Every time I speak to a potential client and ask when they want to get started, they say yesterday. And getting selected… sometimes it’s because we’re the only agency who returned their call quickly enough.
This worries me. Companies are not allowing themselves enough breathing space to conduct their due diligence in selecting their advertising or marketing agency.
Every business needs marketing. Whether you are growing or maintaining your business, the challenge is to find that friction point of building your internal resources or outsourcing to a team of experts. Make it count.
To help you with your due diligence, here are my top five tips to finding the best agency:
1. Create a shortlist of 4 or 5 recommended agencies
Broaden your search as one or two will always drop out.
2. Be clear on the questions you want answered
Advise the agency of what you want them to cover in the meeting. This will make the most of your time and theirs; otherwise you’ll end up sitting through endless presentations of client case studies.
3. Be open about your marketing budget so they can craft ballpark fees
Client budgets and agency fees are often spoken about too late in the process. If you wait until after you’ve chosen an agency, you risk not aligning and having to run the selection process all over again (or apologising to your second favourite agency and having the fee conversation with them.)
4. Create a set of criteria and use a weighted average to select your agency
Agree on the key criteria with those members of your company who will be at the agency selection meetings. Using the same template, members from your company score each criterion between 1 – 5 (I don’t allow 3 to be used, so you all really need to think before applying a score!). This provides a more rigorous process for you to make a considered decision.
5. Ask each agency who their current clients are and how your company would fit in
A large agency will present great case studies and dazzle you with a large team. However if your budget is $750,000 and their clients spend $5m+ you just won’t be important enough. Choose an agency that will make you a priority client.
With marketing budgets averaging 12% of company revenue and another 3% being allocated to drive the technology that impacts on customer touch points, you need to spend that 15% wisely.
Investing in an agency means you have access to a full brains trust that provides you with the marketers, strategists, creatives, media buyers and PR specialists all in one place working towards the one goal.