Agencies too often spend too much time talking about themselves when presenting to a prospective client (you) and do little to learn about your problems, challenges, obstacles.

This leads to a very one-sided, generic presentation of self…versus discovery of you.

Despite all that agency consultants tell them, agencies often focus on who they are, what they do, and the character that defines their agency in an attempt to try and impress marketers.

Here’s a list of of the Top 10 things you don’t want to hear from agencies (things I’ve heard in pitches from agencies when I was a CPG marketer – and often see agencies say about themselves today) – that I hope you never have to hear when in an advertising agency search mode:

1. We are very strategic (one would hope);
2. We are a lot of fun to work with (I’m not buying “fun”);
3. We have clients that have been with us for decades (so do lots of other agencies);
4. You’ll never get the “B” team (better not);
5. We are hard working (hello…that’s what I’m paying you for);
6. We’re 360 degrees (still don’t quite know what that means);
7. We are media agnostic (so nice that your not in bed with the media);
8. We are results driven (you betcha’)
9. We know the importance of your brand (better!);
10. We think BIG! (damn…was looking for small thinkers!)


How do you avoid this? How do you sort out the narcissistic agencies from those that really care? No easy task.

Here are some tips to help you avoid the pains of spending hours listening to stuff you don’t care about:

1. Be specific in your RFP request;
2. Be specific with the agenda you set up for the presentation;
3. Have the agency submit their creds prior to the presentation;
4. Have the agency focus on answering a problem/challenge when presenting or responding;
5. Limit the amount of time an agency has to present (or respond if it’s an RFP)

Or if you hire a firm or bring in a firm like RSW/AgencySearch spell it out for them and let them deal with the pains of listening to a lot of sameness to find the gems in the rough.

To be clear, there are great agencies out there…just takes some digging and probing and patience.