Over the past 18-months, we’ve seen a definite increase in the number of clients asking us to facilitate agency searches for project work.
Some clients are looking to expand their agency roster brain trust, while others want to test-drive a relationship before committing to further involvement.
While the reasons are varied, there are best practices as to how these types of searches should be implemented and here are some helpful tips:
- Clarity – The project scope, agency selection criteria, and search plan need to be clear, in written format and vetted internally. And have the proposed master services agreement, which clearly defines the relationship and terms, ready and available to share with participating agencies.
- Brevity – The search should have a short completion cycle, no more than 4-6 weeks, and limit the number of agencies under consideration to 6 when developing the agency slate.
- Sans RFI – Proper pre-vetting should make a full blown RFI unnecessary and for a project…good luck finding an agency wanting to complete your 30+ questions!
- Be Social – Select 3-4 agencies from your initial roster and meet with them – in person, not by phone! Go to their offices. Chemistry and cultural alignment is key to success.
- Spec Work?! – Remember that this is a project, not an AOR search. Spec work is time-consuming and expensive for participating agencies, so unless you plan to pay them for it, don’t ask for it.
- Ban FOMO – People always find an excuse as to why they need to be involved, but this is like taking your friends and family to your dates…and it actually doesn’t end well in the long run. Keep the agency selection team as small as you can make it, keeping it to those responsible for the project strategy and relationship management. If you’re an experienced and successful marketer, then you know how to make resourcing decisions. Still getting pressured? Use a RACI Matrix to manage your internal constituents’ involvement.
If you have questions or insights on conducting a project agency search, we’d love to hear from you.
Bajkowski + Partners LLC is a leading consultancy providing services to marketing and procurement teams in the areas of agency relationship management, agency search, process audits, contract and SOW development and audits, and a number of other marketing resource and marketing operations related areas. For more information, please visit our website.