Looking for a Search Consultant  |  Reasons Why Client/Agency Relationships Fail
Most Common Mistakes in Agency Searches
Most Common Mistakes Agencies Make in New Business Pitches

To help you get the most success from your brand communications resources, we have developed the following suggestions, based on the combined 50+ years experience of our partners. This is only the beginning of the insight we can offer.

Looking for a search consultant?

Before you search for an advertising agency, you’ll need to look for a search consultant to help you. The criteria below should help you select the best consultant for your needs.

Doesn your search consultant have:

  • The ability to develop and coach stakeholder teams, ultimately helping them reach consensus?

  • Expertise in identifying and formalizing scope of work requirements for candidate agencies?

  • Knowledge and expertise with most prominent marketing communications agencies?

  • Skills in obtaining the right data, information and insights on candidate agencies, extracting what you need to know rather than what these agencies would like to pitch?

  • The ability to tailor the review process to your needs. Clients often have complexities and internal obstacles to a smooth agency selection, which can be successfully navigated with expert assistance?

  • Experience in managing several agency reviews involving different communications disciplines at one time?

  • Experience in evaluating potential media cost and delivery performance of candidate agencies?

  • Ability to evaluate candidate agency/ staffing and compensation proposals, including performance-based programs?

Most Common Client Mistakes in Searches

  • Agency selection criteria not clearly defined
  • Process either too objective or subjective
  • Process creates apples –to-oranges comparisons
  • Right questions aren’t asked
  • Key stakeholders are not involved in the selection process
  • Discord among stakeholders on the role and responsibility of the agency
  • Agency biases or an uneven playing field
  • Compensation too heavily weighted in making the agency selection decision
  • Scope of work is incomplete and/or lacks sufficient detail
  • Timetable does not allow for sufficient agency contact and evaluation
  • Agency selection made without properly addressing agency staffing and compensation plans
  • Client and agency cultures and work styles not given serious consideration
  • Expecting the ultimate advertising campaign to be born in the search process

Why Client / Agency Relationships Fail?

Client/agency relationships are fragile at best. All too often, they lack mutual respect, trust and candid communications. The reasons for break-ups are varied. Some of the most prevalent reasons are discussed below.

  • Change in marketing, sales or advertising management—there is a strong trend among new executives to hire their “own” agency
  • Communications between client and agency is no longer effective due to a failure to listen
  • Client’s sales, profits or market share erode and the client loses confidence in the agency’s recommendations
  • Belief that the agency can no longer develop superior creative
  • Key agency personnel working on the client’s business leave the agency or are transferred to other accounts within the agency
  • Poor agency service or taking the client for granted
  • Agency compensation issues
  • Competitive conflict develops
  • Client is acquired by another company, or under goes a major reorganization
  • Client fails to define the role and responsibility of the agency

Most Common Mistakes Agencies Make in New Business Pitches

What are some of the common mistakes that agencies make in pitching new business? Our experience in agency search has helped us identify some of the more prevalent mistakes agencies make in new business presentations.

  • Failure to build a personal relationship with prospective client
  • Agency talks too much about itself
  • Agency focuses on services not benefits
  • Wrong agency personnel in the pitch
  • Agency doesn’t do the necessary homework
  • Uses too many buzz words
  • Doesn’t discuss relevant case histories
  • Failure to discuss its unique agency culture
  • Knowing too much too soon
  • Lack of team work
  • Lack of openness when it comes to agency financials
  • Fails to adhere to search guidelines established by the advertiser or search consultant
  • Agency pitch focuses on search consultant not the advertiser
  • Agency fails to deliver a sound marketing communications strategy
  • Agency does not demonstrate high level of energy or desire

For a free, personal and confidential consultation on agency
compensation and other contract issues, please call Dwight Shelton
at 770-331-8298

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