How successful was your agency search (really)?

Whether you’re just wrapping an agency search or contemplating undertaking one in the near future, how can you measure the success of your agency search? And if your answer to that is ‘how happy we are with our new agency‘, you’re missing out on some great insights.

You see, while that’s a partial answer, if you’re a really smart marketer you’ll have a whole lot to look back on to help you manage your new agency relationship better than you managed the last one, and you’ll have acquitted your agency search process with consideration for everyone you met with along the way.

Here’s what a truly successful agency search should (really) look like:

You learned more about your own organization

Because agency relationships are dependent on the clients they serve, they’re as much about chemistry and fit with your own organization as they are about the agencies themselves. If you’ve asked the right questions and really taken time to look at the pros and cons of each agency, while stacking them up against your incumbent agency’s performance, you should uncover some really good insights about your own organization and how you work as a team.

Your eyes were opened to what the market really has to offer

Our business has shifted so quickly and agency models have evolved so rapidly, that unless you’re in the unique position of having gone through an agency search in the last year or so, an agency pitch is going to be an eye opener.  In our view, every pitch should have a seamless connection between brand digital and media offerings, and how the market has evolved to meet that connection continues to surprise – and hopefully delight – marketers who are evaluating their agency rosters.

Feedback was consistent

If a pitch has gone well, your feedback should be reasonably consistent across all stakeholders. In addition to your internal stakeholders, consider those agencies that were rejected along the way.  All marketers should take time to give feedback to agencies not selected personally.  And everyone’s done their job well, the most common thing we after giving feedback is, “that’s a fair comment…”.  It underscores the evaluation process was thoughtful and accurate, and reinforces decisions that were made along the way.

Your team was (and is) aligned

Sounds easy, but we’ve seen emotions get seriously high when evaluating agency pitches.  The best way to get that alignment is to take extra time to ensure stakeholders were listened to, issues were addressed and your evaluation criteria clearly defined before you went to market for an agency.  Not taking time to really define the kind of agency you’re looking for, or indeed your real evaluation criteria, are primary issues team misalignment during evaluation.

Your process was fair

No matter what kind of agency you’re looking for or what your circumstances were that led to the search process, you need to ensure your agency search process is fair and transparent. Making sure agencies understand both the process they’re following, and the evaluation criteria by which they’ll be judged are key factors in ensuring fairness and transparency.  Choosing an empowered search team and holding them to the highest standards of governance during the process will also give you confidence your process is beyond reproach.

And of course… you landed on an agency that you and your team love – and loves you back!

If you’re in any doubt or the process seems overly complex, employ the services of a professional agency search consultant to help you and your team set yourselves up for success, and avoid the pitfalls of a poorly run agency search process.


Stephan Argent is Founder and Principal at Listenmore Inc offering confidential advisory to marketers looking for truly independent insight and advice they can’t find anywhere else. Read more like this on our blog Marketing Unscrewed / follow me @StephanArgent

Photo: Andy Morffew
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