Ok…I know the title of this post is somewhat nonsensical, but that’s purposeful.
Wanted to emphasize the point that looking at too many agencies when in a review of new firms – simply isn’t a good thing.
When I hear about agencies getting involved in searches where there are 10+ agencies being looked at – it says to me: “no single agency in the mix will get a really good look by the marketer”.
The more you see, the less you know.
When we run searches for RSW/AgencySearch, we limit the number of initial agencies to 7. Even reviewing this many RFI responses can be daunting – if you’re asking the right set of questions and you’re giving it the time it rightly deserves.
By the time you hit RFI #5, one has a tendency to forget which piece of information came from which agency. That’s why I personally read them 2 or 3 times and make sure I take copious notes during each read.
It’s the only way to effectively make comparisons.
Any more than 7 and your eyeballs will start popping out, confusion will set it, and you’ll likely miss a real opportunity among the last 5-10 RFIs from the set of the 10-15 you’ve reviewed.
Key is asking the right questions upfront.
You keep it superficial in an early phase RFI and you’ll struggle to define differences. You get strategic in your questions, you look for relevance in their responses, you probe for like challenges that the agency has faced – and you’ll get a more robust response and richer insight. In the end, this will help you find the agency or agencies that merit further conversation.
So what does this mean for you, the marketer?
Means do your homework upfront. Define the parameters of what you’re looking for. Have someone review a large pool of agencies based on some initial qualifying questions…then once you narrow the list down…go deep.
And make sure you give it the proper time it deserves. Don’t try and rush it or short-cut it. This is an important decision for your business and the last thing you need/want is to be in a position shortly after bringing the agency on board, feeling like you should have looked at fewer agencies – with a sharper eye.