Too often, marketers are in a hurry to bring a new marketing agency on board because their existing agency is falling down.

And too often, marketers only look at the functional attributes of a marketing agency and do not peel back a layer or two to see what is inside.

Only examining things like their size, their client list, their bench depth, don’t give you a real solid sense of the value of an agency.

You need to dig deeper.

I have seen RFPs and RFIs that are painfully rich with requests for metrics and functional characteristics about the agency.

Problem is, they are absent of a real understanding of whether the agency is capable of addressing the fundamental issues confronting your challenges.

The best agencies make it all about you and not about what they do and how great they are.

So, you need to set yourself up for success by taking a case study approach to diving deep into the agency’s world.

And by case study approach, I do not mean asking the agencies to include relevant case studies in an addendum.

What I mean is asking them to tell you when they have dealt with specific situations you’re dealing with/have dealt with and what they have done to address them – and of course, what the outcome was.

Using this approach will help you understand the agency’s thinking, their ability to operate strategically and creatively as they solve problems that mirror your own.  This approach will also help you understand the degree to which the agency is thinking about you.

If they are worth their weight, they have a decent understanding of who you are, the market you play in, and the landscape that you market in and operate in.

So assuming they have this understanding, as they respond to your questions about how they addressed challenges similar to your own, examine the degree to which they relate their work and thinking to your current and future world.

If they are thinking about you, it will come through loud and clear.

When I examine RFI responses in searches we run for our marketing clients, I look at all of the above.

It is more time consuming in that it takes time to think about the questions to ask and it takes time to read and think about their answers.  But as they say…good inputs in, great outputs out.

This is probably why we have met with some very solid success over the last 10 years, helping marketers find better marketing agencies.  Take the time to do it the right way.  Dig deeper and you will end up with a better firm.

If you need help finding better firms, happy to help.  Just drop me a line ( or give me a call (513-559-3101).  Thanks!