This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3. With 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.
For more than a decade TrinityP3 has been collecting information on agencies using our online Agency Register. It provides TrinityP3 with a single source of data on the market place and is what we use when providing our clients with a market review as part of the tender process to select new agencies.
But the TrinityP3 consultants, who regularly meet with these agencies to verify and update the information on the Agency Register were reporting that many of the agencies on the register were too specialist or too small to be under consideration in the larger Agency Of Record tenders we are often commissioned to manage.
These large tenders or pitches are usually looking for larger agencies with a wide range of services to be able to consolidate as many services as possible in as few agencies as possible.
Yet, when we did a deep dive into the Agency Register database we discovered that the largest growth in agencies registering with us in the past three years was amongst these smaller and more specialist agency types. There are literally hundreds and thousands of smaller specialist agencies with a focused knowledge and expertise on a specific marketing discipline among the more than 3,000 agencies currently registered with us.
How the process works now
When discussing the source of their new business with these agencies, it is mostly projects, where they would either approach a potential client with a project in mind, or have built a relationship with a client who would use the opportunity of providing a project as a way of testing out the agency. A try before you buy, so to speak.
Others were clearly bought in to work on a specific project where the incumbent agency of record was perceived to be lacking in a particular specialist skill. In many ways they are like an affair because often they are not integrated into the roster and work on the side.
In either scenario they are usually appointed without a competitive tender and usually without any contract or agreement. This is because the client sees the appointment as low risk with the engagement defined by the project and the budget.
But as we have seen time and again, while the initial intention is to either take the opportunity presented to use the project to test the agency. Often the results end up being more or less.
More: because if the project is a success then it leads to more projects and in some cases appointment as the rostered agency.
Less: because if there is a problem then often there is no agreement or contract to minimise the consequences.
Does this process have the rigour?
The problem for many marketers is to have a way to access all of the specialist suppliers in the market. It is often said that most marketers know three agencies in any category: the one they are working with, the one they fired and one other. The fact is it is incredibly difficult to obtain independent information on agency capabilities beyond the agency’s own claims. Therefore marketers are often working in a vacuum.
To undertake a reasonable market search of other agencies can be a long and complicated process, especially for some of the more specialist and technical disciplines. To appoint a supplier for a relatively small and specialist project would not justify undertaking an extensive market review, but it is justified to at least consider a sample of competitors to understand what is available in the market place rather then simply engaging the first one you meet.
It also provides you with the opportunity to explore the various ways the project could be delivered and the relative cost implications of each.
Provide rigour without the hassle
At the time of publishing this post the TrinityP3 Agency Register has more than 3,000 agencies and suppliers of various types and disciplines. It has details on all of them from large multinational creative agencies to event companies, to market research firms and more.
|Data Analytics and Insights||365|
|Local Area Marketing||158|
|Mobile App Development||576|
|Paid Search / PPC||161|
|User Design / UX||222|
Sample of specialist agency types and numbers listed on the TrinityP3 Agency Register
What this provides is a resource we can draw upon to help marketers consider a much larger pool of possible specialist suppliers beyond the agency they know or have read about. This is important because it is interesting that many of these agencies are not the ones you read about entering the various industry awards and they are certainly not covered in stories in the trade media. Largely they fly under the publicity radar, building their businesses through word of mouth reputation and referrals.
If marketers were able to tap into this resource in a cost and time effective way, along with the industry knowledge and expertise of the TrinityP3 consultants who meet with these agencies, it would provide a vast and robust market to draw upon.
This is why for Valentine’s Day 2016 we launched Perfect Match (In honour of the television show, hosted by Greg Evans and debuting in 1984 on Network Ten)
How to find your Perfect Match
So if you are looking for a specialist agency for that next project, or you are talking with an agency and wondering what else is available in the market, or you are just curious as to your options, finding your perfect match for that project is simple.
On the Perfect Match page on our website you can down load a brief to complete so we understand your requirements. Then a TrinityP3 consultant will contact you and clarify exactly what you are looking for, otherwise we cannot recommend your perfect match.
They will then search our Agency Register database and find agencies for introductions. The number of introductions depends on you, with the maximum being three. After all this is not a pitch or tender service, it is a commercial introduction service.
When you find your perfect match, TrinityP3 can additionally offer to help you ensure the right fees and contract arrangements are in place.
The process to find your perfect match agency for that next project starts here.