I’m on the final phase of a marketing agency search for a liquor marketing client.

We had three marketing agencies in the final pitch presentation.

As the 4A’s and the ANA had requested, we spelled out the requirements very specifically for the final presentation.

As an aside, this is something we’ve done since the start of RSW/AgencySearch.  As I said in a previous post…sad that the ANA and the 4A’s had to remind agency search firms that they need to do this…but I digress.

One of the agencies that presented was a multi-location agency formed by a single agency that had purchased firms over the years and renamed the agencies purchased under a single umbrella.

One of the agencies in our recent North American Breweries final pitch presentation was the same type of agency.  And the same thing happened.

It was clear that the agency had very little chemistry among its team members.  They tried hard to practice and create the impression that they were one cohesive unit, but at the end of the day it was clear that the other two agencies were much more of a team.  They laughed together, they showed equal levels of passion, they were much more organized and polished in their presentation.

All of this matters.

While the agency that didn’t have it all together were nice people and my client got along well with them, the fact that they didn’t operate all that well as a unified team was concerning.  If they couldn’t deliver well in a pitch presentation, what did that mean for my client?

Crappy communication?

Limited focus on the account – or inconsistent focus?

Too many moving parts – too many players in too many different areas to make it easy for my client to manage?

So what does this mean for you, the marketer?

I can tell you what it doesn’t mean…doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at agencies like this.  Just means you need to be aware of the issue and be prepared to address it before the final pitch presentation.  Or at the very least be aware of it as you roll into a final pitch.

While it’s absolutely important to evaluate the performance of an agency based on their content and their thinking…I believe it’s equally as important to evaluate an agency based on how they present and how they operate as a team – this can be a clear indicator of how they will work with you if you bring them on board.