When we conduct searches, we’re always on the lookout for shops that have an eye on the horizon.

The best agencies are those that are adaptable enough to adjust to changing trends, but have the discernment to do so in a way that augments their strengths and identity, rather than diluting them.

We recently talked about things to avoid in looking for the agency of the future, but what are some qualities that agencies should look to pick up and, more importantly, how can you spot them in the search?

Seeing Metrics as Friends, Not Foes

Data-driven measurement has quickly become a “need” rather than a “nice-to-have,” even as many agencies fear that the drive for analytics is beginning to throttle the creative process.

The choice between a freewheeling creative group and a box-checking KPI factory is, of course, a false dichotomy.

The best fit will lie somewhere in between, and see these benchmarks as an ally, providing traffic signals along the road to new and fresh ideas.

Data analytics is here to stay, and rather than fight against it, your agencies should embrace it as a tool for improvement. Look for mentions of ROI measurement throughout the search process, and find a partner that is willing to adapt to your KPIs while still providing the fresh ideas that you expect from a new partner.

Narrowing Focus, Improving Quality

Similar to the rise of analytics, the shift to a project-based marketing landscape has caused growing pains for more than a few agencies.

Rather than trying to find an agency to be the answer to all of your problems, consider those with a strong focus in one or two areas of expertise, and deploy them tactically on projects that would benefit from those skills.

Cooperation among your roster is a core requirement – ensure that you’re allowing each agency to shine in their role, and that your lineup is assembled with these specialties in mind.

Putting Your Relationship at the Forefront

Once upon a time, strong case studies and a proven track record were enough to earn an agency a robust client base.

As the space continues to grow, however, these faceless marketing factories simply have fewer seats at the table compared to agencies that are willing to place resources into nurturing the client relationship itself.

Do your agency partners have your needs in mind when developing projects? Are they looking to evolve your brand identity? Are they asking the right questions to determine how to best tackle your business challenges?

Your agency shouldn’t be developing strategy without keeping you in mind and in the loop, and they certainly shouldn’t simply be taking your orders and offering “paint-by-numbers” solutions. It needs to be a two-way street of communication, with both parties offering perspective on the road ahead.

Agency trends that were once distant blips on the horizon are now an undeniable reality.

It’s critical to find an agency that is prepared for the new look of marketing – otherwise, you’ll find yourself falling behind before you know it.

We tailor our searches to your needs, finding you a marketing partner that’s able to approach your marketing hurdles with a fresh perspective both now and in the future – because we take pride in building agency-client relationships that are fruitful, productive, and long-lasting. If you need some help looking for a forward-thinking agency, give us a call at (513)-559-3101 or drop us a line (msneider@rswagencysearch.com) .