Ever been involved in a final pitch presentation where the agency doesn’t bring in the agency team that is going to work on your business?

How do you feel?

Important because they’re all the high flyers from the agency?  Or disappointed because you like this firm, but wish they would have had the consideration to introduce me to the person/people running your business?

I suspect the latter.


So while it’s great when an agency thinks through the implications of, and importance of bringing in the agency team that is going to be responsible for your success, there are some things you need to be considerate of.

How long has this person been at the agency?

It’s a question I never forget to ask.

I’m always somewhat uneasy when the key account person is relatively new to the shop.

While there is a lot of sameness in the agency world, every agency definitely has its own personality and way of getting things done.

And while many agencies are relatively flat in their structure, it still takes some work to move things along in a firm.  Newbies aren’t going to carry quite the influence a tenured account person will have.

What is the person’s experience in the category that you operate in?

My expectation for any agency-client relationship is that the agency will go well beyond the job of executing and will be the thinking and value-added agency.  This includes adding value in the category in which you operate.

Bringing someone on board that has limited experience in the category will make it difficult for your partner in the agency to bring new thinking and broader strategic perspective to the table.

Having a strong and well-informed strategic partner sitting in the four walls of the agency can be a huge lift for any business.

How cohesive is the team overall?

You can tell a lot about an agency when you’re in a pitch situation.  How well they gel as a team is easily pulled out of a pitch presentation.  Do they like each other?  Do they present well together?  Do they all seem to speak with the same vision in mind?


If a team doesn’t spend a lot of time practicing, it is easy to spot.

So what does this mean for you, the Marketer?

I always tell agencies, the way they look today is the way marketers will think (or should think) they will operate tomorrow.  This holds true for everything the agency does.

How they first operate on an intro call.

How quickly they follow-up with information promised.

How user friendly and “about the marketer” their proposal is.

And how they look in a final presentation – and who they bring.

So if you’re in a position where you’re thinking about bringing in a new firm, start thinking about all the things you need to be aware of as you move the agencies along.

If you ever need any help finding a new marketing agency (of any type/size), happy to help at no cost to you.  Just drop me a line:  msneider@rswagencysearch.com


Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.