Marketing Planet

How to select an agency?

Where to find agencies?

The choice of the agency you will work with should depend on what you are looking for. Every country has its "agency book" with the lists of agencies and the expertises the proclaim. There are very big ones or smaller ones, international or regional ones and ones that are specialised or the newcomers. It is not necessarely the most prestigious one that you will need in order to have good results.

Often a company has a habit of working with an agency, maybe different ones according to different projects. If you need to work with an agency, see what agency is already working for your company. Is there any rule that they should be the only agency for the company? If there is no such rule or no agency known within the company, try to see if anyone has a good reference on an agency. Word by mouth is still a good way to find agencies. Be careful, find out with what agency the competition is working, because you should probably better avoid them.

How to make your shortlist of agencies?

A shortlist may differ according to the mission within the same company. An agency cannot be good in everything and sometimes a different approach is required.

For a good selection take into account the following points:

  • Has the agency any history with the company? Is this required for a better understanding or do you need a "fresh" approach?
  • Is the agency having an experience in the type of mission you propose?
  • Has the agency worked with any competitors before, or still?
  • Does the agency has any experience in the business activity of the company?
  • Are you looking for a latest trend proposition or more normal proposition? The price directly changes according to this.
  • Do you need only a local approach or should the mission be developed internationally afterwards? Can the agency reply to this request?
  • What after-sales service offers the agency? Is there is any problem, will the agency be there to help?
  • Will the agency leave you all the rights of the items and elements used in the mission? Did they develop them or are they using the rights?
  • What is the delay you have in mind, and can the agency hold this delay? How about the availability of their resources?
  • What references does the agency have, see what they have done before and whether you like it.
  • What is their history and are they independant? If their shareholders are important or a threat to your company, better stay away from them.

A shortlist should in general have a maximum of 4 agencies.

Whenever meeting an agency for a mission, keep in mind that they should be the first to present themselves. If you tell them immediately what you need, they will focus their presentation on the details that might interest you and thus bias their approach and influence you.

During the selection, study how they react to your proposition, what ideas can they come up with instantly, do they understand your needs and can they propose something that stays inline with your aim? After their first presentation, they will come back to you with a proposition. Pay attention to who will be the contact within the agency for this mission. It reflects the importance they give to you and indicates the quality and experience you can expect in return.

A good selection is worthless if there is no relation during the mission. See also How to work successfully with an agency and How define a good brief. The company should not discharge itself during the mission and only wait for an final result. Working with an agency is like an partnership, both sides need to invest to achieve a result.