An Agency Should Fit Like A Perfect Pair Of Jeans

An Agency Should Fit Like A Perfect Pair Of Jeans

An Agency Should Fit Like A Perfect Pair Of Jeans

Like a perfect pair of jeans, finding an agency for your business might require you to try a few on before you find the right fit.

Sure, they all say they do the same things, and they basically do, but finding the right agency is much more than finding one that does a service you need. And just like a perfect pair of jeans you want your agency to make you feel good, know that they are capturing your audience’s attention and most of all be comfortable with them since they’re a big investment.

“Don’t hire an agency. Hire a culture.”

-Ad Age

So how do you find the perfect fit?

  • Basics first. What do you want in an agency? Do you want a partner that will help you with your business strategy or just execute creative ideas you give to them? Do you want a boutique shop where you are a big client or do you want a big agency that has hundreds of resources around the globe you can draw from? Knowing this will help narrow your search field.
  • Know your needs. Make sure when you are searching for an agency you understand your needs first. What is right for another business might not be right for you. Answer the following 7 questions before you start your search. Chances are the agencies you talk to will ask you the same questions (if they don’t that’s a sign that they might not be the right fit).
    1. Why are you looking for an agency?
    2. What are you trying to accomplish? What are your specific marketing goals
    3. Who are the decision makers in your selection process? Do you understand their needs?
    4. Do you have time to partner with an agency? Who will be the main contact at your company? (Link to are you being a good partner?)
    5. What is your budget?
    6. What is most critical in your selection process?
    7. What are your deal breakers?
  • Make a short list. Now that you know what you need ask around for agencies that will fit your requirements. Do a google search and scan social media sites to get a feel for the style of each agency. Web sites tend to tell you what the agency wants you to hear while social site are a bit more organic and style and personality show more.
  • Get to know them. Once you have a short list (and we mean short, no more than 5) engage the agencies to get to know them.
    1. A lot of companies will go to RFP first but you might rule out the perfect fit based on something that can be negotiated later like price or Who will be my team? Make sure to meet them and see if you click.
    2. Can I see samples of creative work? Go beyond the image and ask them how they came up with it and what they were trying to achieve. Then ask if it generated those results.
    3. How would you approach my business? Find out if they do market research as part of the creative process and iftimelines. Stop by the agency and try them on for size just like you would a pair of jeans. The office environment also says a lot about the way your business will be run. While you are there, ask the following 9 questions they think strategically before they apply creative.
    4. I’ve got this much to spend and this amount of time to do it in, can you work with that? Talk about timeline and budget expectations before going through a pricing exercise. This will help everyone level set and understand what you are looking for and what they can provide. You’ll know if it’s a match before a lengthy RFP process.
    5. What is your specialty or niche? Most agency can do just about anything but many have a strong suite, something their clients keep coming back to them for. Find out what it is and how much you value that specialty.
    6. Are you willing/able to work with other agency partners? There will always be a need to work with partners find out who they already work with, maybe synergies already exist.
    7. What’s your employee and client turnover rate? This says a lot about an agency, if their clients and employees don’t like them chances are you probably won’t either.
    8. Where would my company fit in your business? Know if you will be their biggest client and command attention when you need it or the client that gets the bump in crunch time.
    9. And lastly, ask for references from clients that had like business needs to yours.

And like a good pair of jeans, you’ll know when you’ve found them. Don’t let price get in the way, if you feel good and are confident they can do what you need paying a little more with be worth it in the long run when your sales soar or when they know you so well they anticipate your needs and you save valuable time on the front end. Remember you pay for what you get. You could get a cheap pair of jeans and have to go shopping all over again or you can invest and get a pair that will turn heads and stick with you in good times and bad.

Ad Age Says it best in their article on selecting an agency, “Don’t hire an agency. Hire a culture.”

Still looking for more advice? Check out this great article from Inc. magazine on selecting an agency.