How to choose an agency: Know what you want (part 1)

Eenie You’re hiring an agency because you want results.

This is not about making your ads look prettier or your Web site cooler. (Although that may be a by product.) This is about doing more business, smarter.

So, how do you choose the right partner?  Eenie Meanie Mienie Moe?

Well, if you read my post from yesterday, you know I don’t think it should be an RFP.  But on the other extreme, it shouldn’t be just because your cousin works there either.

Following a simple process (simple to understand, but will take discipline and time to execute) will protect you from making an expensive mistake.

The phases of the process are:

  • Know what you want  (ask yourself questions)
  • Do your homework (ask the prospective agencies questions)
  • The meet and greet (get together and ask questions)

Let’s start with the first phase — knowing what you want.   You start with your own organization.  Before you reach out to find the right partner, it’s important to know what you are bringing to the party.

You should ask yourself a series of questions.  Let’s look at question #1:

Why are we looking for an agency? What do we want them to help us accomplish?

(Increasing sales locally? Increasing sales nationwide? Changing our image? Introducing a new product or service, etc.)

This question will help you decide exactly what results you need from an advertising agency. Some advertising agencies may not offer all the services you might need.

And on the flip side, some agencies may offer – and charge you for – services you don’t need. For example, if you decide that new business cards and a new letterhead are all that you need, a local design studio may be more cost-effective than a full-service advertising agency.

Watch for the next question you should ponder…

Flickr photo courtesy of PeeJ0e

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