Planning on putting out an RFP or a simple request for information to a group of agencies?

You may not know it now, but if you push out too many of them or make your “survey” too long, you’ll have a heck of a time wading through all the responses to legitimately identify firms that meet your desired criteria.

Your ability to focus will fade as you hit response number nine or ten and your level of critical judgment will begin to fail you as you try and assess the differences between firms.

They’ll potentially all start sounding a like.

So how do you make it easy on yourself – regardless of the number of agencies or length of the questionnaire you’ve asked the agencies to respond to?

Here are five things that you should look for when reviewing responses from agencies you’re considering as new partners:

  1. Are their responses and examples relevant to your world?  Do they provide examples that match up with your category, your challenges?
  2. Do they help you understand why they are offering up the things they are offering up in their response?  Or do they just give you the examples and not explain why something should be relevant or meaningful to you?
  3. If they present creative, do they make it easy for you to get to it (if it’s a link)?  Do they seem proud of it and make it big and bold and beautiful?  Or do they present it in a way that makes it hard for you to see it? 
  4. If you ask them why they would make a good partner, do they give you generic responses (like “we’re strategic”) or do they dial it down to your world and lay out examples of their experience and interest in your category?  The more it doesn’t sound like a cut and paste response, the more likely they really care.
  5. Do they follow directions well?  Or do they mix up the responses and not fully answer questions or give you half responses?

So next time you push out information for agencies to respond to, do yourself a favor and limit the numbers and the length of the survey.

And next time you push out information for agencies to respond to, do yourself a favor and focus on these five areas as they will prove the best predictors of new marketing agency success.