We’ve all seen it before…the ole bait ‘n switch.  Agencies bringing out all the stops during a presentation…lulling marketers into a false sense of feeling like they are (and will always be) #1 in the eyes of the agency.

Then shockingly… reality sets in.

The account is awarded and the hot shot principals that made such a great impression on you during the meeting are no longer to be found.

While an account can survive for some period of time during the initial stages of an engagement without those big dogs that make such a statement in the final pitch presentation, eventually the relationship will sour.

A lost sense of caring.

It’s not just a function of literally missing the top talent – it’s missing the feeling of being cared for and wanted by the agency that’s representing you.

We’ve seen in it searches we’ve run before for clients – going all the way back to our first search in 2010 for Citrix.  Their lead media agency (a big network agency) was barely giving them 1/2 the attention they deserved.  Citrix felt like a very small fish in a very large pond.

They called us and we helped them find a right size (independent) media agency that is still on their roster today.

So what to do?

How do you avoid the ole’ bait ‘n switch?

During the initial RFI phase find out where you’ll sit in the ranking of the agency’s clients. This will give you a good sense of how important you’ll really be in the grand scheme of all their accounts.

Find out how long some of their smaller clients have been around.  If they’ve been there a long time, this might suggest that there is little discrimination between accounts (based on size) and you might be treated well, no matter how big or small you are.

Demand that you meet the team during the final pitch presentation.  And we’re not just talking pictures of the team…meet the actual team.

Establish expectations upfront to help the agency better understand what is required of them going into the relationship.

Visit the agency and see how visible the principals are in the day-to-day activities of the accounts they work on.

And if you can, talk to other clients (of like size) to see how they’re treated.

If you need help, give us a call!