Some of those we think you have to look at are:
To address those, let’s ask the right questions.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT AGENCY
First, you have to assess your needs. Can a single agency
answer all of your needs or do you have to look for
specific expertise? Do you need project-based work or a
more strategic longer-term partner? If you have smaller
projects - like a brochure or adding to some existing materials - you may want to think about a smaller agency
that offers a quicker turn-around time and may cost less.
But there may be a need for a larger agency if you want
to develop a more integrated campaign as an example.
But does a Madison-Avenue-marble-lobby agency really
buy you better results - or do you just get to buy them
some more marble for the lobby? Big-name agencies are
worthwhile only if they bring with them the people who
impress you in their pitch. Think of it this way: international orchestras audition musicians behind a screen, so
that physical appearance (age, gender, beauty) becomes
less important than talent. It’s a good model to think of
when interviewing agencies (except for the screen, of
course). You want the talent: the Finn Juhl chairs
won’t be writing the ads for you.
Is a specific therapeutic background essential?
Sometimes it is, but not always. You might be
looking for a resource that’s better at breakthrough
creative, or one that knows how to target a narrow
demographic through social media.
Intelligence gathering is an important step. Refining your punch list of potential vendors should
involve reaching out to people you trust, internally and externally, doing some homework about
agencies before you actually speak with them, and
generally learning who is most likely to meet the
standards you’ve set. All on the q.t., of course, so
you don’t start getting inquiries before you’re ready
for the interview process. We have found that procurement is a valuable team member at this juncture. They often have vital information on agencies
and a point of view that others haven’t considered.
Bring them in early, so you get the 360-degree
Can a single agency answer all your needs, or
do you have to look for specific expertise?
Then there’s the quality of the work, which can
fall into numerous categories. Do they have brand
experience of the type you’ll require? If so, what
did they deliver? How did they manage the project?
Can you get some independent testimony about
They’re pretty, but
can they think?