Beware of agency search consultants
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
10 December 2015
Agency consultants aren’t all they’re cracked up to be
Agency search consultants. What more can I say? The advertising agency review process is cumbersome and unproductive. Companies hire an agency and fire the “new” agency at regular intervals. That, in itself, is proof there’s something wrong with the process, because churning through agencies prove even companies and brands understand most advertising is not stealing market share.
Only a few advertising agencies know how to steal market share. For the most part, the agency relies on “creativity” to move the needle, and the small bounce the client gets from the new campaign is short lived. Soon, the category reverts back to its old levels and the market leader is still the market leader.
The process for many of the largest companies and brands is to hire an agency search consultant, but many of those consultants are caught up in the same merry-go-round as the agencies themselves.
Are agency search consultants valuable?
To combat that, we have worked with agency search consultants in the past to ensure the selection of an advertising agency is completed along a road map for growing market share. That process is this: Stealing Share creates the strategy, does the research and briefs all the agencies with the same share stealing strategy. At that point, the client and the search consultant choose the agency best equipped to solve the problem. With everyone working from the same strategy, no one would have to compare apples and oranges.
The reason for this strategy is that other search consultants aren’t as concerned with the strategic match-up as they should. For example, I sent such consultant, Alan Krinsky Associates, a letter from myself and a DVD explaining our approach to the problem search consultants are often asked to fix.
In response, we received a form letter email back, saying “Thank you for the update on Stealing Share. It is important to our agency review function to receive full credentials packages from agencies for our consideration. We also provide a range of new business development seminars on a one-on-one basis to an agency. You may find the following of interest.”
Ironic, I thought, that the email included instructions on “how to make an RFP sing,” which I’m sure includes advice as to how to listen, read between the lines and answer the question being asked.
But the email never mentioned a word of the strategy suggested, meaning it was either ignored or not understood. Instead, it re-inforced my worst fear: Many agency consultants are not interested in better results. They only want more results because, every time they conduct a search, they get paid. Meaning, fixing the problem is actually counter-productive to their financial goals.
Therefore, my suggestion to clients looking to find the best advertising agency is this: Fire your search consultant and hire Stealing Share. We will arm you with a strategy and idea that will change the playing field – and we will work with your agency to make sure it is executed properly. I promise you, with our strategy and brand design, the little shop down the street from your global HQ will be able to give you better service and better work than the largest global conglomerate brought to you by many consultants.
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