As the head of company that services agencies (by helping them find new business) I know how painful it can be for an agency that is involved in a search to not make the final cut.  They pour their hearts into a search, dedicating lots of agency resources, exciting the troops, and dreaming of someday – finally – to work for a dream client’s brand.

What’s worse for these agencies is when they don’t get feedback from the agency search firms managing the search – or from the marketer – if it’s a marketer-led search.

It’s like taking a test and not knowing what you’ve done wrong – so you continually make the same mistakes over and over again.  Doesn’t help the agency and doesn’t help the industry.

We are all good decent people, so let’s treat each other the same way we’d want to be treated.

For the search consultant, I know providing feedback is no easy task.

In addition to heading up a company that services agencies, I also run an agency search firm that helps small-to-mid-spend marketers find best-in-class marketing agencies.  Just yesterday I had to call the four agencies that did not make it into the final round of a search I’m running for Eagle Foods, which just acquired two gems:  Hamburger Helper and Suddenly Salad. Two brands that any of the agencies involved in our search would love to support.

Never any fun providing the bad news.  The Eagle Foods client was great.

They gave me some solid feedback on the reasons why that each agency didn’t make the cut.  At the end of the day, I’m certain that this feedback really helped these agencies understand where things went wrong – either in the absolute or relative to the other firms – which will be something they remember the next time they find their way into an RFP/search situation.

They didn’t like hearing it, but they appreciated it.  And they told me they rarely get it.

So What Does this Mean for You, the Marketer?

If you’re a marketer managing a search, take the high road (and the tough road) and give the agency feedback.  And if you’re using a search firm to help you manage your search, demand that they do the same…after all, you’re paying them…and it’s their job.