8 Critical Questions to Answer During Your Agency Review

We hope that you will find the following article to be helpful.  If, after reading, you would like to explore our thought leadership on a deeper level, please contact Kerry Kielb at kkielb@bedfordgroupconsulting.com.  8 Critical Questions to Answer During Your Agency Review Choosing an agency partner is one of the most important decisions to be made by marketing leaders. Done correctly, this partner can become a critical part of your team, a differentiating force for your business growth. Done incorrectly, well, we don’t have much experience with that, but we’ve heard it can make life pretty miserable on both sides. So, the process for selecting an agency requires objective counsel with a high level of industry knowledge and strategic business understanding. Not to mention, time to manage research, consensus building, briefings, assignment development and a myriad of logistics associated with scheduling meetings and presentations. Because the agency landscape has changed so significantly in the response to changes in technology and media, the typical descriptors of a firm (PR, Media, Digital) no longer apply. Understanding the type of agency that will be best requires an understanding of how the depth of today’s options align with a brand’s business goals and vision. The most important first step in any agency review is to gain consensus across all stakeholders on what is needed from this agency partner.  What is their role on the roster? How will the performance be measured?  What are key functional skills and cultural attributes? Once you have consensus on what is needed, how do you choose between the hundreds of great, talented candidates who are vying for your business? Over the last 30 years, The Bedford Group has developed a process that answers what we have found to be the most critical questions:
  • Size. Are they big enough to handle an account your size demands, yet small enough to know your importance to them? Do they invest in their resources (e.g. people, research, technology) and strive for continuous improvement?
  • People. Do they have the people on staff who can give you the services and leadership you deserve? Will they say what is on their mind and challenge you when needed? Do they want your business and are they willing to invest time and effort to learn more about your distribution, issues and markets? Do they want to have fun doing business with you?
  • Thinking: Are they real marketers who want to truly understand your business so that they can assist in your growth plans or are they just ad makers? Will you learn from them?
  • Creative. Do they have a disciplined, insights-based process of creating their advertising and is it close to, or better than, what you have been used to?
  • Consumer Engagement: Do they have the right depth of strategists, technologists and data analysts to create a customer experience that reaches all the right people at the right place and time? Do they have the clout, technology and resources for analyzing the best possible expenditure of your dollars?   Will they consistently optimize the investment to ensure the greatest impact?
  • Experience. Do they really know how to position a product or company? Do they have experience with products/services and organizations as complicated as yours? Do they understand the customer journey?
  • Organization. Is your culture compatible to theirs? Will you enjoy working together?
  • Integration: Are they built for seamless integration of activities across channels within or outside of their own walls?
It’s a lot to consider and requires rigor and thoughtful, experienced leadership, especially in today’s ever changing landscape. If you’re considering an agency search, the consultants from The Bedford Group can help.

About The Bedford Group

The Bedford Group is an Atlanta based Marketing Management Consulting firm that has been in operation since 1986. It has built its reputation on marketing organization support, agency search and relationship management and strategic marketing consulting.  Unlike traditional advertising consultants, The Bedford Group looks beyond traditional marketing disciplines to solve complex, enterprise-wide issues for efficient resource management and improving marketing ROI.

Jane Bedford
(404) 237-4565