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International Business Forum Prague Marketing Workshop 2010
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International Business Forum Prague Marketing Workshop 2010


How to select an agency

How to select an agency

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  • 1. THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS FORUM Actively Promoting Business to Business 2010 Marketing workshop External agencies – choosing the right one
  • 2. Some are born great, some achieve greatness ... ... and some hire public relations officers Daniel J. Boorstin, US historian
  • 3.
    • Horses for courses – what do I (really) need?
    • IF I need an agency, how do I start sourc ing one?
    • Mirror mirror, on the wall, which is the fairest of them all?
    • Best bang for the buck I – how do I manage my agency?
    • Best bang for the buck II – how much do I pay?
    • Help, I have no budget …
  • 4.
    • Horses for courses
    • Do I really need an agency?
    • If so, what sort of agency?
    • Can someone in-house execute part or all of the project?
    • Do I need brains or brawn? Or both?
    • If I have an agency, who will manage them?
  • 5.
    • How do I source an agency?
    • Well… what is:
      • the target audience I want to address
      • the key messages I want to put across
      • the key objectives I want to achieve
      • the budget I have set
    • Look at references and call them up for a recommendation
    • Research what has been written about them in industry press – have they won any awards (creativity, effectivity)
    • In PR – what contacts do they have in media, what results and what reputation?
    • Consider a specialized agency sourcing service
    • You may want to write to 10 agencies and request their credentials
  • 6.
    • How do I choose an agency?
    • Create a short list – 3-5, based on:
      • credentials and experience in your sector
      • expertise in what you need, be it business-to-business or consumer advertising, PR or direct marketing etc.
      • in PR, a track record in the media you want to exploit
    • Are they the right size? Bigger isn't necessarily better
    • Do they have the right expertise?
    • What is their reputation?
    • How do they measure effectiveness?
    • How do they charge and will they negotiate on fees?
    • Are they a 'full service' agency
    • Do I like them? Relationships matter!
  • 7.
    • The choice..,.
    • Invite the agencies to pitch – give them:
      • a clear brief – linked to company business objectives
      • details of your budget
      • the nature of the contractual arrangement you want
      • a confidentiality agreement
    • Find out if the team pitching to you will be the team that works on your account
    • Personality is important - you need to get on well with people in the agency you employ if you're looking for a fruitful, long-term relationship
    • Make the choice and give clear feedback to the agency why they were chosen as well as feedback to the agencies that were not chosen
      • use a points system and have representatives present from all relevant business sectors
  • 8.
    • Manage the relationship – it’s an asset!
    • Senior management should be involved in choosing the agency and involved in managing the relationship
    • Arrange induction meetings - people from the agency can visit your business in order to better understand it, and your people can visit the agency.
    • Organize an initial brainstorming event in which the two parties can productively get to know each other better.
    • Have regular meetings:
      • the work of the agency can be reviewed
      • the effectiveness of campaigns can be measured
      • future strategies can be considered
    • You need to manage the agency and set objectives, but also allow them the freedom to introduce their creative skills – DON’T RIDE THEM
  • 9.
    • Campaign/project checklist
    • Does the agency understand your business  objectives
    • Is the agency demonstrating an understanding of your market and the  competition
    • Insist that the agency  report  back to you regularly
    • Institute agreed measures of  effectiveness  with the agency
    • Assess whether the campaign is hitting  targets  - if not, find out whether the agency is coming up with ideas to bring it back on track
    • Calculate whether the agency is working to your agreed budget
    • Track results
    • Ensure you are still dealing with the people in the agency you were first promised - consider the state of your  relationship  with them
    • Make sure the agency is still being  creative  and coming up with ideas to take your communications strategy forward
  • 10.
    • Average costs
    • Agencies are service businesses and should be experts at what they are doing. You are most likely not (in communications). Respect that and pay for it.
    • Budgets need to include hard costs (production, media buying, agency fees etc.)
    • Hourly fees for PR agencies are between 900 – 4500 CZK, depending on expertise, type of work etc.
    • Media buying agencies are paid from commissions and extra back bonuses from media – up to 50% of the value of the media buying deal
      • Consider negotiating directly with media
      • However, media agencies have very good media planning software
    • Advertising agencies are paid for creative and account management work – smaller full service agencies may waive some or all fees for media buying
  • 11.
    • No tengo dinero….
    • Think outside the box
      • What am I trying to achieve?
      • What is the best way to achieve my stated business goal?
      • What can I do myself?
      • How much is my marketing manager / PR manager really costing me?
      • Why don’t I in-source an agency person part-time [Brain] and make an assistant/junior manager available for them [Brawn]?
    • Better I do some basic things well than try to encompass the whole field of marketing communications on a shoe-string budget
  • 12. Thank you ! Questions & Answers