Too often we hear that marketers didn’t even know what they really wanted from a potential marketing partner until after the winning agency’s presentation – are there ways you can avoid wasting everyone’s time by doing some simple research?

For example, a conservative company may fare better with a traditional, buttoned-up agency versus an eccentric firm with no dress code and prominent tattoos. The latter could be ruled out immediately if personality fit is something that’s important to you.

Maybe personality isn’t the issue, but an agency’s process is of utmost importance. Some marketers want an agency to drive strategy – others just want support. Some prefer to be heavily involved in decision-making, while others may only have time to approve the most important deliverables.

Instead of waiting until after the pitch to debate your compatibility with an agency’s process, you could send them your pre-qualification questions and ask that they include in their response a list client references. This doesn’t cost the agency a dime, and only takes a few phone calls and a few minutes on your end. Their clients’ experiences may help you get a better understanding of what it’d be like to work with that agency. If the agency is hesitant to provide any client references, their refusal may be a red flag for you and your team.

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