Few businesses can say that the past months haven’t disrupted their agency needs; from budget cuts in marketing and comms to changes within teams and in-house resources.
Whatever the changes have been, it’s important not to ignore them, as the fabled boiling frog did. If a lot has changed it’s worth considering whether the agency relationships have are still providing the right support at the right budgets.
At Something Big we are great believers that although there’s never an easy time to review your agency roster, there is a difficult time to tackle it. Usually, that’s when it’s already gone wrong and frustrations have already set in. Sometimes, things like budgets and in-house resource shift gently over time and your relationships with external partners drift apart. COVID offers a great opportunity to take stock of what’s changed and to press reset.
If you’re wondering whether it’s the right time to review your agency support, how about starting with these questions:
In reflecting on these questions, has it made you realise that this is the time for a refresh? Then before you rush off to work on the tender list, consider the type of agency that might be right for you given where you are now. A key factor might be whether to choose a network or independent agency, here are some of our thoughts on that: (biased of course, but these are undeniable facts nevertheless!)
Independent agencies ….
Don’t get us wrong, network agencies have a place and there are plenty of great ones that provide an excellent service and create some amazing marketing work but the thing to consider is whether your budgets can continue to stand up to that in a post COVID world. If not you may just get better service, more hunger and flexibility from a smaller agency.
Having decided what type of agency partner you’re looking for; you then have to separate the wheat from the chaff and find the best agency for you. This is going to come down to the type of business you are, what skills you’re looking for and many other factors, but in general terms think about:
Even a simple shout out on LinkedIn can offer up plenty of passionate referrals. A little insider agency insight here: many agencies wear cobblers’ shoes when it comes to their marketing and largely live off referrals for new business. This is great news for you, it means people out in your network will be able to refer you to the best agencies and could save you a lot of time.
Once you’ve started pulling a list of interesting agencies together don’t jump into a tender process straight away. Pitches are huge time sucks for both you and the agencies involved. Whilst selection processes have to be fair and thorough there’s nothing more depressing for everyone than a complete lack of chemistry in a pitch room that could have been avoided by a 15 min call several weeks (and hundreds of hours of effort) earlier.
More than 24,000 agencies operate in the UK, you won’t have good chemistry with all of them, so try to narrow down your search early on. Start by having some simple conversations to openly talk about what you’re looking for. Once you have built up some chemistry you’ll soon determine who you can see yourself working with. When you’re ready you can revert to the tender process, or simply do a quick project together to find out if you are the right partners.
Positive agency partnerships can be really rewarding, creative and make a great impact! We have some great and very long-term partnerships because we put a lot of effort into our client relationships, and we work hard to make sure we’re the right agency to help our clients. If you want to find out if we might be the right agency partner for you and see how we can provide your business with post-COVID agency support, then why not give us a shout and we can arrange a quick virtual ‘cuppa’ to see if we have good chemistry.
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