Agency Search Tips

How Do You Want Your Invitation? That’s our important New Business question.

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Agency Search Tips, Blog Posts

The proposition – You’re one of our special registrants looking for new business. Regardless of type, you built a profile here at AgencyFinder.com so you can be found and invited to speak and ultimately pitch a new client. Now the good news – your firm surfaced as a candidate in this client’s search. All we need now is to send your invitation so you can schedule your initial client interview.

But there’s a problem. Increasingly our invitations haven’t been getting where they’re meant to go. In your profile you’ve given us your office landline phone, your fax and your e-mail. In our ACT database, we may also have your cell number. Here’s what we’ve been doing for years and what’s been happening recently.

1. We send you and your alternate NB contact an e-mail alert identifying the client, budget and client URL. We mention the full invitation will follow as fax.
a. e-mail gets to you both; you do/don’t read it
b. e-mail goes to your Spam folder and is not read. Dead end.

2. We send your fax just to you.
a. Fax gets to you and you read it
b. Fax gets there but someone picks it up and throws it away (thinking it’s a 48-Pt type island travel offer)
c. You no longer have a fax – obsolete technology you explain (there’s e-fax, etc.) – ask that we scan and send as e-mail attachment
d. Scanning 6 pages – extra steps for us – that too goes to your spam folder

3. We phone to follow up
a. We have to leave a voicemail (sometimes mailbox is full)
b. Someone offers to take a message; don’t know your schedule
c. You say or they say – never received the fax
d. New fax number and sent again

Consequence? You’re either a “no-show” or significantly late. And that’s why we ask – HOW DO YOU WANT YOUR INVITATION?

We’re open to suggestions and figure you’re the one with the answer!

Let us hear from you! Write bpi@agencyfinder.com or call 804-346-1812.

 

Whassup! You claim experience in health food, yet you don’t respond to your invitation.

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Agency Search Tips, Blog Posts

The AgencyFinder database is deeper and wider than any other in the industry.  More than 500 data fields get your agency found. After you’re vetted by us and the client, you get your invitation. In some instances, we even make trial outreaches by sending an e-mail to ask if the opportunity (we define it) is a good fit for your firm. To save time for everyone, we suggest that no answer means no. But as a courtesy we’d like to hear.

Why? After years of doing this, we know that’s because you said to yourself – “we don’t have that experience!” But you see, you’ve claimed it.  As in, Garbage in; Garbage out. If you claim it (experience, services, markets, etc.) you’ll have to prove it to the client.  If you need to update because your claims are no longer valid, you’re doing all of us (you, us & the client) a disservice. Make a point to keep your profile accurate and current! Fair?

We recently added and removed some “fields served” (vertical market experiences) and “services.”  Check and update your profile now …

 

Tell it like it is Dorothy – as in “8 things you should never say to PR agency pros”

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Agency Search Tips, Blog Posts

Every public relations agency executive delights in hearing from prospective clients. One great thing about the business is that you never know which award-winning campaign, career-changing relationship, or high-profile engagement might be just around the corner.

A typical part of the chase is a series of calls or meetings with client prospects who can have widely varying degrees of familiarity with the agency process, or who may not be clear (or agree) on what they want or need. They can say odd, confusing, and even exasperating things; in fact, certain comments are red flags that an experienced public relations agency exec will detect in an instant.

Here’s a list of some of our favorites.

“We’re looking for someone to grow with us.” This is my No. 1 peeve from a prospective client.  It’s understandable if the budget isn’t large; in fact, it might be a smart move to conserve funds for later (and we are happy to steer you to an excellent freelancer or boutique agency if that’s the case.) But the invitation translates to, “We can’t afford to pay fair value for your work, and even if we hire you, you’ll never be able to make money with us.” Not so appealing.

“Here’s a proposal from another agency that wasn’t right for us because it was too big/expensive/outside of our category.” This hasn’t happened often, but it’s ethically dubious, to say the least, and confusing at best. (What do you really want?)

“We need our story to be in The New York Times/TechCrunch/’Ellen’ by the time we launch.” Well, as my former client used to say to her CEO when he started down this road: “There’s one way to guarantee that. It’s called advertising.”

“For this assignment, we’re not sure if we need a PR firm or a digital marketing agency.” Hmm, well, then, neither are we. They are very different disciplines with distinct goals, and they often work in tandem, but perhaps you should review your objectives and conduct some research into each. I’d rather spend my time developing the best possible PR recommendations based on solid information than explaining what PR is or does.

“We’re not looking for formal proposals. Just give us an idea of how you’d approach our business.” I’ve heard this quite a few times but have never really understood what it means.

“How much for a press release?” Argh.

“We need a viral video!” This one needs no explanation; most PR people I know have deleted the word “viral” from their vocabularies.

“We’re looking at 30 agencies and hope you’ll want to participate.” Um, maybe not.

This article was contributed by Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO and creative director of Crenshaw Communications in New York. She has been named one of the public relations industry’s 100 Most Powerful Women by PR Week.

It Ain’t Always Pretty or End at a Pot of Gold …

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Agency Search Tips, Blog Posts

We want you to know we do all we can to dissuade a client from using our service to “test” a relationship. When we hear there is an incumbent, we ask “Whassup?” Why are you doing a review? An often general and reasonable reply is “franky we are both tired of each other.” But there are times when, even at that, the client elects to include that incumbent in their review. That’s something we can’t prevent and we’re not going to deny you the opportunity to win that business just because …

So here you go: March 5, 2014 (with credit to Advertising Age)
 
Mercedes sticks with PHD after review. Omnicom’s PHD is keeping its Mercedes business after a review. Mercedes owner Daimler spends a large portion of its measured media budget on Mercedes, which was the top luxury auto brand in the U.S. in 2013. “Every couple of years, you want to check outside your universe to make sure you have the best partner for your business. That’s the case with PHD,” said a spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz USA.  
 
Shit happens …

 

How to Conduct an Agency Search: ANA, 4A’s Offer Guidelines

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Agency Search Tips, Blog Posts

After Spate of Long, Unwieldy Reviews, Agency and Advertiser Associations Give Advice to Head off Trouble Before It Bubbles up

AdAge broke the news Oct 3rd – go there for the full article and comments. The entire white paper can be found on the 4A’s and ANA websites. Highlights were:

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS IN 4A’S/ANA GUIDELINES

1.If procurement is going to be involved, decide if its role will be as a facilitator or driver, and be clear with agencies about fact.

2.The ideal amount of time for a search process is three months, and the ideal number of shops who answer a request for proposal is no more than eight.

3.Decide whether a formal search is necessary or whether you can identify a select number of shops — internally — or with the help of a consultant to participate in a streamlined, closed process.

4.Have a discussion about compensation early on, not at the end of the process. Agencies should bring up the topic even if a marketer doesn’t.

5.Agencies shouldn’t do a bait-and-switch, bringing in one team to secure the account, and assigning another to do the work. Ensure the client meets the people who will work on their business.

6.Agency visits are a must and cultural compatibility should be weighed just as heavily as capabilities. Clients should understand how the agency behaves overall and should select the whole agency, with its values and staff, not just the handful of people who pitched the business.

7.An agency’s culture shouldn’t only be complementary to a marketer, but also to the other agencies on the marketer’s roster.

8.Speculative work presented by an agency during a review frequently doesn’t translate into a campaign, so decide if it’s really a necessary part of the process. If it is, allocate enough time for agencies to deliver the assignment.

9.Offer non-winning agencies a debriefing phone call and give them honest feedback.

One writer from Europe commented that search consulants were missing from those on the authoring committee.  That might have been helpful, but I suggest they covered most that counts.  When clients see how much is actually involved in an agency review, they might be inclined to take the process more seriously.

I was pleasantly surprised to read that their recommendations reflect what we’ve been advocating and doing literally since we began way back in 1997. We also subscribe to the number of initial invitations as well as those that get the RFP (we use an RFD – Dialogue). And in particular, the agency visit is almost a “non-option”, since that’s when the client can make both chemistry and creative decisions. You’ve got to see the “shops!”  Good job folks!

Chuck Meyst declares – Here’s to agency new business!  

 

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