Your Road Map to Agency Search Success

agency search successIt’s time to find a new creative agency. Fearful the process will be full of dead-ends? Not if you plan ahead!

Mile 0: Define What You Want

Currently, the average agency search takes three to six months. That’s a long time to have your brand in limbo. Beat the industry average by combining the steps below with Agency Spotter’s searchable collection of agency portfolios.

For the project managers out there, this step is all about scope. Are you looking for a long-term agency relationship (aka an “Agency of Record”) or a project-based partner? Are you a first-mover or an established brand fending off a competitor? Maybe your goal is to reach a new customer demographic. Have a detailed vision of your brand’s future and metrics to accompany that vision before you start searching.

Mile 1: Area of Expertise

Did you decide your brand needs an advertising campaign, a social media strategy, a retail design or all three? Maybe you need “Big Picture” strategic direction. No matter what you’re looking for, there is an agency out there that can help. Take a look at Agency Spotter’s search bar to see how agencies are categorized. Asking a public relations agency to pitch for your e-commerce site’s UX project will be a waste of everyone’s time.

Mile 2: Location, Location, Location

You can find great creative agencies all across the US. Does it matter where yours is located? Maybe, maybe not. Even by limiting your search to one major city, you may overlook the agency that’s the best fit for your project. Unless you have a non-negotiable reason for always interacting face-to-face, be open to casting a wide geographical net.

Mile 3: Small Shop vs Big Player

Agencies come in all shapes and sizes. Some max out at 10 employees, others are hundreds of people large. Smaller agencies tend to be nimble, turn around work quickly, and have a creative director working on your project. Oftentimes, small shops are open to heavy involvement from the brand and can be very eager to please. On the other hand, larger agencies tend to be very dependable in a pinch, have the ability to take on secondary projects with ease, and assign a dedicated Account Manager to manage communication. Sure, these are generalizations, so take each prospective agency on a case-by-case basis. Just know what’s important to you.

Mile 4: Know Your Budget

Agencies often have a budget range for work they take on. Be upfront with your budget and the ROI you expect. Doing so will prevent you from having dead-end conversations with agencies that aren’t interested in working within your financial parameters. Communicating your expectations from the beginning will save you and your future agency lots of frustration.

Mile 5: Start the Search!

Agency search success requires preparation. By simply following these steps, you’ll establish parameters that will efficiently lead you to your next agency partner. Plug the criteria you’ve identified into the Agency Spotter search bar and start flipping through agency portfolios. You’ll have your next creative agency on the books before you can say, “I’m a genius.”

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Claire writes about strategy, insight, and advice to help inspire smart and savvy marketers. She completed her MBA at UMass-Amherst and has been a team member at City Sports, MIT, and an organic farm in Maine. A former student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin, Claire now runs marathons, for fun! On her bucket list is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, dining at Per Se, and running the beautiful trails in New Zealand.

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