Working to find a better marketing agency is no easy task. It can be time consuming, tiring, and downright confusing at times. We have seen marketers try it on their own, ask a friend, do a search, and more often than not, it’s less than perfect.
There are ways to minimize your efforts and the time you need to put into finding your next best firm.
There are basically four approaches (aside from referrals) that you can consider. Two require that you pay. The other two don’t require you to pay.
Multi-National Search Consultants
Examples include Select Resources International, Pile & Company, or AAR Partners. They have been around for years and typically work with larger marketers with multi-million dollar budgets. They will charge anywhere from $50k to the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the scope of the search. There are some firms like these that require the agencies to join their “consulting practice” in order to get in the consideration sets. And they typically work with a pretty predictable set of agencies for every search.
Examples of these include guys like Robb High, Avi Dan, among others. Independents that used to work in the ad business that now help marketers find better firms. These guys can be good advocates, know the ad business, but are limited in resources relative to how many firms they have knowledge of. They are typically going to be a lot more inexpensive than the multi-nationals, but will still cost you a pretty penny to manage the search.
This firm has been for years. AgencyFinder doesn’t charge marketers anything to manage the search, but they do charge agencies to participate in the search. While the model is a good one for marketers financially, there is an incentive for this firm to get as many agencies as possible to participate, because the more that participate, the more money they make. And just because an agency pays, doesn’t mean they get to move on to a final round of consideration.
Ok, so this is all a bit self serving, but frankly the searches we’ve managed since we started this business in 2010 have all worked out beautifully. From the work we did for Mercy Health, to the work we did for Legrand, to the work we did for Jack in the Box and Nissan Leaf…the relationships have proven solid and the marketers and the agencies found the process to be outstanding.
We don’t charge the marketers anything to run the search. We also don’t charge the agencies anything to participate in the search. This keeps us in a much more neutral position throughout the process. At the end of the day we don’t care who wins, our motivation is to make it hard for the marketer to make a selection because ALL of the agencies their reviewing in the final pitch are so solid, any will do.
We make our money by getting a small commission from the winning agency. We make nothing for the first two months while we’re managing the search, so we are highly motivated to make sure we get our marketers the best firms to review.
Agencies have loved it because it’s fair, we’re more transparent, and we’re an honest, hard-working bunch of Mid-Westerners. In our two and a half years managing this business we’ve never had an agency turn down our offer to participate in the search because they didn’t like our model.
Marketers love it because we bring perspective unlike any other option out there. We bring perspective from both sides of the fence both professionally and personally, so we understand the pains, challenges, and joys of building a great agency-client relationship.
Oh, and they also love it because it costs them nothing to manage!
Take a look at our firm: www.rswagencysearch.com. You might find you like what you see.