The marketing profession’s largest on-line, client/agency matchmaker sees explosive growth following the launch of its service in the UK on April 1, 2008.
Richmond, VA, September 4, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) – After its first 150 days of operation in the United Kingdom, AgencyFinder’s Chairman has declared the International launch of the on-line, search-and-selection consultancy an “unquestionable success.” Clients based in the UK and Europe have already initiated over 59 searches through the service with the intention of identifying, meeting and selecting new advertising and PR marketing partners.
“I’m not sure we could have picked a more critical time to expand into the United Kingdom and Europe,” said Charles G. Meyst, Chairman of Business Partnering International, Ltd., the parent company of AgencyFinder. “And our partners in London have done a great job ramping up to accommodate the client requests and new agency registrations.”
Following their initial meetings last September, AgencyFinder selected Reardon Smith Whittaker as the exclusive agent for AgencyFinder (www.agencyfinder.eu) in the UK and Europe and Mr. Meyst seems very pleased with the selection. “Adam Whittaker is a well-known and highly-respected expert on business development for marketing service firms and his partner, Sam (Samantha) Reardon Smith has performed admirably as the Managing Director of AgencyFinder’s operations in London.”
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 selection, introduction and review process. The service is free to clients and offers a unique mix of online 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 and trained senior staff consultants to handle the client-side consulting work.
Opportunities Abound in UK and EU
“When we started looking at the global marketing services market, it became clear that London is a hotbed of creativity and agency growth,” explained BPI’s Mr. Meyst. “That’s why we decided to set up our operations at RSW’s offices in London and manage our growth throughout the UK and Europe from there.”
Mr. Meyst envisions a scenario in which AgencyFinder will assist a marketer in one European country with finding suitable service providers in different regions throughout the UK and EU. “In much the same way we help clients in the US find ‘local’ advertising and PR firms in other parts of the country, I think the European version of the AgencyFinder database will be able to help make matches on this side of the Atlantic,” he continued.
Mr. Meyst also projects further increases in search activity in both the US and Europe once AgencyFinder’s operation in London hits full stride: “We handle some searches for European companies in the US for agency support now, 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 assistance with advertising and PR programs in the UK and throughout Europe.”
AgencyFinder’s Soft Opening Starts with a Bang
According to Mr. Meyst, AgencyFinder conducted a soft launch in April allowing agencies time to register and complete their records. Each agency file 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. Following the formal, June 10th “search” opening, the London office quickly received requests from 24 blue-chip clients.
According to AgencyFinder, the company’s database currently contains information on over 5,000 agency offices located throughout the world – and that number is growing daily. According to Ms. Reardon Smith: “Our outreach efforts to agencies are already generating new registrations. The more agencies in the database, the more opportunities for clients to find a perfect match.”
Search Process Allows for Objective Comparison
One major distinction that sets AgencyFinder apart from services offered by paid search consultants is the scope, breadth and depth of the agency database available to clients on-line. During a client search, agency records are scanned by the AgencyFinder search engine to determine the likelihood of a “match” with similar profiles constructed by the client. For the client, definition is an easy and aided experience – AgencyFinder provides extensive menu options to present the choices of vertical market experience, agency services, marketing experience, media experience, agency size, employee count, location and more. Matching profiles are presented to the client in a manner that does not initially reveal agency identities, and that allows for client evaluation on the objective comparison of one profile against another rather than brand awareness. Agencies favor that since it tends to level the playing field.”
After reviewing and ranking candidates, AgencyFinder extends invitations on behalf of the client and makes introductions to selected agencies. Each agency invitation includes search process guidelines along with the Client Search Criteria (CSC) that identifies marketing needs, service requirements, budgets and contact information. From that point forward, it is up to the marketing services agency to evaluate the opportunity, conduct their no-obligation telephone due-diligence interview, deliver relevant agency samples, conduct an agency capabilities tour and finally, make their winning “pitch!”
“The AgencyFinder process has been recognized by organizations like the InfoCommerce Group for its unique blend of automation, speed and hands-on attention,” said Mr. Meyst. “So much of a successful agency-client relationship depends on chemistry and it’s important to make sure the search and selection process allows that to happen.”
“We’re there with the client, every step of the way,” explained Ms. Reardon Smith. “We’ll handle the invitations and follow-ups with the candidate agencies and, if necessary, work with the client to make sure the search terms are sufficiently broad to ensure a slate of high-quality agency candidates for review.”
Based on AgencyFinder’s experience in the USA, clients are frequently surprised to “discover” a number of highly-qualified agencies they’ve never heard of before. According to Mr. Meyst, who has been working with clients and their searches for over a decade, “We’re careful to give clients an opportunity to name known agencies they want to invite to their pitch – but often conflicts prevent those preferred agencies from participating. Instead, what often happens is the client is delighted by three or four newcomer agencies and ends up selecting according to personality and chemistry once all else is declared equal.”
Proven Methodology, Fast Turnaround at an Unbelievable Price
“The AgencyFinder methodology is proven. Our system works,” says Mr. Meyst. “With over 8,600 searches in the past ten years, we know how to match clients with marketing agencies. And it’s fast, too.”
In fact, in the US, the average time required from the date of the initiation of a search to its completion is just over seven weeks. “That’s almost unheard of here in the UK,” says Ms. Reardon Smith. “We think clients will really like the idea of being able to add to their marketing services portfolio quickly in order to stay one step ahead of the competition. The key to satisfying this sense of urgency means UK and EU agencies will need to take these introductions and invitations seriously.
“These aren’t ‘leads’ in the normal sense,” she continued. “These are red-hot introductions to pre-screened clients who are looking to hire someone right away. Agencies who dawdle will lose out.”
From a client’s perspective, AgencyFinder offers a unique service that deserves further consideration. But it’s the price for the service really attracts attention.
“It’s important to stress that the service is free to clients and search/selection consultants,” says Ms. Reardon Smith. “Clients who may be accustomed to paying intermediaries tens of thousands of pounds to find a marketing services firm can now do it themselves using AgencyFinder.”
“Since clients don’t pay, people recognize and respect that the agencies do. The AgencyFinder business model accepts the fact that agencies acknowledge the need to fund their own business development activities,” explained Mr. Meyst. “With that in mind, we constructed a subscription model that makes it affordable for virtually any size marketing services firm.”
The annual subscription is paid in two parts. An initial investment of a few hundred pounds is paid upon registration and on annual renewal. Agency introductions are not limited or restricted as to quantity. When an agency elects to pursue its first opportunity, the agency settles up on the balance of the subscription fee. Having done so, the agency is fee-paid for the remainder of the subscription period, and there is no charge for subsequent introductions.
“Our subscription model is unusual and unique, but once an agency understands, they tend to agree it’s an intriguing, tantalizing and virtually no-risk proposition! A minimum-cost, maximized opportunity to interview screened and legitimate clients looking to hire.”
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About AgencyFinder – AgencyFinder and its companion web sites, agencyfinder.com and agencyfinder.eu, offer the services of Business Partnering, Int. (BPI), a Virginia corporation founded in February of 1997. The service is unique in its match-making process for pairing advertising, public relations and marketing agencies with clients and is intended for use by companies seeking agency support for projects, campaigns or long-term relationships. Searching is free to marketers and supported with complimentary search consulting advice (telephone and on-site consultations) provided by BPI’s executive staff. Advertising agencies and public relations firms (right-sized for budgets less than $100,000 to more than $100 million) pay an annual registration fee to be in the on line database and to be eligible to participate in reviews.
About Reardon Smith Whittaker – RSW is the UK’s leading business development firm for marketing service companies. RSW works hand in hand with each agency and take on the responsibility of getting them meetings with prospective clients so that they can develop a relationship with a view to securing new business. More information is available at www.rsw.co.uk.
Principal – Bawden & Lareau Public Relations
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