How to choose an agency: Know what you want (part 2)

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 earlier post 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 #2:

What kind of budget should/can we allocate to advertising for each of the next few years?

This question will narrow the number of candidate agencies.

Some larger agencies won’t touch accounts with less than $1 million in yearly billings. Conversely, some small agencies might not want to take on accounts that would drastically increase the workload beyond the limits of their staff.

You want to know that your agency can handle your workload. On the flip side, you want to know that you won’t be such a small fish that you’ll get ignored or relegated to the most junior of staff.

Logic will tell you that you don’t want to be 1% of an agency’s total billings nor do you want to be 75%. 

Watch for the next question you should ponder…

The rest of the How to Choose An Agency Series:

Flickr photo courtesy of PeeJ0e

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