Listening is a skill that few agencies have effectively mastered.

In our Marketer surveys we run annually (and can be found on our site: you consistently tell us year after year that you feel agencies talk too much about themselves and don’t do enough listening and don’t take enough time to learn about your business – particularly when they first meet you.

Back in 2005 when I first started this business, I presented to a group of about 15 agency executives.  I gave them each a piece of paper and asked each of them to give me their “elevator pitch”.

14 of the 15 agencies all looked the same.

They were “creative”, “strategic”, “fun to work with”, and “hard working”, among other things.

I think the same is true of agencies that only talk about themselves when they first reach out to marketers.  If 15 presented to you, I would bet that 14 of the 15 would look very much the same.  They’d present their great work in their categories and talk about how great they are.  Yawn.

It’s that 15th agency that you need to keep your eyes out for.

That 15th agency that reaches out with ideas, or good strategic questions, or is more interested in you and your challenges and the challenges of the business than they are about talking about themselves. 

So keep an eye out.

You find that one agency that is more interested in you, and likelihood is, their interest in you and your business will carry well beyond that initial engagement.