How Would You Choose an Agency?

Would you put out a comprehensive RFP to a select group of the top 10 agencies you've heard of? An RFP that is so strict, it only reads more like a high school homework assignment than a creative opportunity? With timelines that force agency folk to work for 2 weeks straight just to exceed you're expectations?

Or would you just send over a "trial" brief to see how agencies think and, more importantly, what they create?

In an article from AdAge today, author Avi Dan provides marketers a list of things to think about during the agency selection process. A couple of tips that resonated:
  • Determine the agencies turnover rate - especially among young people; what is the culture like? Are AC's and AE's staying or are they making the jump minutes after they've been promoted?
  • A Cast of Thousands cannot make a good decision - selecting an agency shouldn't be by committee (should anything be?). Gather the CMO and a few key people and make the choice.
  • Don't select an agency based on reputation - sure they did a few hot ads this year, but how many clients have they won in the last 5? More importantly, how many did they lose?
Whatever you do, be smart about the decision. Shifting agencies (now common after 3 years) can result in huge amounts of downtime as your new team gets ramped up, takes the time to understand your business and brand challenges. On the other hand, it might be nice to try something new - especially if the creative product is lacking.

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