Short cut a search and your search (or the agency) is certainly going to short circuit.

I know from conversations had with marketers that they often wait until what they feel is the last minute to decide it’s finally time to look for a new marketing agency.

Then the race begins and the view of agencies narrows, compromises are made, and time is cut at the expense of the quality of a search.

Typically our searches last 8 weeks from start of relationship to finding and agreeing on a new firm.

Anything much less than that is a bit risky.

Agency Search can be risky business

Agencies might look one way on their site, but when you dive down into it you begin to find out things like:

  • The agency work is 5+ years old
  • The examples on the site were a small project that never went anywhere else
  • The work was done by the creative guy at his old agency 10 years ago

So do you due diligence.

Push out some pre-qualifying questions to narrow down your list.  Ask them to describe a situation they’ve been in that your dealing with.  Have them give you an inventory of clients in your space, the number of years they’ve worked with them, and if they’re still on board.

Some basics if you have to cut corners a bit…but if you try and just rely on what you see, or what some smooth talking agency person tells you on the phone, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

study for the agency search

Not unlike you’d study and prepare for a test in school.

And not unlike when you conduct a major market analysis if you’re looking to introduce a new product or service.

You need to do your homework before you bring a new agency on board.

If you short-cut, you’re sure to short-circuit.

It might not affect the search – as you’ll feel like things are moving along well, but it could impact what comes after.

The relationship with your agency, your expectations that you came out of the agency search with that may not manifest themselves when the relationship begins.

Take your time, take a breadth, conduct a smart search.  If you don’t have the time, call us and we can help.


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.