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October 1, 2020

5 Tips on Hiring the Right Ad Agency

Tony Treadway

5 Tips on Hiring the Right Ad Agency

As the world recovers from COVID, many companies are looking for fresh strategies and messaging for 2021. If that includes a search for an ad agency, here is some advice based on nearly three decades of experience as a full-service agency.

  1. Hire an Agency with Proven Success Within your Market Segment. Who has time to teach an agency the nuts and bolts of your business when there are ones with decades of experience? You want an agency that knows as much, or sometimes more, than you do about your segment, because they have successfully executed scores of brand strategies and activations within your industry. Ask for a few case studies and ask some questions that only experts within your segment can successfully answer. Here is another secret. If they don’t ask how you will measure success in the relationship, keep looking. A great partner will care about increased sales, offer strategies to overcome a challenge you might have not thought of and want to grow customer loyalty to your brand.

  2. It’s About Chemistry. Who wants to sink time and money into working with a team that you don’t like? Like the dating game in search of a spouse, when there is a chemistry that has a positive spark to a conversation and a laugh or two along the way, you’ll know that you’ve found a partner that you’ll look forward to their next call or meeting.

  3. Don’t Hire an Agency to Be Your Order Taker.  A true agency partner adds value with insights, strategies and messaging that is collaborative and powerful. If you already know everything there is to know and thought of every great idea, hire a good graphic designer and have fun. A true full-service agency should be so much more than an order taker, and if they don’t push back on having no input into your planning or creative, they aren’t a very good agency.

  4. Ask How Much of The Work Is Done In-House. COVID wiped out lots of agencies who now simply farm out the work to free-lancers. A healthy agency should be able to assemble an in-house team of top creatives, strategists, media and social experts who are ‘your team’ for every project as needed. They will quickly understand your needs, your corporate quirks and the potential for your brand’s success.

  5. Don’t Use RFPs To Find A Great Agency. Cattle calls are an absolute turn-off for ad agencies. They know that 90% of RFPs are designed to go through the motions of a fair search process to legitimize an agency choice that has already been made. You will find a better agency partner by following the steps I’ve outlined in discussions with two or three agencies that have a real shot at your business. Pick the one that best fits steps 1–4.

You will expend a lot of energy in your search for the right choice. It is as important to an ad agency as it is to you to not waste that energy on a relationship that won’t foster success. We are always ready to explore a new client relationship. Let’s start a discussion to see if there is a chemistry that works for us both.