It’s human nature to seek out the most efficient, streamlined way to accomplish a task.

This mindset has been the basis for, well, just about every innovation in recorded history.

That’s why it’s only natural that, when faced with an agency search, you instinctively want to cut a corner here, take a shortcut there, and generally get it done as quickly and painlessly as possible.

We’ve seen it often, and it rarely ends well.

Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly cut corners, why they’re among the first on the chopping block, and the risk you run by failing to put in the work to find the right agency – not just the most convenient one.

Creating a detailed, in-depth challenge document

Why it gets cut:

I won’t sugarcoat it: building an RFI, RFP, or other challenge documents is resource-intensive.

It takes a full evaluation of the project at hand, an understanding of the tools needed to solve it, and a thorough vetting of the questions needed to best whittle down the list to the best agencies for the job.

What’s the risk?

In an effort to avoid creating a challenge document from scratch, marketers will often find a template online that roughly approximates their needs.

Sometimes they make tweaks to it—oftentimes, they don’t. A paint-by-numbers document, however, will get you paint-by-numbers responses, and you’ll be no closer to finding your next agency than you were before.

Adopting a patient, relaxed search timeline

Why it gets cut:

Failing to take the time to conduct an effective search is nearly always a result of waiting until the last minute to begin the search. While not usually a conscious decision, it signals a misstep in long-term planning for future projects.

What’s the risk?

A rushed search is a sloppy search.

You’ll quickly find yourself lowering the bar in an effort to get the search over and the project off the ground. This can lead to a “first-come, first-serve” mindset for your first wave of agency candidates, and a tendency to look the other way on agency shortcomings in an effort just to get the job done.

For example, it often leads to reduced focus on…

Doing due diligence on past agency work

Why it gets cut:

Agency websites are designed to be slick – after all, that’s what many of them pride themselves on. It’s easy to be wowed by a nice site, impressive client logos, and a few name drops in prominent spots, and fail to take a deeper, more critical look at the agency’s past work.

What’s the risk?

Agency work is often the best indicator of what you can expect from the relationship moving forward.

What drove their thinking? How does it apply to the challenges you face?

If you don’t take the time to dive deep into agency work, don’t be surprised when they don’t live up to what they appeared to be on the surface.

As a marketer, you’re constantly juggling projects, and searching for an agency is likely far from the top of your list.

If you need the resources to conduct a search that’s strategic, full-featured, and designed to find the best agency rather than the easiest to find, feel free to contact me at 513-559-3101 or