Don’t Shortchange Your Agency Search

I don’t know if it was the Great Recession, the emergence of social media, or the result of new decision-makers coming on the scene, but marketers have been on a shopping spree for new agency partners. Over the past 18 months, we’ve witnessed everything from Zappo's RFP gone wild to the sudden agency changes at Chevrolet and Cadillac. In my latest report "When To Outsource Your Agency Search," I found that:

  • Agency reviews have been rampant. According to the 4A's list of publicly known accounts in review, there have been more agency reviews over the past 18 months (1,006) than in the prior three years combined (917).
  • Yet interestingly, search consultants haven’t been called to the table as frequently. Using the same 4A's list of accounts in review, search consultants were involved in approximately 23% of agency reviews, compared with 34% in 2008 and 40% in 2007.

Marketers Need To Know When To Outsource The Agency Search Process

Considering the importance of the decision and the commitment required to conduct a search, it’s surprising that more marketers have been handling the agency review process internally. Especially when CMOs and marketing leaders are saddled with more responsibility than ever. That's why Forrester believes there are four cases when marketers would be better off using a third-party advisor for their agency search process.

  • When you can’t commit the time or resources. Do you and your team have eight to 12 weeks and potentially hundreds of man hours to spare?
  • When you don’t have agency expertise on your team. Have you and your team ever led an agency search for the services you’re looking for?
  • When you need an update on the agency landscape. Has it been more than three years since the last time you performed an agency search?
  • When you anticipate political battles. Do you think there will be internal disagreements about which agencies to include in the review and who to ultimately choose?

Thought Starters

What has been your experience using an agency search consultant?

Does using a search partner depend on the type of agency you are looking for?

Let us know your thoughts!