday perspective. To win new business, let me encourage you to see it from a different angle. Rather than duck and run, regardless of the number at Round One, ask and answer two questions. 1. Is our agency truly qualified? and 2. Do we want this business? Only if the answer is “Yes” to both should you put your collective minds to the challenge of a. Arriving at the most compelling or potentially outrageous way to respond so as to be impressive and worthy b. spending the least amount of time (and staff dollars) doing so c. creating a response package that will move you to Round Two, and d. ignoring your competition and eliminating any subsequent anxiety because of their presence or celebrity.
Hey, your momma didn’t raise no jelly bean!
MY GOD! THEY’RE IN OUR BUILDING!
By Kaille Padgett
It’s not really as bad as you might think; matter of fact, it’s happened once before with Foot Locker. On this occasion, back in late February, a snack food company in Rockville Center, NY registered and began their search process. Clients always get a candidates spreadsheet from us in the early
stages, but that report doesn’t yet include the agency names. It does however show agency locations. During a phone conversation with the client she remarked “I see there’s one agency right here in Rockville Centre!” I gave her the agency name and address and she squealed – “My God! They’re in our building!” And they certainly were. With little pause for breath, she did a quick cut & run, and now we’re waiting for confirmation of her hire decision. Talk about great matchmaking …
Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO
Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060