Top 5 Pain Points of Creative Agency Search

Let’s make finding a great creative agency easy

For more than a year, we’ve been talking with top marketers and business experts, getting them to weigh in on the biggest challenges they face when finding a new creative agency. It turns out, everyone has a lot to say and share but has been suffering in silence. Well, suffer no more! Let’s open the communication and start a dialogue to begin solving this problem for everyone.

For starters, the Agency Spotter team has pulled together a top 5 list of pain points that seem to be pretty consistent whether you’re looking for a digital agency, a design studio, a new advertising partner, or one the many other types of agencies across the marketing and creative services industry.

If you’re an agency, some items on this list may surprise you and also help you better position yourself to be found and contacted for new business. No matter who you are, we want you to know Agency Spotter is committed to making it easier for both sides as businesses look to find great agency partners.

Make agency search easy with Agency Spotter

1. Agency search takes too long

On average, an agency search takes three to six months. That’s a long time by itself, and quite often there are three or more people involved in the process. With all the time and effort it takes, many businesses stick with an agency longer than they’d like just because of the level of effort required to change. Maybe that hesitation to pursue change is part of the reason why only 33% of CMOs are happy with their agency rosters.

We think this is a huge opportunity space. That’s why we’re making agency search easy. We’ve built Agency Spotter to help take agency search from months to minutes and give you new ways to make more confident decisions.

That said, this can be a wake-up call to some agencies. If switching costs are what’s keeping your customer loyal, we hope you’re on the path to improving the relationship. Because this is such a big and crucial topic, we’ll be dedicating many posts covering different aspects of relationship building from both perspectives.
agency search

2. Getting to a shortlist

Whether you’re inviting agencies for a pitch or just trying to figure out your best options, narrowing down the list of agencies can be a daunting and often subjective task. A common uncertainty shared by our panel of businesses and experts is “how do you know if your search was comprehensive enough to uncover all the right agencies to build your consideration set?

There are more than 120,000 creative agencies in the US alone and more than 560,000 worldwide. Typical methods to discover agencies today include things like: a generic, blanket ask to your networks, reviewing recent award winners and mentions in the press, and even Googling for an agency. These tactics leave a lot up to chance, usually resulting in too little or too much information. We’re assuming you don’t have 12 months to sort through the billion results from Google.

Agency Spotter helps you build a more considered shortlist, and we’re adding tools to help you make more confident decisions. Today, you can already see how your connected to an agency via your LinkedIn network. This makes getting the inside scoop on your shortlist of agencies a lot easier. Plus, we’ve pulled all the information together in one place, making it easier to compare apples to apples.

3. Writing the right brief

Every business has a unique set of circumstances and needs, and these should have an impact on the type of brief written to solicit a solve. An advertising brief to get to a big idea should be different from a brief for new branding, a mobile app, or packaging design.

On the customer (client) side of the equation, most people don’t have a specialist helping them internally. It is more common to have marketing generalists engaging agencies. For example, even if someone specializes in digital, they may not be an expert in all aspects of digital for which they might engage an agency. This makes writing a good brief and finding best practices for your specific engagement all the more important. Currently, the information is out there, somewhere… but it isn’t easy to find or easy to use.

Got a best practice brief for your areas of expertise? We would love to see it as we partner with businesses and agencies to solve this pain point once and for all.

4. Agency information is hard to find

Every agency’s website is designed differently and, while it may look fantastic, sometimes makes it difficult for customers to figure out what they does best. What is their core service? Have they worked across my industry or with the target audience?

Part of the reason it takes so long to search for a new agency is because the data is dispersed and disorganized. You’re always left with missing information, comparing apples to oranges, and making guesses on behalf of at least one agency on your list.

Now, all that hunting, gathering and guessing can go out the window. Agency Spotter is on a mission to organize the creative industry. We want to help agencies be found for what they’re great at and help businesses find the best fit partners.

5. Evaluating agencies after a pitch

It’s no secret that going into a pitch, many businesses already have a favorite agency. But, are there better ways to run a pitch and evaluate agencies so the process is a lot more objective? Can we make the evaluations more transparent?

We have heard a lot of stories around this from both businesses and agencies. To be honest, some of them were more horror stories. There’s a lot at stake for everyone. Both running a pitch and participating in one is a significant drain on resources and can have reputation ripple effects too. Some agencies and businesses have stopped participating in them because they’ve been burned or never been able to get the real value out of them.

We’ll be looking to all of you for ways to make evaluation and pitches better. There are some great best practices out there; help us find them, create them, and share them for everyone’s benefit.

We’re Agency Spotter, and we are making agency search and selection easier for everyone.

Come check it out and help us reinvent how businesses and agencies connect. Let’s keep it fun, and save each other time and money in the process.


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Brian Regienczuk
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