Was with a prospective client the other day on the lead generation side of our business and he made the comment “don’t hire a dog and then do your own barking” – in his world meaning, don’t hire a firm to help you with new business and then dictate what’s to be done.  He was right.  Our sister company, RSW/US, is expert in the business of lead generation and business development.  Agencies aren’t.  Some of the biggest failures on that side of our world have been when clients tried to direct the efforts of our program.

As I thought about it, the same holds true on the Marketer side of the world.  You hire an Agency to be smart, strategic, creative, and proactive.  Now if they fail to deliver on any/all of those, you have the unalienable right to do away with them.  But at least give them a chance to prove themselves out.

I spent 10+ years in the CPG marketing side of the world and I know I sometimes fell victim to directing my agency – whether it was creative directing, strategy directing, or tactical directing – I did it.

At the end of the day you hire your Agency because you believe that they can carry the ball and are smart enough to get a good job done.

My counsel is give them some leash.  See if they can do what you want them to do.  Build up their confidence a bit before you jump in and make your mark on their plans….their ideas…their creative.

The first step is finding the agency that is capable of carrying the ball and servicing your business in a way that gives you the confidence.  Best way to evaluate upfront is to challenge their thinking in the early phases of the review.  Give them a tough strategic problem tied to your business and see how they respond.

Talk to their clients and see what they say – and learn how they work together.  Their relationship with your potential agency could be a foreshadowing of how your relationship plays with the agency.  Bottom line…do your homework – or have someone do it for you if you don’t have the time.