When considering selecting or evaluating a creative supplier, be it a media agency, digital agency, advertising agency or any one of a number of creative suppliers on your roster, I find it valuable to classify the selection or evaluation criteria by the 4Cs.
By starting with the 4Cs you will ensure you undertake a full and robust evaluation of an agency and their ability to fulfil your requirements.
Assessing capabilities comes down to ensuring an agency has the right people, with the right experience and a proven and tested methodology. While many feel it is necessary to make an agency undertake a mock or dummy run at proving their abilities, it is much more efficient and effective to assess the agency based on their recent track record with their existing client base.
The very first advertising agencies were actually media agencies. It was only later, around the mid 1800s that they started to offer creative to run in the media space they were buying as a way to attract more clients.
But when you think of the system implemented at the time, including accreditation and media commissions, in many ways the agents were more like selling agents than buying agents. The media owners found it very convenient to set up accredited agents as a way of minimizing their risk of defaulting debtors, by setting strict financial requirements on the media agents and effectively passing this risk to the agencies.
Then they paid the agents a commission based on the volume sold to the clients. It was only later, after the introduction of providing creative services, additional fees were levied by the agents on their clients.
Three months is a long time in many industry categories. It’s also a long time to invest a lot of time in the process, for both agencies and the marketers selecting them.
Many would argue it is required to undertake a rigorous and exhaustive review of the options for such an important decision. That may be true. But what if you only had five or six weeks to select an agency? What if you needed to have a new strategic partner and did not have three months or more to do it?