4 Great Tips to Selecting a Marketing or Advertising Agency

There are many times in the career of a marketing person where this issue will come up – which agency should I use? From the perspective of the advertising agency or the marketing agency, the answer is simple, “Use us!”

The client is usually pressured from many quarters, among which are the pressure to deliver results, the watching eyes of everyone anxious to see a “great advertisement” and of course, the pressures from various Account Executives and Account Directors to make the big decision

There are many resources available that discuss various criteria that can be used to select the best marketing or advertising agency. Over the years, we have found that all of these boil down to just 4 key factors. Do we dare say that these are the “4P’s” of selecting an advertising agency? OK, we dare.

So, here are the 4P’s to help you select the best advertising or marketing agency for your all-important marketing campaign.

People

There is a very important element in the selection process that many miss. In today’s high pressure, results-oriented business environment, we often forget a fundamental truth. The world, even the hard-nosed business world, is made up of PEOPLE. You can work with the most creative minds, the strongest marketing teams, and maybe even pure geniuses. The reality is, if you simply cannot “get along”, it is highly unlikely that you will come up with a winning campaign. The People element cannot be over-stressed. Even a mediocre team, inspired by great team spirit, can produce astounding campaigns. The sense of belonging, of ownership, spurs people to greater heights. In an advertising campaign, where emotions, values and vision play such important roles, it is the people who will win through. Not the genius. If you cannot trust your agency, you can forget about doing anything great.

Proposal

If people were the only considerations, then the business world will be filled with friends and lovers. How wonderful. Unfortunately, true substance is still a very necessary ingredient in the success of any marketing campaign. This is so important that most of the time, the Proposal, the Big Idea, the Grand Creative; have formed the linch pin of all decisions. This can work. This does work. So, this is an element that must not be overlooked. The proposal should cover not just the creative vision, but all the elements that make the campaign successful. Some things to look out for in a good proposal would be:

– Clear vision and objectives

– media plan (if applicable)

– Great creatives (usually mistaken to be the ONLY element for a winning proposal)

– Project Planning and Timelines (project management elements)

There are many things to look out for depending on the type of campaign that is planned. But this should give a good idea. Like I said earlier, judging proposals have been a long standing practise in selection of advertising agencies and marketing agencies.

Process

But a great proposal and a nice team of people might be present, however, to ensure the success of a marketing campaign, the proper processes must be in place. You must have a good understanding of the organisation, the resource and the way of working of the selected agency. In a major advertising campaign, the number of elements could mean that different teams are involved in different aspects. Does the agency have enough manpower and talent to support the scale? If they have the people, do they have an established, well rehearsed way of communications and coordination? This might seem trivial, but once you are in the middle of a major campaign, and the key Account Manager calls in sick, you will surely appreciate a rock solid process.

Price

Yes, price is indeed a consideration. Don’t we all wish we had budgets the size of a mountain? Even Bill Gates have to thing about budgets. While this is important, it is also the last piece that needs to be considered. Pay peanuts to get monkeys. Sounds familiar, right? While it is true that the most expensive is not necessarily the best and the cheapest, not always the worse; price is indeed a poor gauge of the potential success of a marketing agency. Work out a realistic budget. Your local 4A’s (or whatever the association of advertising agencies is called in your neck of the woods) should have a price guide available on request.

There you have it. 4 P’s as promised. With this, you should be in good standing to make an intelligent decision on the marketing agency to be selected. This is by no means the best, the only or even an assured way to make the decision. However, this is a good starting point, and if used prudently can help tremendously. Here’s to your next successful marketing or advertising campaign!

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