Just saw an interesting article at HIGHTAIL, a file sharing and thensome site. The author Scott Moe did a nice job working through 6 tips a client could use to evaluate agency candidates. I periodically see articles along these lines, but in most cases I spot a serious omission. And I commented accordingly (there and here).
Good article. These Six Tips cover important ground and if you’ve got a handful to start with, any comparative process should lead to your winner. I’ve always argued choosing the ideal agency is relatively easy once you’ve identified your qualified candidates. The real problem is finding those qualified candidates! Last I checked there were some 30,000 firms in the US that call themselves ad agencies or some such (integrated marketing communication firms, digital agencies, PR firms). That’s just for starters. So for those who speak of starting with 3-5 firms, I always wonder because they don’t say – how do you identify those?
Some suggest asking colleagues, asking media reps, or Googling for agencies with specific characteristics in your area. Some “directory” websites offer “alpha-ranked” agencies. But visit their websites and you discover “Contact Us” often fails to reveal their location, nor how many people actually work there. The data elements you want to use to winnow your list don’t exist. That was our discovery almost 20 years ago when we were teaching agency business development and little has changed. That absence of necessary data led us to develop an agency profile and search process that draws upon more than 500 agency profile data fields. And for years, we’ve been helping clients identify their handful to invite and have done so for thousands. See for yourself.