It is difficult searching agency details unless you know where to look

A marketer was questioning the cost of us providing a market review of agencies suitable for their requirements as they had a comprehensive list of suitable agricultural specialist agencies already. I asked how they developed the list and was told it came from the recommendations of the team at a prominent financial services company.

I immediately offered to review the list for them for free.

The findings were that every single agency of the 12 on the list had competitive conflicts. How? Because all of the people in the team had worked with these agricultural specialist agencies at previous jobs in the same category.

So how do you get the agency details you need to make a list of suitable agencies?

A better question is what type of information do you need about the agencies to be able to select the right ones? Beyond basic contact details you need to find out: current clients, key staff, core capabilities, number of staff, financial performance, company philosophy, offices, affiliations and networks etc.

We use a number of databases to keep track of more than 100,000 agencies and companies across the globe including:

  1. TrinityP3 Global Agency Register – which is our own 8 year old database with a comprehensive list of agencies and marketing services companies in the Asia Pacific region.
  2. Adstrument Online Agency Database – is available to us through the Marketing FIRST Forum and has an extensive list of agencies in Europe, North America and Asia.
  3. – is a subscription database through the AdForum Worldwide Summit with a broad listing across global markets.

What other sources are available?

Here are some other sources of agency information:

  1. Online directories – there are a number of online directories, mostly associated with trade press or publications. These are usually limited in the amount of information provided and often only include the most basic contact details, but nevertheless can be a good starting point. eg. AdAge, Adforum, BradInsightsUK etc
  2. Industry bodies – Organisations representing advertising agencies in each market will often provide details of their members and their services. While not comprehensive, it can be insightful into the agencies established enough to commit to supporting their industry. But remember that often there are separate organisations representing media, digital, promotional etc so make sure you find the right organisation for the services you require. eg. IPA, 4As, Communications Council etc
  3. Trade press – Every market has some type of trade press coverage and in some cases there can be multiple publications both print and online. These can be invaluable sources of information regarding agencies and their account wins and losses, appointment and award wins. This can be used to research agencies you have already identified as potential participants. eg. Advertising Age, Campaign, AdNews
  4. Agency websites – Most agency sites will provide their contact details and showcase their work at best, but agencies are hesitant to list incumbent clients or provide details of key staff beyond the new business director and the CEO / Managing Director. But agency websites give you an idea of how they position themselves in the market. After all the way they promote their own brand and design the user experience is an insight into what they can do for you.
  5. As colleagues and peers – Obviously avoid asking people that work in your category as most of their recommendations will lead to agencies with conflicts. But asking peers and colleagues working in other categories is definitely worthwhile.
  6. Ask the agencies – while some people suggest sending out formal RFIs to fifty or more agencies, this is wasteful and can be unproductive. It also flags to the industry that you are about to review and can hijack the process, especially if the incumbent has not been informed. Also in regards to capabilities, the agency will be inclined to be experts at everything. But a confidential discussion with the CEOs of the agencies you are considering is definitely worthwhile.

What other ways are there for getting information on the agencies you are looking for? Let me know by leaving a comment here.

Of course if it is all too hard, then you can contact us and we can do this for you.