If you think of your agency simply as a vendor, you’re not getting your money’s worth. An agency partner can and should be a valued member to your marketing team, not merely a source of great creative or advertising. While planning for 2011, and evaluating possible agency partners, ask yourself, “How flexible will they be?” and “Will they compliment my organization’s personality, goals, objectives and success for the upcoming year?” And more importantly, “Will having them on my team make my internal people better?” Let’s assume you wouldn’t consider an agency that wasn’t delivering great creative—that has to be a given. But creative usually isn’t what you will be evaluated on. Ask, “Have they helped their clients achieve profitability and grow? How are they structured? Will they need to augment their team? Are they creative?” It is important to look beyond and gauge the agency's personality when starting an agency review. How else do you weed through the numerous agencies that all look alike, with their "cool" process for getting your marketing done?
How will you evaluate if it’s a perfect match? Inquire...
- What is the level of excitement by the agency (how much and why do they want your business)?
- How would the agency work with internal/external resources, remote locations/virtual offices situations, your existing partners and vendors?
- What does their implementation, initiation and on boarding process look like?
- What is their communication process and style?
- How does the agency combine strategy and creative execution across disciplines for all points of contact?
There are many considerations when conducting an agency review or putting out an RFI. Selecting the right partner for your marketing initiatives makes all the difference for YOUR job, YOUR company, YOUR time and overall work/life balance! The right agency partner handles what you don't want, don't have time to do, makes you look good, and stays focused on helping you see real results and reach your company's business goals.
As important as the quality of work is, so is the quality of the people doing the work. From our experience on the other side of the table, potential clients who focus as much on personality (mesh value) and the working relationship up front, spend less time playing catch up at the end of the pitching process to be certain they have made the best business decision in the selection of their agency partner.