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How to Choose an Agency in 10 Logical Steps

By September 27, 2015 October 20th, 2016 No Comments

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You’ve got a big project and a limited budget, and you want the best value for your money. Most of all you want results — to sell your product, to market your business, to educate or motivate your staff or to create a positive impression. You need to get your ducks in a row.

You need help, so you ask around, you look at some ads you like, you Google “the best advertising agencies”, get the 72,000,000 results that search returns and decide to narrow your search down using criteria like “Top50” or “near me” or something else. Maybe you’re selling widgets, so you look for an agency with experience in advertising widgets, it doesn’t matter because there is a much better way to do the search.

I’ve worked for and with some of the largest and most successful agencies in the world. I’ve been an “insider” as account executive and creative director and an “outsider” as a client with a multi-million dollar budget — and with a mini-thousand dollar budget.

Let me use that experience to teach you the most logical and best way to find an agency. Notice I didn’t say “easiest”. It’s never easy. You’re creating a relationship during which you’ll have to (to some extent) bare your company’s “soul”.

  1. Know what you want the advertising/marketing/digital promotion to do specifically. Know what problem are you solving, what opportunity are you capturing and explain this clearly. You know your company, your brand, your successes, your flops, you know why you must do what you are doing. You know your competition and your customers. Your sales staff knows what kind of pitch works and what doesn’t. Use that knowledge to write an RFP (request for proposal) with as much detail as possible so the agency can intelligently respond to your wants and needs.
  2. blindfolded-suitsBe upfront about your real budget.
    Why some clients want to play a guessing game with this number has always been a mystery to me. You obviously know that you want to sell (widget example again) 50,000 widgets at $1 each and you’re willing to invest $5,000 to do that, so tell the agency that’s your number for return on investment. Equally obviously, you want the most persuasive communication you can get for your dollar — but making the agency guess isn’t going to help you get it. It will just cause you both frustration and confusion — it’s a waste of time and energy.
  3. Show the agency what you want. If you’ve seen something you like, tell them. Ask them if they can do that for $5,000.
  4. Tell the agency what you have and what you need. Do you need a script? Music? Storyboard? Do you have files they can use? Do you have competitive information?
  5. Tell the agency you don’t want to pay for weeks of research, you want a creative brief in three days. Remember #1 Know what you want? Share that information with the agency, don’t let them spend part of your $5,000 on their boilerplate processes.
  6. Find out who will be working on your account and ask for samples of THEIR work.
    It’s no secret that agencies put their best stuff on their websites. They’re selling too. What you need to know is are THOSE people going to be involved in your account. Larger agencies often have a pitch team – their best folk – to woo and win clients, but they may never for for you. Learn this in advance.
  7. Decide how you will measure success.
  8. Look at small agencies as well as big famous ones. You want as much of your $5,000 to go toward selling your product or achieving your opportunity as possible. You do NOT want it going to help pay for fancy offices in pretty buildings.video-conferenceMany agencies who do really great work are reinventing themselves on a Silicon Valley model. What does that mean? It means their staff, chosen from the best people located anywhere in the country, remote into a central location and system. These agencies still have the best practices procedures and policies to produce work that a large impressively-officed agency may have, but they’re spending your money on YOU — not rent and excessive overhead. They are also not limited to a talent pool that lives nearby, usually they have a battalion of vetted professionals who are “best” at widgets or healthcare or industrial/architectural work or just about anything any client could need.Why didn’t agencies do this kind of Silicon Valley thing before? Simply because it has only been possible in the last few years with the introduction of great technology, and because clients were used to (and therefore more comfortable) buying that big office set up.
  9. Ask for, no demand, a weekly accounting of time and hours — you deserve to know how your money is being spent.
  10. Hire people you like. Whether you meet them on Skype, in a conference room, over lunch, or in a big tall glitzy office, make sure you’re working with open, honest people of integrity. You can teach professionals many things, you can find creative people everywhere, but integrity and honesty aren’t learned. If what you’re hearing sounds too good to be true, it probably is. As a famous man once said, “Trust but verify.”

Nancy Schirm is on LinkedIn and loves to connect with people who have problems to solve. She is the COO/Marketing Director for Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studio and heads up the Dallas office for the company. Her “Mad Man” big agency past includes accounts like American Airlines, Revlon, Club Med, Paramount Pictures, and Liggett/Myers.

At Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studio we specialize in providing the following 3D Animation and Video Services:

  • 3D Animation, FX, 3D Renderings
  • Animation, Video Production, and Graphics from concept-to-completion

Contact us Today to request a free quote and to learn more about how Austin Visuals can help you with your business and your 3D animation and motion graphics needs. Austin Visuals — on time, on budget, and on target. Call today at 512-591-8024 or email us at : [email protected]

 

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