marketing agency tieIn our last few searches, we found ourselves in a marketing agency search tie.

I personally love when this happens, but it suggests that while we did a good job delivering great agencies to our clients, we also made it as hard as possible for them to make a decision between firms.

So if you find yourself in this position, what do you do?  How do you break the tie?

Here are a couple of things you can consider – things we looked at/did over the past couple of searches:

  1. Look at who they bring to the table.  Did they bring senior staff or the folks that are going to work on your account every day?
  2. Make it an apples-to-apples comparison.  As an example, one of the agencies went above and beyond and offered perspective on a different aspect of the client’s business, so we asked the other agency to do the same.
  3. Talk budget.  Ask for an estimate of budget and ask for detail on how the agency expects to be paid.
  4. Give them a different challenge.  Present them with a follow-up assignment and see how they respond.
  5. Visit the agency.  This game is, and will always remain, a relationship business.  Get a feel for each agency by visiting their headquarters and see who you feel most comfortable with.
  6. Ask for references.  Talk to 2-3 of their existing clients (at least one small client and one large client) and ask them why they chose them, whether they feel like they are still treating them like they did the first day of the relationship, and explain your situation and see if their client thinks they’re well suited for your business.
  7. Ask them for their point of view on the future of marketing and advertising – specifically as it relates to your industry and your business – and see how their agency is prepared for this change – and how they’ll help you manage through this change.