How to avoid the agency search and selection beauty parade

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This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

When selecting a new agency, many advertisers still ask if they are buying a campaign and not a creative partner who will help them develop and execute their brand strategies over the coming months and years. Marketers have realised the flaws in the traditional creative beauty parade. Recently Debra Giampoli, Director, Global Strategic Agency Relations, at Mondelez International, wrote on why we needed to change the creative agency selection process.

There are still many marketers who stick to what they have always done, even though it is clearly flawed. We have written about the consequences of this, and yet only last week I was contacted by two marketers wanting to run a traditional creative beauty parade as their pitch process. In both cases they were open to discussing alternatives and in both cases they saw the benefits of the alternatives we offered.

In this video I outline the problems with the beauty parade, but more importantly share ways to avoid the process. Check it out and if you want to find a better way to select an agency partner let us know.

Transcript:

The flaws of a creative pitch

I have never really understood why marketers get agencies to do speculative creative work as part of the selection process.

Sure, if you are buying an idea it is fairly obvious but in most cases they are choosing a creative or digital or media partner. Someone they want to not just come up with one creative idea, but potentially hundreds.

Yet time and again, against my advice, marketers have fallen in love with an idea presented in the pitch, even though they do not feel the agency is right.

What do you do?

Imagine if you chose a relationship like this

On a date you meet a jerk, but they have a great motor vehicle, one you have always wanted to own yourself.

But you also meet someone that is totally aligned to you in every way, but they don’t own a unique cool car?

It is the same situation.

Do you go for the car or the relationship?

Of course your ideal partner can always buy a similar car, but it will never be that car.
You could continue to date them both, but you know that will end in tears.
You could simply offer to buy the car off the jerk? But will it ever be the same?

The right outcome is obvious.

I really do not understand why marketers find this so hard.

What are you really looking for in an agency partner?

Go back to the reasons why you were looking for a partner in the first place and evaluate both against these reasons.

The one with the most positives wins.

A great campaign idea and a great car are relatively fleeting.

But if that is all you want, then choosing this is completely legitimate.

On the other hand if you are looking for a creative, media and digital partner to build a longer term, profitable and productive relationship with, then it takes more than a potential one hit wonder with a cool car.

Doesn’t it?

At TrinityP3 we have been helping marketers find and choose the perfect agency partner for more than a decade. I am sure we can help you.

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About Darren Woolley

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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