Client Search News

How to Choose the Best Digital Agency

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Client Search News

5 MUST ask questions as well as a guide to help you find the best digital marketing agency to grow your business online.

I was listening to the excellent Robert Craven the other day on the Google Partners Podcast and it occurred to me that it must be a real challenge for a company or brand, to find a digital agency.

There is quite simply a plethora of agencies out there and to complicate matters still, they all focus or major in different disciplines, all claiming to be ‘the best’ or ‘leaders’ in their field. Furthermore, many will display badges of honour – winner of this or commended for that. No wonder people get so confused…

So, I have written this guide to try and help people when looking for an agency to help them grow and develop online. I have also highlighted some key questions to ask as well as some key questions that need to be asked by your potential agency.

Who am I?

I am Reggie James, founder of Digital Clarity. I have worked in the digital marketing space from its initial inception and launched one of the first paid search (PPC) agencies, as well as a tracking and attribution software business used by digital agencies in the UK called DC Storm.  The DC standing for Digital Clarity. This company was acquired by Rakuten in 2014.

Prior to this I worked at two search engines, helping both agencies and clients get found online, and I continue to help clients achieve this today.

What is a digital agency?

A digital agency is the umbrella term given to organisations that deliver services ranging from web design through to Paid Search (PPC) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The term Digital Agency may also cover a whole host of other specialisms that sit under each sub service.

The challenge

There is a major problem in the digital marketing space that is sadly being perpetuated by a number of agencies who were one day a PR Agency and today dress themselves up as a ‘Social Media Agency’. This happens all the time and can cause confusion and bad experiences.

Many clients that I meet may have had their fingers burnt or are reeling from some horrendous experiences where they thought they had signed up for a service with a reputable ‘Digital Agency’ only to find that the team at the agency were not all that they seemed or worse still, were learning some new skills whilst on the client’s payroll. Though shocking, this is not uncommon and quite frankly unacceptable.

Thankfully, things are changing. Experience and verification by both independent bodies and platform owners like Google are helping customers find the cream. In certain disciplines like display advertising, the use of blockchain technology is helping create a public ledger of post GDPR audited agencies and sites.

The importance of digital agencies

So, knowing what we know, it is also vitally important to point out the incredible value great agencies add to their clients.

It is rare to find companies that have the digital marketing prowess, collective skills and manpower that a truly good agency will have.

From creative thinking and strategy through to execution and management, well admired agencies can deliver both resource and fantastic return on investment (ROI).

What should a good digital agency do?

You work in an industry or sector where you have competition. No two businesses in your sector will be the same. The same is true of digital agencies.

A good digital agency will take the time and effort to get under the skin of your business. Whether you are selling to consumers or businesses direct, the need to understand the lead time and business process of your company as well as the competion and where you sit in the venn diagram of your industry are all basic first steps of good digital agency practice.

The questions you are asked by your prospective digital agency will determine whether the agency is the right fit for you.

What types of digital agencies are there?

Firstly, there are many. Here are a list of a few below.

The extended specialist

Web Design, these services could include:

Design & Development
User Experience (UX)
Innovation
Languages
PHP
Python
Net
CMS

WordPress
SiteCore
Etc.

Branding

Messaging
Logo design and development

The Jack of all trades

These are referred to as full-service digital agencies and in many cases can be the larger agencies. This agency model is going through a seismic shift as many clients may be paying for a suite of services that they will never use or simply do not even need.

The full service agency model, when analysed deeper –  one can normally see a shift toward a certain service. This means the agency at one point specialised in a discipline and then augmented services or bought companies to align disciplines. Why? More than likely, to win new business or keep existing business.

The ‘me too’ agency

These are agencies where they may have been involved in non-digital work, but are looking to capture new work by adding the word ‘digital’ to their name, or offer services that are out of their comfort zone. This can Web design agencies who suddenly feel they are SEO specialists and start dabbling in the art and science of Search Engine Optimisation. Quite simply, this normally ends in tears.

Questions to ask

I covered this question in an earlier blog when i looked at choosing a PPC Agency and it’s always worth going back to compare questions.

In many cases where I have come across a client who is in a toxic situation with an agency, I have often been asked to mediate or help transition the relationship to its natural conclusion. On reflection with both the client and the agency, it is normally the questions and due diligence that has led to both parties starting off on the wrong foot.

So what questions can a client ask a prospective digital agency? Here are 5 must ask questions:

What disciplines of digital marketing do you do?

Search? If so, PPC or SEO or both?
Web Design and Development
UX / UI
Digital Transformation
Social Media
Etc.

If it’s more than one of the above, which areas do you specialise in?

Of your specialist disciplines, can you demonstrate your skills-sets with some examples?

Case Studies
Testimonials
References
Etc.
How will these skills help my business?

Can you share projections?
Your process
The day-to-day running of the account
Analysis and reporting
Etc
How would you go about working with me?

On boarding process
Needs analysis
Etc.

Conclusion

Once you have your answers to these questions, it will much better help you shape your opinion of both what you require as well as see if the agency is the right fit for you and your business.

Note: This is an opinion piece  by Reggie James, founder of Digital Clarity and not necessarily those of AgencyFinder.

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It’s Getting Cold Outside but HOT in the CMO Suite

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Client Search News

CONTENTS:

1. It’s Getting Cold Outside but HOT in the CMO Suite
2. What’s A Digital Agency? The World Wants to Know
3. If You Belong to the ANA, You Were Called Unproductive, Unsustainable and Undesirable. 
4. If You Want to Hire a New Marketing Partner by Year-End, Please Start Now

IT’S GETTING COLD OUTSIDE BUT HOT IN THE CMO SUITE

Pity the poor CMO. One person all alone held responsible for what scores of agency folks are doing for the brand. Beyond that, it’s not unusual for many other C-Suite execs to provide input to agency decisions and actions. Read what AdAge’s Jack Neff had to say. “Chief marketing officers are most likely among C-suite players to get fired when companies miss growth targets, but they often aren’t given the time or authority to develop the most significant innovations, according to a new study by Accenture Strategy. The study found 37{0a8ae5f917f4d40f140f56135b46c870555d227d6df5c87452b66d0a8807ba2b} of the 535 global-company CEOs who responded to the survey said that their CMOs would be the first fired if corporate growth targets aren’t met. The CMOs edged out chief sales officers (34{0a8ae5f917f4d40f140f56135b46c870555d227d6df5c87452b66d0a8807ba2b}) and chief strategy officers (29{0a8ae5f917f4d40f140f56135b46c870555d227d6df5c87452b66d0a8807ba2b}) on the firing line.” (continue)

WHAT’S A DIGITAL AGENCY? THE WORLD WANTS TO KNOW

I don’t recall when, but more than a few years ago, as agencies registered to create new profiles here at AgencyFinder.com, they wanted an option to call themselves a “digital” agency. We accommodated that and watched to see what was incoming. We had telephone conversations to address the issue and initially learned they meant “we produce digitally.” Then the industry current suggested that every agency needed to understand and produce using digital technology. That allowed agencies to label themselves as “Integrated firms” and the world was “good.”

Fast-forward to today. Everything is produced using digital technologies and analog has faded away. And the expression “Digital Agency” now means – we produce and execute only in digital media. To quote Wikipedia – “Services provided range from the general website design, e-mail marketing and micro-sites, etc. to the more specialized such as viral campaigns, pay-per-click ad management, banner advertising, search engine optimization and marketing, podcasting, and front-end development.

Traditional advertising agencies usually collect fees off ad placement instead of the work itself. Digital agencies usually bill their fees through the service time involved in artwork, design, creative and technical services that you hire them to complete.”

So – if you go looking for a Digital Agency, don’t later expect them to produce and run your ads in magazines, newspapers and other traditional media.

P.S. – If you have a better definition, please share it so I can share with others!

IF YOU BELONG TO THE ANA, HE CALLED YOU UNPRODUCTIVE, UNSUSTAINABLE AND UNDESIRABLE

If you’ve been in marketing for some time and follow the trades, the name Rance Crain should catch your attention, and so should his AdAge article entitled “ANA Chief Calls on CMOs to Take Back Marketing, But Do They Really Want To?” Rance has always looked closely and spoken freely about our industry and this is no exception.

He begins, “When the head of a major trade association characterizes the industry that his members work in as “unproductive, unsustainable and undesirable,” you know you’ve got problems. And when he lays the blame for this dilemma at the feet of his own members, you know you’ve got even bigger problems.

That’s the situation the advertising business finds itself in today. Bob Liodice, president-CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, unloaded a barrage of litanies on the failings of the marketing community at the ANA’s annual conference in Orlando two weeks ago.”

“As we acknowledge our industry’s brand-building creativity, it is also important for us to take a step back and candidly assess our industry’s direction,” Bob said. “Yes, there has been quite a bit of progress to leverage technology—as evidenced by our expanding media platforms. But is that progress getting us anywhere?” (continue)

IF YOU WANT TO HIRE A NEW MARKETING PARTNER BY YEAR-END, PLEASE START NOW  

Check your calendar – remove non-productive Holiday Days and other “unofficial” days off and you’ll see there aren’t many productive days remaining to run an effective agency review. And it’s not fair to ask any agency to work over Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s either.

No words are really needed if you find yourself wanting an agency for whatever reason. Let’s find you one!

Start a fresh registration here or send me an e-mail at ; I’ll call you to learn your wishes. Remember, you search for free.

 

Recent Changes at Google & Facebook Make it Prudent to Check – Need a Digital Partner?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Client Search News

CONTENTS:

1. Recent changes at Google & Facebook make it prudent to check – need a digital partner?
2. Have you seen our fresh new website?  Easy to navigate and easy to use
3. In case you need one, we’ve identified agencies with open capacity

RECENT CHANGES AT GOOGLE & FACEBOOK MAKE IT PRUDENT TO CHECK – NEED A DIGITAL PARTNER?

Maybe you don’t always see the latest industry press, but recent changes at Google and Facebook made significant modifications in how your website appears in a search. Google in particular will downgrade you if your site is not optimized for mobile devices; cell phones, tablets and the like. Facebook is now looking for frequent posts or you too will lose ranking. Neither of these site modifications are commonly the prevue of in-house staff but a job for “the agency.” If yours hasn’t already done so, why not? Are they incapable? If so, it’s prudent to dip your toe in the water. You can toe dip for free at www.AgencyFinder.com

HAVE YOU SEEN OUR FRESH NEW WEBSITE? EASY TO NAVIGATE AND EASY TO USE

February 20, 2015 was a big-deal day here at AgencyFinder.com. That’s when we revealed V6.0 – our new baby! More and more agencies were investing in the latest “wide-screen” format and we were impressed. We were heading there with V5.0 but not quite. I’d suggest that if your website is not “wide-screen” it should be in your next upgrade. Feel free to try ours out. Remember it’s offered at no cost to you and even your search consultant if you are working with one. Read more here.

IN CASE YOU NEED ONE, WE’VE IDENTIFIED AGENCIES WITH OPEN CAPACITY

These days it’s fairly unusual to find agencies with the ability to take on a new client. Ever since 2008 when the economy dipped, most agencies downsized to adjust their staffing to their workload at the time. Since then quite a few agencies failed to make it and had to close their doors. Clients of those firms had to seek new marketing partners, but the good news was that most were fortunate enough to do so. But in this economy, agencies continue to carefully adjust staffing to workload.

If for any reason, either on small project or a new agency partner, it might be appropriate for you to conduct a search, please register again and do so. If you have any doubts or are not certain, pick up the phone and give me a call at 804-346-1812.  Thanks.

Enroll to search here: http://www.agencyfinder.com/advertisers/ad-agency-search/

We’ve identified a few specialized agencies with open capacity

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Client Search News

CONTENTS:

1. We’ve identified a few specialized agencies with open capacity
2. Search In Your Underwear, No One Will Know
3. When Needs Search Consultants?
4. Are You Experiencing a Sales & Marketing Perfect Storm?

WE’VE IDENTIFIED A FEW SPECIALIZED AGENCIES WITH OPEN CAPACITY

These days it’s fairly unusual to find agencies with the ability to take on a new client. Ever since
2008 when the economy dipped, most agencies downsized to adjust their staffing to their workload
at the time. Since then quite a few agencies failed to make it and had to close their doors. Clients
of those firms had to seek new marketing partners, and the good news was that most were
fortunate enough to do so.

But in this economy, agencies continue to carefully adjust staffing to workload. Recently I asked
our agencies to tell us where they had open capacity, specifically what vertical markets or “client
categories.” The list below represents those vertical markets they identified. As you know or may
recall, our database represents over 180 choices, so as you can see, this list of 35 represents a
relatively small portion.

If for any reason, either on small project or a new agency partner, it might be appropriate for you
to conduct a search, please register again and do so. If you have any doubts or are not certain,
pick up the phone and give me a call at 804-346-1812. Thanks.

The List:

Automobiles & light trucks
Automotive parts & accessories
Banking
Beer, wine, liquors
Biotechnology
Building materials
Business Services
Computers, computer peripherals
Computer systems & design
Diagnostic equipment
Electric utilities
Electronics, consumer (radios & televisions)
Financial services
Grocery, food stores
Healthcare
Home furnishings
Hotel, lodging
Industrial equipment – heavy
Industrial equipment – light
Insurance
Jewelry
Lighting
Machinery & supplies
Medical aids & devices
Medical & physicians groups
Mortgage Lending
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers)
Package goods
Pharmaceuticals
Professional Services
Public utilities
Real Estate Developers
Retail stores & chains
Solar goods & services
Toys & games

Enroll to search here: http://www.agencyfinder.com/advertisers/ad-agency-search/

SEARCH IN YOUR UNDERWEAR, NO ONE WILL KNOW.

Many of our clients begin their search for an ad agency or pr firm from the privacy of home –
clothing optional! So can you. If you can’t find time at the office, if you want some privacy or
need time to think, then home works. When you’re under pressure to identify and hire a new
marketing partner, don’t let outside elements dictate when or where you start.

When you finish making your no-charge on-line selections with us, you’re not left to fend for
yourself. We provide “human” assistance by phone. You select who you want, we invite them.
It can’t get any easier. Let us know how we can help.

WHO NEEDS CONSULTANTS?

During a recent New York event, the Search Consultant panel was launched with an off-putting
“have you stopped beating your wife” question and things went downhill from there. That wasn’t
fair, and it’s about time everyone accept the fact that consultants of all kinds are here to stay.
Does that mean there’s room for a bad consultant? Certainly not!

Search consultants are needed where clients are rusty; where clients need help identifying exactly
what they need in an agency, and what they don’t; when the client organization is a political hotbed
that could cloud the process and confound the likelihood for any decent agency relationship; when
the client isn’t necessarily looking to be certain the agency maintain profitability, or wants little more
than “Kinko’s-on-call;” where a client is more impressed by attractive ads for others or doesn’t see
the imperative umbilical connection between strategy and execution; or where client management
wants a “kept” shop to name-drop, rather than an extended-life marketing partner.

What’s the Search Consultant’s job? To facilitate the coming together of a handful of well pre-
qualified agency candidates and a prepared, rehearsed client. To guide the client through that myriad
of steps and examinations that will allow the client (not the consultant) to clearly see which agency is
ultimately the best choice. It means no tedious, redundant RFI’s or RFP’s. It means allowing each
agency to speak with the client directly – no screening or big-brother thing. It means allowing open
dialogue and due-diligence early-on so agencies can see to drop out – saving time and much money.
It means first visits and capability presentations at each agency and not at client headquarters. It
means client briefing documents (and non-disclosures) so each competing agency doesn’t have to
assume or speculate. And it means no spec creative.

If it’s a New York client and a New York consultant, it’s pretty easy to find a New York agency. A quite
lunch at a big table, a stack of AdAge and ADWEEK top-100 lists, a Redbook directory, a generously
circulated invitation and a quiet tip to Stuart Elliott at the New York Times. But most clients want and
deserve more than a “good-olde-boys” review. So above and beyond all the handholding and
professional guidance, the search consultant owes each client the use of a meticulous process
identify that handful (not a shotgun field) of pre-qualified and worthy candidates. That’s when
clients need consultants.

ARE YOU EXPERIENCING SALES & MARKETING’S PERFECT STORM?

Are your sales down 10 or, 20%? Is your marketing budget down 10 or 20%? Is your department
staffing down? As the Captain of “your” corporate ship, how will you navigate up and out if you need
to? I guarantee there are agencies with answers, but does that capacity and capability exist within
your current marketing partner?

That’s really your question to answer, not ours, but look at it this way. In years past, when the economy
was robust and money flowed freely and you planned a hiking holiday in the rolling hills of Virginia, your
criteria for a guide might have been “physically fit, handsome, personable and knows the area!” But in
today’s economy you plan to scale Mt. Everest and your guide criteria are much different: “Knowledgeable,
skilled, accomplished, brave, daring, precise, a veteran of many successful climbs and one who can and
will save your life!” Today you’re looking to hire a guide for the Everest climb of your business career.

If you recently held a strategy meeting with your marketing partner (or if they didn’t think it was necessary)
and if either gives you the gut feeling that your partner is tapped out, then regardless of the strain of doing
so, it’s time to conduct an agency review. Search for a full replacement or an addition; what you need
depends on how you answered our first three questions. The process is much like hiring a new but
critical employee; it’s not much fun but the effort is worth every short-term inconvenience.

Our AgencyFinder process makes the marketing partner search relatively easy, pain free, rapidly-paced,
professionally guided, and offered at no cost. We’ll help you find, evaluate, invite and hire the perfect
marketing partner. You can start immediately by registering below or give us a call and we can begin
over the phone. As we are known to do since 1997, we provide confidentiality and as much or as little
counsel, guidance and direction as you need. References are proudly posted.

======================================================

Enroll to search here: http://www.agencyfinder.com/advertisers/ad-agency-search/

Start your research here: http://www.agencyfinder.com/about/

 

West Coast Agency Garners Press for AgencyFinder Client

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Client Search News

Good Day!
 
I wanted to share the promotional success of one of our long-standing agencies, the great folks
at Sagon-Phior in Los Angeles, CA. Our contact there is Glenn Sagon, agency CEO.
 
In early June this year, we announced our search (although anonymously at that time) for the folks
at The Nonhuman Rights Project with a PitchCast e-mail whose subject line read – “Animal Lovers
& Animal Rights Project.” Their RFD called for an agency with both unusual experience and unusual
interests. After much ado, Glenn and his team won the account.
 
Sagon-Phior’s work resulted in breaking news yesterday in the New York Times as posted on our
Blog page:
 
http://www.agencyfinder.com/2013/12/breaking-news-rights-group-sues-to-have-chimp-recognized-as-legal– person/
 
Check out the article and their site. It’s an interesting topic and one they intend to carry to
other animals.
 
About our service, Glenn had this to say: “We were early adopters not too long after it first
launched. Ten years later, we are still going strong and continue to be the beneficiary of
great opportunities and new business wins thanks to AgencyFinder.”
 
This is a good example of what can happen when there’s a good match between client
and agency! If you need an agency, start here: http://www.agencyfinder.com/advertisers/
 
Best Regards,
 
Charles G. Meyst, Chairman & CEO
Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060

Are you experiencing sales and marketing’s “Perfect Storm”?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Client Search News

07-24-2009

1. Are you experiencing sales and marketing’s “Perfect Storm”?
2. When your only option is a marketing partner search, here goes!
3. AgencyFinder announces Damiano as new Manager, Agency Relations
4. Frank commentary from a recent searcher
5. With limited time, there’s too much to do!

ARE YOU EXPERIENCING SALES & MARKETING’S PERFECT STORM?

Are your sales down 10, 20, 30, 40, 50% or more?
Is your marketing budget down 10, 20, 30, 40, 50% or more?
Is your department staffing down 10, 20, 30, 40, 50% or more?

As the Captain of “your” corporate ship, how will you navigate out of
this and survive? I guarantee there are agencies with answers, but
does that capacity and capability exist within your current marketing
partner?

That’s really your question to answer, not ours, but look at it this
way. In years past, when the economy was robust and money flowed
freely and you planned a hiking holiday in the rolling hills of
Virginia, your criteria for a guide might have been “physically fit,
handsome, personable and knows the area!” But in today’s economy you
plan to scale Mt. Everest and your guide criteria are much different:
“Knowledgeable, skilled, accomplished, brave, daring, precise, a
veteran of many successful climbs and one who can and will save your
life!” Today you’re looking to hire a guide for the Everest climb of
your business career.

If you recently held a strategy meeting with your marketing partner
(or if they didn’t think it was necessary) and if either gives you the
gut feeling that your partner is tapped out, then regardless of the
strain of doing so, it’s time to conduct an agency review. Search for
a full replacement or an addition; what you need depends on how you
answered our first three questions. The process is much like hiring a
new but critical employee; it’s not much fun but the effort is worth
every short-term inconvenience.

Our AgencyFinder process makes the marketing partner search relatively
easy, pain free, rapidly-paced, professionally guided, and offered at
no cost. We’ll help you find, evaluate, invite and hire the perfect
marketing partner. You can start immediately by registering here or
give us a call and we can begin over the phone. As we are known to do
since 1997, we provide confidentiality and as much or as little
counsel, guidance and direction as you need. References on request.

WHEN YOUR ONLY OPTION IS A MARKETING PARTNER SEARCH, HERE GOES!

It’s not our assignment to lead you to that decision, but we’re happy
to serve as your last-ditch sounding board. If you perceive you have
no other option, then let us guide you in “How to Find, Evaluate &
Hire a New Marketing Partner.”

Much is written about the process of hiring an advertising agency, pr
firm or marketing partner. The hiring process itself is relatively
easy – with a handful of finalists, you fine-tune and define the
requirements, come to agreement on fees for services, establish legal
terms and conditions, etc. The challenge however is not hiring, but
finding qualified candidates.

If one accepts the premise that every client wants the very best
marketing partner they can afford, then the task begins by defining
precisely what the client needs and wants in an agency. The client can
begin with a clean sheet of paper to define such attributes, or take
advantage of existing attribute “menus” which can be found at
appropriate third-party Internet web sites designed specifically for
that purpose.

If you accept the fact there are more than 30,000 advertising agencies
in the US alone, then it is imperative that each client reduce the
size of that list substantially in order to create the smaller, more
manageable invitational list. If such “cuts” were to be attempted
based on services desired (such as account management, creative, media
buying, direct marketing, etc.), little reduction would be seen in the
original list of 30,000 until the collection of desired services had
grown considerably. When clients are asked to identify some of the
most critical agency attributes, previous experience in category is
generally high on everyone’s list. Meaning, clients want to speak with
and consider firms that have previous or existing experience in their
business category. In this economy, there’s tremendous pressures to
see sales activity almost immediately or at least, protect from
further slides, few clients are willing to take the time, or make the
investment, to allow the new firm to become educated on their nickel.

The candidate identification process begins by finding firms with
experience in your particular business. Then it makes sense to screen
them further, looking for those that are able to provide the services
you want and need. Define and refine your list even further. Seek
those that have experience marketing goods or services to the people
who purchase your goods or services. If that means “females 25 – 40”
or “senior citizens,” then make that a condition. If geography or
location is important, define that as well. Overall experience (years
in business), size (generally staffing rather than capitalized
billings) plays a role, and in some cases, membership in specific
associations will add value.

Historically, clients have struggled to create the appearance that
they knew precisely what they wanted and in what form. To do so, they
cannibalized and adopted the fairly common RFP (Request for Proposal),
used for years by purchasing agents when seeking bids on commodity
items. RFP’s were sent to long and large lists of ill-assembled
“agencies” – often pulled from minimum-data alpha-ranked website
directories or name-only listings in telephone Yellow Pages, or from
mentions by business colleagues and media reps.

Such RFP invitations meant tremendous up-front labor for the client,
and resulted in relatively low rates of response, coupled with a
mixture of some qualified but many unqualified respondents creating a
significant burden for the client. Dissimilar agency materials had to
be sifted through for common information, and that information was
then posted to a client-created spreadsheet. The challenge was to find
qualified candidates and some basis (apples-and-apples) for comparison
and subsequent evaluation. Finally, in evaluating “creative”
candidates (i.e. – marketing partners, vendors, etc.) it is virtually
impossible to bid or place monetary value on something that is of such
esoteric value and subject to a myriad of interpretations. With few
exceptions, the creative services of a marketing firm can not and
should not be evaluated on a “price comparison” basis.

With the availability of the Internet and specific services designed
precisely for this task, there is almost no excuse for ever using an
RFP again to find an advertising agency. Alternatively, what is known
as the RFI (Request for Information) makes sense, for your search for
a marketing partner should be based on your evaluation of information
– an apples-and-apples examination of attributes; then of work
product, then of relationships (chemistry) and then of specific
suitability. With a list of carefully defined candidates in hand, it
now makes sense to extend an invitation to those candidates,
requesting just that information not already known to the searcher.

It may seem that defining the candidates’ list is the biggest
challenge. Agencies surprise many clients when what they thought might
be a sought after invitation is summarily dismissed by many who
receive it. The preparation and execution of “invitations” is of
itself a critical component, and often best left to third-parties that
have established agency contacts and have identified the most senior
agency executives responsible for new business development.

If and as the invitations are accepted and responded to, the client is
advised to hold telephone interviews as a first step. Successful
interviews (deemed so by both parties) should lead to the sending of,
and receipt of agency materials (agency brochure, relevant samples and
short letters of interest). Where the value of the account is
substantial, and the work expected from the agency is critical to the
client’s business success, clients should visit and tour each
preferred agency as the first face-to-face meeting between client and
agency. That tour will be enlightening, both in revealing the agency’s
full capabilities, plus it allows for the assessment of the agency’s
personality and the likelihood of good “chemistry” between all the
players.

As a final step in the agency selection process, the client should
invite two or three “finalists” to present and propose (to you and
your management at your corporate headquarters) a strategic plan for
managing your business – during the following fiscal year or
appropriate fiscal period with a budget you are willing to reveal. And
to do so, you will need to furnish each candidate with a “marketing
brief” that encompasses vital historical statistics, information on
your company and on your marketing, advertising and public relations
activities in years prior. This must be an “apples & apples”
proposition, so instruct each candidate to use the specific budget
you’ve identified to construct their strategic plan. In other words,
you want to see how much and what is in each agency’s “basket” for the
same funds. Make it clear that you’re not promising to give unilateral
authority to spend those funds, but you are proposing that you’ll be
spending at that “rate” if all goes well.

A suggestion for a tie-breaker or “point-of-illustration.” In advance
of these final presentations, advise each contender that you also want
a detailed invoice for their presentation, as if they had already been
your agency-of-record and this was a regular assignment. You’re not
agreeing to pay that invoice, but you will use it to make further
comparisons.

If you follow such a plan, assign and allow qualified individuals
within your company to manage such a process, you will be successful
in identifying and hiring a powerful marketing partner! For that list
of perfect candidates, start here:
http://www.agencyfinder.com/1-advertiser/advertiser-register.shtml

AGENCYFINDER ANNOUNCES DAMIANO AS NEW MANAGER, AGENCY RELATIONS

P&G veteran will be responsible for the continued growth and
development of the largest online database of agency information in
the advertising and marketing profession, worldwide.

Charles Meyst, Chairman and CEO of AgencyFinder, announced the
appointment of Jon Damiano as the search and selection service’s new
Manager of Agency Relations. Mr. Damiano’s primary responsibility will
be the continued expansion of the AgencyFinder database of US-based ad
agencies, PR firms and marketing consultancies.

The AgencyFinder database currently includes information on over 6,400
agency offices operating in over 45 countries. The majority of those
offices are located in the United States.

“Even in these rough economic times, we’re seeing clients come to
AgencyFinder to find new and additional marketing service agencies to
help them through,” said Mr. Meyst. “Jon’s primary responsibility will
be to make sure we’re recruiting and retaining the best agencies in
America to be part of the online portfolio we make available to
clients at no charge.”

The firm’s offices – based in Richmond (VA) and London – has continued
to see vigorous search and business development activities through
their respective web sites from both clients and agencies, but the
personal interaction with the AgencyFinder staff seems to make the
difference. “There is a lot of ‘tire-kicking’ going on right now,”
explained Mr. Meyst. “And that’s pretty easy to do online, that’s why
we insist on personal interactions with every client. It’s imperative
the agencies who subscribe to our service understand that.”

“There may not be many people better equipped to do that than Jon
Damiano,” continued Mr. Meyst. According to the AgencyFinder Chairman,
it was Mr. Damiano’s experience working in the consumer-products world
at global marketing powerhouse Procter & Gamble and Reynolds that made
him a top contender for the agency-relations position.

“I think I bring an important voice the agency needs to hear when
they’re considering the service AgencyFinder provides,” explained Mr.
Damiano. “I’ve been on the client side and I’ve worked with agencies.
I’ve seen agencies that were a good fit from the start and I’ve seen
some disasters. It will be my job to make sure agency new business
people will see how AgencyFinder can help reduce the risk of a total
failure to connect during the pursuit of a new account.”

“AgencyFinder reduces that risk by making sure the right agencies are
in the running for the right accounts,” said Mr. Damiano. “That’s why
we ask agencies and clients to complete detailed questionnaires and
provide comprehensive information about their capabilities (from
agencies) and the nature of the assignment (from clients).

Professional Background

Mr. Damiano’s professional background includes over fifteen years of
marketing and business-building experience with some of America’s best
known brands while at P&G and Reynolds Consumer Products. He also has
a long history of successfully managing the agency-client relationship
from the client’s side of the desk in marketing planning and agency
performance evaluations.

2008 Search Activity on AgencyFinder

AgencyFinder assisted in the placement of over $278 million in new
business with advertising agencies and PR firms in the US and UK last
year. The average account size was in excess of $1 million.

WITH LIMITED TIME, THERE’S TOO MUCH TO DO!

That’s why we designed this newsletter with your schedule in mind. If
things for you are fine, great. Just keep your techniques for success
a secret. You don’t need what we can provide.

On the other hand, if you do need help, there’s little more to read.
Things get actionable at: chuck@agencyfinder.com

… AND FINALLY.

The rumors and reports seem to be unanimous – we’re all working harder
than ever for less than ever, but it’s keeping food on the table and
gas in the tank. If you’re lucky, sneak some quality time-off! We are
experiencing much of the same, but the tunnel for everyone seems
shorter and open at the other end. Pass the word; tell your friends;
let us help you and them find a great partner!

P.S. – It’s time for a website redux here; we welcome your thoughts
and suggestions.

As we have since 1997, we look forward to getting you face-to-face
with a great agency. Then & Now – We Built it For You!

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

It’s time to hire or challenge your…

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Client Search News

Client Search News @ AgencyFinder – July 23, 2008

This CLIENT SEARCH NEWS is for individuals registered @ agencyfinder.com. Forward to those in your company or others elsewhere involved in the advertising or public relations agency selection or review process.

CONTENTS:

1. It’s time to hire or challenge your marketing partner to do it better, faster, maybe cheaper!
2. Tell us about the time …
3. AgencyFinder launches first industry agency rating index.
4. AgencyFinder debuts service in UK
5. Frank commentary from a recent searcher
6. My God! They’re in our building!

IT’S TIME TO HIRE OR CHALLENGE YOUR MARKETING PARTNER TO DO IT BETTER, FASTER, MAYBE CHEAPER!
by Chuck Meyst, Chairman & CEO

We did a quick straw poll of recent clients, and with few exceptions, they all agreed they would be impressed and drawn to any pitching agency that made a formal presentation outlining how the client’s account could be handled better, faster and for less! I’m not suggesting anything clients haven’t told agencies before, and as consumers, most of us feel the same way.

For clients and agencies alike, it’s crunch time. Not that this economic downturn phenomena (alleged or real, as seen from your perspective) should cause clients and agencies to behave drastically different or in ways they didn’t before, but it makes measurements and “needle movement” all that more meaningful, as well as critical.

If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been experiencing a surge in client searches. 82 search registrants last month; more than double the same period last year. Some of that reflects our new operations in the UK and Europe, but the increase also reflects clients looking to get more of what they need from their marketing activities.

Clients are telling us, “We don’t need the softer-side of branding right now; we need sales!”

Adam Whittaker, CEO of our London office, summed up this attitude for agencies this way: “It’s common to hear agencies profess ‘It’s all about the people’ or ‘Our creativity speaks for itself’ and ‘We provide media neutral solutions to marketing problems.’” But Adam had this advice for agencies: “If you use any of the above to differentiate yourselves, then you are in for a rude awakening … you’re not any different from the next agency.”

Adam continued, “Agencies need compelling propositions as much as the next brand. Unless you can provide a ‘burr of singularity’ (copyright David Ogilvy, all rights acknowledged, please don’t sue me etc.) for your own agency then why would a client entrust you to do so for them?

“You need to provide clients with a reason to remember you, and what better reason than having a planning process that can convincingly prove your ability to provide better solutions that will make audiences react in the way clients want them to react.”

Adam and I share the same belief. When you’re involved in the search and selection of an additional, replacement or new marketing partner (i.e. ad agency, pr firm, digital agency, etc.), or evaluating the framework of an existing relationship, you should look for measurement and accountability. You and your agency need to strike a quid pro quo – you define in writing what’s realistically expected of them and their efforts; they present a written plan with strategy, benchmarks, spend-rates and expectations. You need to agree and then proceed.

It’s reasonable to expect your agency (candidate or incumbent) to share and illustrate their ”process” – tangible steps and actions that will move you from Step #`1 to Step #2 to Step #3 and beyond.

We’ve always referred to it as The Art & Science of Marketing Partnerships.

Putting art and science into practice

As search activity to find the perfect marketing partner continues to heat up, we’re seeing more industry articles suggesting ways to streamline the agency search and selection process. Our experience (over 8,500 searches and ten years) tells us that whether you’re doing it yourself or have third-party help, if you start a review with a handful of poor agency candidates, you’ll end up with no one, or at best, a bum partner.

A no-cost search managed through AgencyFinder, however, starts with over 5,000 agency candidates and a proven process for finding and meeting dozens of qualified prospects. This means even the most inexperienced client can almost fumble their way to the ideal agency. We’re able to help clients through the entire process, but our primary virtue is the identification and introduction of qualified, perfect agency candidates. Supplemental reading suggestions for the marketing-inclined

If you have time and interest in related topics, here’s something more. Some pundits have declared the advertising agency model dead. Obviously, pronouncements like that affect clients and agencies alike. For the most part, they’re discussing compensation issues.

On that, I refer you to Has Accounting Led us Astray, a recent white paper by our colleague Mike Carlton. It’s bound to get you thinking.

And one more – your firm may be interested in Interim Marketing Leadership – a piece on part-time C-level marketing expertise to organizations experiencing extended staff absences or lack of executive-level support.

I offer both as “food for thought!”

TELL US ABOUT THE TIME …

We’re asking you to share your most “outrageous” agency story for a piece we’re writing on the “Do’s and Don’ts” of pursuing new business. We’ve tried to cover everything we’ll need to know in a few quick questions, but if yours is particularly special (or in some cases painful), we may need to contact you directly by e-mail or phone to confirm a few facts.

Remember, we won’t identify whose stories are used in our piece unless given permission to do so by you, so please be candid and “brutally honest”.

Thank you,
The AgencyFinder Team

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. AgencyFinder, the marketing industry’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 UK
by Adam Whittaker, CEO UK and Europe

Well, the UK & European launch of AgencyFinder.eu went smoothly and according to plan. We have enough agencies of every discipline and location to make pretty much any client search come up with a sensible number of qualified prospective partners.

We launched to clients on June 10th and we’re pleased to report our launch elicited twelve searches in the first ten days. Those searches include clients looking for an advertising agency, PR firm, branding consultancy, market research and an integrated agency (among others). The response to our launch brought home to us what we suspected: AgencyFinder will serve clients looking for agencies of ANY type, not just those normally associated with intermediaries.

Why has AgencyFinder successfully attracted such a diverse range of searches? To a large extent, it’s our marketing. We are pro actively reaching out to a database of over 35,000 marketing directors and agency principals across more than 12,000 organisations in the UK using email, direct and telephone channels. We have a team of thirteen account managers at RSW (AgencyFinder’s partner in the UK) whose activities keep this database current and four people (including both myself and Sam Reardon Smith) working full time with clients helping them find the perfect partners from within our database of agency subscribers.

The launch of AgencyFinder in the UK was announced this past week in the US marketing trades (click here to read the release). We’re expecting to see some increased search activity for trans-Atlantic business in the near future as a result. We are also using SEO and PPC with Yahoo and Google. As a result, we’re steadily moving up the rankings!

An important note for those of you that may be looking – you may not have read about us and our searches in the press – this is because we have not fully launched our media campaign yet. Apart from a small piece that recently appeared in PR Week in mid July (which they approached us to do – click here to read the story) you will not see anything until we announce our first completed assignments. This is a deliberate policy and in line with Agencyfinder’s mantra of 100% client confidentiality until the search has ended.

What clients want

I must say that given what we’ve been doing (and continue to do) since 1992 with RSW, being on the other side of the fence is a real eye opener. Clients really appreciate the help we give them and open up to us about what they want from an agency.

Because of this, we maintain a strict “Chinese Wall” from client to agency-side inside RSW and jealously guard any confidential or “need-to-know” information.

One of the things that really has come home to me is that clients are no longer discipline specific. They still have problems, identify a requirement for certain services and then want find the right partner to solve the problem. It matters not what the agency calls itself; advertising, integrated, media neutral, channel blind – clients don’t care.

What they care about is what you can do, the sectors you have experience in and the markets in which you have a demonstrable understanding.

This is one of the things clients tell us they like about Agencyfinder. Our initial search process (using 500 attributes to define an agency’s profile) cuts out those agencies that don’t do what the client needs to have done, don’t specialise in their field of interest or don’t know the client’s market.

With ten years’ experience in the US already behind us, it will be interesting to see how quickly the AgencyFinder system for conducting agency reviews catches on in the UK and throughout Europe. FRANK COMMENTARY FROM A RECENT SEARCHER

Dear AgencyFinder,

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 the 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

MY GOD! THEY’RE IN OUR BUILDING!
by Kaille Padgett, Director Agency Relations

You never know where you’ll find a great agency. That’s what makes this true story all the more interesting.

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!”

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 …

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

This Search Was Faster Than a Speeding German Bullet

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Client Search News

Client Search News @ AgencyFinder – August 15, 2007

This CLIENT SEARCH NEWS is for individuals registered @ agencyfinder.com. Forward to those in your company or others elsewhere involved in the advertising or public relations agency selection or review process.

1. This Search Was Faster Than a Speeding German Bullet
2. Just What “WERE” They Thinking?
3. Fall Clearance But Going Fast – Great Agencies
4. Some Essays Are Powerful – Check This One

THIS SEARCH WAS FASTER THAN A SPEEDING GERMAN BULLET

March 29th – we received an e-mail, then a telephone call from the Head of Corporate Communication with Schüco International KG, in Bielefeld, Nordrhein Westfalia (Germany), Europe’s leader for windows, curtain walls and solar products. With a small a branch in Newington, CT, they wanted to expand U.S. operations. Their request? Please help us select a handful of qualified agency candidates to meet with during our next US visit April 10th – 13th (only 7 business days later).

The client ultimately specified Boston and surrounding area for candidate agencies and framed up their search requirements on-line. They selected eight (8) for invitations; after telephone interviews, they identified six (6) they planned to meet. Logistics were a bit wild (the agencies will attest to that) and some connections didn’t come to pass. Following agency site visits, three agencies were selected as finalists and were given small test-evaluation assignments.

Shortly thereafter, about May 31st, Schüco awarded their business to Kelly Habib John in Boston. We’d love to say we did that for KHJ, but they were the only agency Schüco considered that wasn’t presented from the AgencyFinder camp. Turns out (as a tip for all the new business pros), KHJ had placed their agency brochure in a local hotel the client visited on a previous trip and that lead to their inclusion. How’s that for “business development?” And how about 44 business-days from invite to award for an expedited process! Member-agencies Connelly Partners and Underdog Partners put up a close and valiant fight. JUST WHAT “WERE” THEY THINKING?

When this was written, we were in the final stages of a review for a client that manufactures and distributes an “energy drink.” They’re in the nation’s Top 5 and spend about $20 million a year on advertising. They came to AgencyFinder to find and hire a public relations firm based on an estimated budget of $500,000. Their desires were rather simple – they wanted media relations ultimately to reach a series of specific consumer vertical markets. Nothing fancy or cutting edge; more meat and potatoes if you please. The client website is quite nice and touts the fact that the product is available in Wal-Mart, K-Mart, CVS, Walgreens to name just a few. The website also carries product photography. At the onset, we were tempted to “buy it & try it” but it wasn’t a pressing matter for our role in the process. But we have since – good stuff!
Following our advocacy, the client traveled to New York from their mid-west headquarters and met with candidates there. In one such meeting, the client (party of four) sat with a major pr firm (party of four). As the meeting began, the client opened an attaché and took out some product. One wag with the agency remarked – “Oh, that’s what it looks like!” You could have heard a pin drop…

FALL CLEARANCE BUT GOING FAST – GREAT AGENCIES

Talk about seasonality. The agency business (advertising, public relations, you name it) is as seasonal as any retail operation. They get and take a reprieve during the short summer months, (including half or full days off on Fridays), but come Labor Day, it’s back to warp speed.

If you feel it’s time to talk to an agency; even just to consider the options, let me suggest you register now to get started. Begin first with our Demo option (you can see how it works but no specific input is required), to do so click here: http://www.agencyfinder.com/1-advertiser/client-demosearch.shtml

When you’re ready to officially begin, click and enter using the link at the top of this e-mail. Or call to talk – 804-346-1812.

SOME AGENCY ESSAYS ARE POWERFUL – CHECK THIS ONE

We review and approve all agency essays (new or revisions) so we get some pretty interesting submissions. Here’s one that hit a home run, so we asked for permission to share it. Thanks to Mason, Inc. in Bethany, CT. Charlie Mason, CEO. This is the agency’s submission for the essay “Culture.” Here are our Guiding Principles as communicated to employees:

Creativity is everybody’s job.
We’re in the business of generating fresh thinking. That’s not a one department responsibility. Be an idea geyser, no matter what your title or department.

Bias for action.
Get things done. Be proactive. No one should have to hold your hand or tell you what to do. It’s your responsibility to make something good happen.

No white lies!
Nothing good ever comes from even the smallest form of misrepresentation. Tell the truth.always.

Respect.
Treat everyone with respect. Being nice to clients, demonstrates intelligence. Being nice to subordinates and suppliers, shows who you really are.

Run to trouble.
Problems seldom disappear on their own. The sooner you face them, the sooner you can find a solution.

Surprising level of service.
Every decent agency provides good service. Constantly look for ways to go beyond good to demonstrate that extra level of commitment.

It’s not Monopoly money.
It’s the real thing. So use some of that creativity to do the job better, and save money at the same time.

Communicate.
We are not just in the communications business. We are also in the business of communicating. To clients. To suppliers. To each other.

For the love of it.
That’s why you’re in this crazy business. And it’s why you thrive on long hours and insane pressures. Because you can use your brain. And you’re never bored. And it’s fun.

Amen and Hooray! (The Editor)

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

Agency Pros Reveal Rare New Business Secrets at Private NYC Meeting

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Client Search News

Client Search News @ AgencyFinder – May 7, 2007

This CLIENT SEARCH NEWS is for individuals registered @ agencyfinder.com. Forward to those in your company or others elsewhere involved in the advertising or public relations agency selection or review process.

CONTENTS:

1. Agency Pros Reveal Rare New Business Secrets at Private NYC Meeting
2. What Exactly Do Clients Want & Expect From a Search Consultant?
3. If You’re Thinking About an Agency Review, Get Started Now.
4. Do Not Implement Off-Shore Tech or Customer Support!
5. CMO Tenure @ 23 months? Do You Believe That?

AGENCY PROS REVEAL RARE NEW BUSINESS SECRETS AT PRIVATE NYC MEETING

It’s often helpful and educational to know how agencies think, so I wanted you to expose you to what some 400 of the industry’s finest new business pros (ad agencies, pr firms, etc.) were addressing as they gathered March 27-28th in NYC to share and compare effective new business secrets. The Mirren/Adweek New Business

Conference was well attended by those who heard entertaining and educational stories, case histories and a rather amazing willingness to share what otherwise has been kept close to the vest, in the way of pitch and presentation errors, in-depth self analysis, and corrective actions. We’re talking industry “Big Boys & Girls” including Saatchi & Saatchi, The Martin Agency, Kaplan Thaler and Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Not one described internal machinations or fights over “what to call ourselves”, but rather how to identify a prospect’s needs and then articulate that and the ability to deliver accordingly.

The overriding advice was to chose your battles carefully. Whether the prospect is one you identified yourself, or one that singled you out (via a consultant invitation, an AgencyFinder invitation, a referral or as a “blue bird,”) they were advised not to move forward to invest time, talent, effort or cash unless or until they were able to establish there’s a fit and reasonable chance for successful conversion. Interestingly, that was what Donny Deutsch and Andy Berlin proclaimed from the podium at the 4A’s New Business Summit a few years ago. Nothing’s changed, but agencies need to be reminded. WHAT EXACTLY DO CLIENTS WANT & EXPECT FROM A SEARCH CONSULTANT?

The current Porsche review raises that question. Plans for the review had been in the works since early November 2006. When the story broke in the press on March 8th, it stated the client was “currently considering consultants to handle the review process.” On March 23rd, they announced they had made that appointment. Most clients assume the consultant plays a pivotal role in the identification of candidates, yet this “pre- consultant” announcement and the 15 days hence gave more than adequate time for every agency in the country with an appetite for a car account to pounce. Time to prepare and dispatch another FedEx bouquet. I know for a fact that many of our agencies did just that.

In a client search, I know what we do. Our virtually fool-proof process identifies agencies that have precisely what the client (or consultant) says they want. Meaning previous category experience, services, target markets, size, age, location, even type of firm. We facilitate all that up-front imperative, but in most cases, we fall back in the shadows after we issue the invitations. Historically, AgencyFinder clients prefer to manage what happens next. We’re there to help, but we don’t “run” the process. From the client’s perspective, they love the confidentiality, the broad selection of agency candidates, and the fact that they get everything we offer at no-cost. From

the agency perspective, most love it, since they always get to speak directly with the client and don’t have to speak through any contrived “screen” that we could impose.

There’s no particular standard for “search consultants”, so it would be helpful for conventional consultants (those hired and compensated by the client to do their bidding) to share, to explain, even to publish a bit more detail of what they do and when, how they affect the ultimate decision, and even how (but not necessarily how much) they get paid.

IF YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT AN AGENCY REVIEW, GET STARTED NOW!

If you’re thinking about conducting a search for an agency (new or additional) or some public relations assistance, let me encourage you to begin almost immediately. Memorial Day triggers the agency “summer” – and that generally means half-day or no-day Fridays. I suspect you’ll want full attention from your contenders; register here at AgencyFinder this week or next so we can get you started down that path. It’s a serious commitment for any client, and we’ll help you each step of the way. Somewhere within the thousands of astounding registered firms sits one that could be precisely what you need. These are “right-sized firms for budgets less than $100,000 to more than $100 Million.” It doesn’t take much to find that firm either; click here to get started:

http://www.agencyfinder.com/1-advertiser/advertiser-register.shtml

DO NOT IMPLEMENT OFF-SHORE TECH OR CUSTOMER SUPPORT!

There is NO ROI in off-shore tech support or customer support! Sure it’s initially cheap. But please ignore any such recommendation by your agency or an agency pitching your business. Please do not go “off-shore” unless you’re prepared to take a big hit with your loyal customer base. Don’t go offshore unless you can be assured they won’t be guilty of those idiosyncrasies that drive folks mad.

Want to trigger an emotional eruption? Talk to almost anyone about the infamous off- shore (typically Indian dialect) customer support; the phony cover names, the fact they sound virtually identical. Add the fact that when we call from the US, we’re talking with people that ought to be sleeping and who have the uncanny talent to ignore most of what we say, and instead encourage us to follow a

step-by-step process from their one-size-fits-all support manuals.

How many times have we heard that it’s cheaper and more effective to cultivate more business from current clients than to create new ones. So when off-shore support drives your customers away, that’s not cost-effective!

CMO TENURE @ 23 MONTHS – DO YOU BELIEVE THAT?

The media is full of CMO/Death stories, warnings and speculations as to what’s going on. We heard it from the podium as well. What I meant to do but didn’t was get a question directed to the attending audience of 400 representing 4,000 or so client CMO’s (400 agencies x 10 clients per agency) and ask – is that your perception or experience with the CMO’s at your clients? If CMO’s are as gun-shy as the press reports, agencies should take the initiative to let clients and prospects know that they (the agency) are willing to share the blame as well as the success. Remember, no one has the magic wand. This business of advertising, public relations and marketing is a series of carefully and intricately planned, pre-tested and executed steps that must be observed, measured, adjusted, corrected and done again and again. There is no magic bullet! Seriously, I’d appreciate some feedback on this (as in CMO behavior and attitudes) because we need to pay particular attention to that, even to consider what I suggested from the floor – how about a “How To Be Great Client” Seminar?

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

Need Marketing Help? Start Searching Next Week!

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Client Search News

Client Search News @ agencyfinder.com – December 28, 2006

CONTENTS:

1. Need Marketing Help? Start Searching Next Week!
2. Client Board of Advisors – You’re Invited

NEED MARKETING HELP? START YOUR SEARCH NEXT WEEK!

Time flies when you’re not using it wisely. So I hope you don’t mind if I encourage you to begin your ad agency, public relations or marketing partner search early next week if that’s what you’ve decided you need. We’re not pushing you to make a change unless you’ve already concluded it’s the thing to do.

Somewhere within the thousands of astounding registered firms sits one that could be precisely what you need. These are “right-sized firms for budgets less than $100,000 to more than $100 Million.” It doesn’t take much to find that firm either; click here to get started: http://www.agencyfinder.com/1-advertiser/advertiser-register.shtml

Next year we’re celebrating ten (10) years of client/agency match-making and more than 7,000 such business unions. In a typical month, 60 or so register to search; about half of those are serious enough to go to conclusion. I’m proud that our process remains highly confidential as intended, and unless I’ve forgotten something

from long ago, we’ve never had a breach of confidence or a leak to the press.

Don’t forget – you pay nothing to Search & Find at AgencyFinder.com. Our registered agencies are proud to sponsor the service, and are looking forward to speaking with you about your assignment!

Happy New Year, and to a great and successful 2007.

CLIENT BOARD OF ADVISORS – YOU’RE INVITED

I mentioned this a few months ago, but we’re starting to assemble a group of clients who would like to participate in our Client Board of Advisors. It’s a chance to contribute to the industry and the match-making process. It won’t take but a sliver of your time (as you choose to give it). If you’d like to join, write: chuck@agencyfinder.com Find a description at: http://www.agencyfinder.com/client-board-of-advisors.shtml

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

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