We’ve been conducting agency searches for over a decade, and a few times, we’ve seen marketers try to, for lack of a better phrase, “figure it out as they go” when they search for an agency.

They use the initial steps of the search to inform the type of partner they’re looking for, rather than the other way around.

Many times, their initial pool of contacts consists entirely of agencies they’ve heard about from contacts in the industry.  Or they might be connections from team members who’ve worked with them in the past.

It’s a haphazard way to start the process, rather than a focused, targeted effort to search for an agency based on your needs.

Does it always end badly? No. But is it the way we recommend you conduct your search?


In all of our searches, we start at the objective and work backwards. What kind of challenges are you looking to solve?

What kind of friction have you come up against in working with agencies in the past? Whether you’re hiring for project work or a full AOR, what kind of capabilities do you need to see in a partner?

Essentially, where do you want to see your brand at the finish line of the search?

Approaching the first steps of a search like this offers a few advantages.

It provides the building blocks needed to build your initial pool of agencies; something that, as we’ve covered, is easier said than done, and sets the tone for the rest of the process.

It also provides the basis for your challenge document.  It allows you to dig deeper with your questions, as we’ve advised in the past, is a necessity for making sure that you’re getting the right agencies in front of you and, candidly, making sure that your search candidates are able to think on their feet to provide satisfactory responses, as opposed to simply pulling from their generic stock of RFP responses.


At the end of the day, marketers like you are measured by their ability to… well, measure.

It’s a process that requires goal-setting and a long-term focus on where your brand wants to be. Why should finding your next agency be any different?

We take this tactic with every search we conduct, making sure your objectives are front and center every step of the way. If you’re interested in learning more about the difference it’s made in the marketing partnerships we’ve helped build, give us a call at 513-559-3101 or shoot me an email at msneider@rswagencysearch.com.