Ad Age recently featured a story about an Agency Search panel conversation that took place at this month’s Mirren Business development conference in New York.

A group of Agency Search consultants talked about the problems with today’s agency search world, specifically calling out issues related to the following:

  • Transparency
  • Procurement
  • Confusing processes

This panel left out one important element that Agencies and Marketers often tell us that bugs them about search consultants:

Neutrality

Neutrality in how search consultants select agencies.  Often times search firms have pre-determined lists that they work from.

They need to do like we do – build each list custom for each search.

Neutrality in who they serve.  Search firms often leave agencies in the dark – or treat them as second class citizens – offering little counsel or advice to help them through the process.  In the end you end up with a less than perfect look at your agency choices.

They need to do like we do – be there to help agencies deliver their best possible work and there to help clients manage their way through a process that can be pretty daunting.

Neutrality in how they make their money.  Search consultants either have agencies play only if they pay, or play if they join their consulting practice – and then they take money from the client to manage the search.  Who are they really beholden to?

They need to do like we do – take nothing from nobody until the search is complete.  We view our job is making it very difficult for the client to make a decision and making even the losing agencies feel like they were treated well, they know where they fell down, and they feel good about the overall process.

They need to do like we do – but they can’t or simply don’t.  Not sure why.  In the end our approach delivers a better pool of better talent for clients to pick from.