In a world of increased fragmentation and diversification marketers are faced with a decision between specialist and convenience. Traditional creative agencies have diversified their offering and are providing a range of services, but it is often a matter of convenience over quality. When selecting a creative agency, what should you be considering? Here are a few we have found useful.
1. How big or important do you want your account to be? Dominating the agency could mean you fund the infrastructure that others benefit from, while being a smaller client may mean you are overlooked at times.
2. Where is the agency located and how will they service your business? Are you happy to source the best provider in the market, no matter where they are located, or do you want the best local supplier.
3. What strategic sources do you need and want? If you need a business or marketing strategist better to select a specialist than to expect to find this in the communications provider.
4. Who will be working on your business and how committed are they? Avoid the New Business ‘Pitch’ Team who you will never see again. Identify the resources that will be working on your business short and longer term.
5. How important is experience in your category? The conundrum is wanting an agency with recent experience in your category without account conflicts with competitors. While ideal to have experience in your category, it could come with set thinking.
6. Does the agency MD or CEO align with your business? The senior management team are usually the most experienced practitioners in the agency and therefore critical to your success.
7. What type of remuneration do they prefer? Cost plus retainer? Project fees? Media commission? The type of remuneration should work for both you and the agency in regards to value, changes in budgets, workloads and cash flow.
8. How much of a partnership do you want from your agency? A partnership is about risk and reward. The most effective way to build a partnership is Performance Based Remuneration (PBR) where the agency risks profit and even overhead for the opportunity to share in the profits.
9. How effective is the ‘chemistry’ or ‘fit’? Most relationships that last long-term are based on mutual respect, understanding and consideration; more than the camaraderie of the new business pitch; its a genuine interest in or passion for your business; an open and honest approach that will engender trust and respect.
10. Do you have the time and expertise to consider all the options? If not, contact TrinityP3 as we have extensive and detailed database of agencies and experience in helping advertisers make the right choice.
When selecting a creative agency what are the criteria you use? What services are important to you? And what attributes? And how easy is it to distinguish one agency from another? Let me know with your comments here.
Darren very nice post. On Point 9, how would you actually judge the chemistry? Are there are any learnings?
Babita, one of the things we do as part of every pitch is organise a full day strategy workshop with the marketing team and each shortlisted agency (no more than 3 in any pitch) and during this workshop, we observe the body language, the group dynamics, we talk with the prospective agency and client about the chemistry or fit. Then post the workshop process we then discuss each of the agencies with the client to see where there is the strongest emotional, philosophical and cultural alignment. You will find there is a lot of this information in the blog here on relationships and alignment, including the Evalu8ing system we developed to measure and foster collaboration. What have you found has worked and what does not work in your experience Babita? BTW – love your blog.