Outside boxIf you are really serious about finding the best agency you possibly can, do yourself a favor and don’t just ask your typical set of questions in an RFI.

Break out of the mold.

Fine and important to ask questions about their size, experience, etc.  But if that’s all you do, likelihood is you’ll end up with a bunch of agencies that look very similar, except for a few nuances differences in experience and relevancy of their work.

What will really help you set the good agencies apart from the average agencies is asking questions that make them work.

You’ll find out just how bad an agency wants the relationship by the value of their answers to questions they typically don’t answer in an RFI.

Start digging into areas that are relevant to your world…the challenges you face…the kinds of solutions you’re looking to unearth from potential agency partners.workers

Poke around and see what kind of thinkers you’ve got in the consideration set.

Ask some “bigger thinking” questions to see how well they can think strategically about the world of marketing and advertising.

See if the agency is capable of really stepping outside the box – not just in terms of creative work in typical outlets, but creative executions that aren’t advertising.

Questions that force the agency to push themselves and think beyond what is comfortable.

Here are few you can use:

  1. In 100 words or less, why would you make a great partner for my company.
  2. Share an experience where you’ve helped take a client from a limited presence in the digital space to one that created positive movement for the client.
  3. Give me three examples that showcase your creativity – that aren’t ads.
  4. Provide me with your POV on the future of advertising and what you are doing in your agency to prepare yourself and your clients for these changes.



Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.