Avoiding Marketing Agency Selection Mistakes

Relationships are hard to sustain and require a lot of work. Communication is important. Sharing similar values is a must. Common goals that benefit both parties are essential. If any of these fundamental needs are not met, however, the relationship amounts to nothing.

The client agency relationship is important to sustain and build trust. In order for a brand to differentiate itself in the busy marketplace, it is necessary to be represented by a complimentary agency.

These “needs” not only apply to romantic relationships, but also to agency/client relationships in the marketing world. Adding budgeting into the mix makes for even more complex situations for brands.

Finding an agency that fully represents a brand to its utmost potential is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. AgencySparks was launched in 2014 to remedy the client/agency relationship by bridging the gap between the two.

The agency/client relationship is a two-way street. However, there are several common mistakes that marketers make during the agency selection process:

Marketers fail to conduct proper research:

  • Every agency recommendation is different. It is imperative to fully grasp the strengths and weaknesses as well as limitations of potential agency partners. Reviews can be flawed processes. Agencies are rarely honest about what they are NOT good at. AgencySparks serves as an honest third party evaluator.

  • Physically meeting with the agency helps to determine how their values align with the brand values. Since plenty of time will be spent together, an in-person meeting will settle any concerns that are not as easily expressed over the phone/web and will further assist easing into a business relationship.

  • Fully understand the agency’s working capacities. Can the size of the team handle the complexities of the project at hand? A big project cannot be handled by a small staff if excellent quality is expected. Specialized agencies can often provide exactly needed expertise more than generalist agencies.

Specialized agencies are preferred for a brand client because they can reach the target market preferred.

Marketers have a lack of communication with the agency.

  • Presenting a clear, concise brief up front will save time, money, and frustration and ensure aligned expectations. AgencySparks has an available marketing brief template here.

  • Goals and objectives need to be outlined from the beginning. The overall plan should not be lost when creative strategy comes into play (since agencies sometimes get carried away with the opportunity). Knowing the client’s expectations and having two-way communication builds trust between the agency and brand.

  • Constant discussion after selection is necessary to ensure everything is on task.

A clear marketing brief keeps the agency and client on task.

Marketers limit themselves.

  • Sometimes brands have a tendency to exclusively look at top agencies in the market - ones with recent success or news headline coverage. This blind sides the brand to potential matches with agencies under the radar. Unfamiliar agencies are often a better fit and can be less expensive.

  • Choosing an agency based on proximity may be convenient and cost beneficial but it should not be the sole selection criteria.

The agency vetting process can be challenging. AgencySparks puts each agency partner through a rigorous vetting process to highlight the agency strengths and uncover weaknesses. Because the vetting is financed by the agencies, there is no cost to clients.

The Process

  1. External evaluation:

    AgencySparks interviews the marketing agency’s current clients, past clients, and clients who did not choose the agency. This unbiased process uncovers details about the relationship that may not be available to the agency.

  2. Internal evaluation

    Staff interviews are held in order to discover the biggest strengths and weaknesses as well as internal perceptions of the agency.

  3. Competitive review

    Several key competitors are analyzed in order to provide an overview of the competitive landscape.

  4. SWOT Analysis

    AgencySparks synthesizes the internal and external interviews to outline the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the agency.

  5. Advice on core strengths

    AgencySparks highlights the agency’s strongest assets to ensure they do not focus on secondary skills.

Agency client relationships are a two-way relationship that depend on clear communication.

The AgencySparks matching service can replace the traditional request for proposal (RFP) process. AgencySparks keeps the content of the “Match” form confidential until the brand is ready to share details with potential agency partners.

The Benefits

AgencySparks enables companies to save time and effort in order to allocate resources more efficiently and inexpensively. By acting as a third party with an unbiased perspective, AgencySparks uncovers valuable insights that strengthen the agencies and provides clients with better selection information. The result is a stronger, more compatible, long-lasting agency/client relationship.   

The agency selection process- How to find a marketing agency


The Complete Guide to Finding a Marketing Agency

This guide teaches client-side marketers to how to plan, select, and onboard marketing agencies to get the most value from the partnership in the long run.

Click here to download the free, interactive PDF.