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The benefits of using an intermediary to find your next agency

Dario Pagani, Head of Brand at Ingenuity, shares how brands can use an intermediary to find the perfect agency partner that fits their requirements.

Turning to social media to find a new agency partner? Think again…

It’s a rainy Wednesday afternoon and Sandra, the EMEA Marketing Director has asked you to embark on the journey to source a list of agencies for a review scheduled in 2020.

Project “Find an Agency” – GO!

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You start with your ‘go to’ agencies, these come from past roles and trusted recommendations.
Agency count: 2

Next stop: Google. Once hailed for its ability to democratise our access to information. It seems however, you’ve stumbled into another linguistic realm – a realm where people use abstract words to describe products and services in the hope of wooing fellow marketeers. I am of course referring to the controversially named, but often amusing: Agency Wank.

To be fair, who can blame them, in the UK there are over 25,000 marketing agencies all vying for a point of differentiation.

Current Status:
Confused, cynical and ignorant and let’s face it, guessing!

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Alas, Google has been found wanting and you’ve turned to the depths of social media.

I want to share 3 examples of international brands that have recently turned to LinkedIn and Twitter in the hope of finding a sound recommendation.

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This post received 80 comments in 2 weeks and included more friend-to-friend cronyism than Trump’s cabinet election process. Not one post asked for more information regarding the brands requirements and why would they… My point is that turning to social media for qualified agency recommendations is flawed.

I’m not saying the brand in question didn’t find a wonderful comms partner, however, but I can’t help but think there must be a better way to curate the perfect list of superstar-agencies to blow Sandra’s socks off in Mondays ‘catch up’.

Even if your goal is to test the water by asking your trusted ‘connections’ for some advice, this still won’t work. As soon as someone comments, likes or shares, your words are out there. Visible to everyone

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A mere 59 comments for this Brand Manager from one of the biggest employers in the country to scroll through. Yet more self-promotion and friend-tagging.

My personal favourites:

  • “Stop the search, speak to {insert friends name}”
  • “Hi mate – modesty aside, our team are killing it right now!”
  • “Hi there. You won’t find better ROI than with {agency name}”

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This poor, unsuspecting leader in global fashion eCommerce decided to upload a post looking for a lead digital agency and almost broke Twitter with the number of in-bound tweets he received. He even took the time to ask them to stop sending him follow up emails!

My question is: what qualification process will this person go through to ‘check out all’ – probably the same as if he’d found these agencies via Google (website and creds).

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Your agency search challenges (sound familiar?)

  • No time
  • Limited access to unbiased knowledge of the ever-changing agency landscape
  • A lack of understanding of what the agency actually does (never mind what they’re good at)
  • You need for something bold, something innovative, something that will upset the apple cart, but you don’t know what that looks like?
  • You don’t want to disclose the finer details of your brief, and therefore company challenges to a long list of agencies
  • Dwindling budgets mean you want value, ROI, you want bang for your buck!

I could go on, but you get my laborious point!

The solution

  • Have a conversation with someone who doesn’t work for an agency and a vested interest in selling to you
  • Make sure this person has their finger on the pulse of an ever-changing agency landscape (ask where their information comes from)
  • Speak to someone who understands agency colloquialisms

Ingenuity’s smart approach has quickly become the most effective service for brands looking to find the perfect agency partner, often using expert industry bodies such as the IPM to focus their search to the very best by discipline. We specialise in helping brands find the hidden talent, the unique agencies, the game changing tech. We understand the modern supplier landscape, for the modern brand.

And the best thing is, we don’t have a select group of agencies that pay us a retainer. We put the best agency forward, no matter what. Oh, and our service is 100% free for brands to use.

Ingenuity has partnered with the IPM to create an Agency Referral Service giving brands unique access to the IPM’s membership – which includes some of the very best promotional marketing and brand activation agencies in the UK.

Find out more and submit a brief here or email the team at AgencyReferrals@theipm.org.uk

Burberry, Head of Marketing Procurement, says: “Ingenuity is one of those companies that every ambitious Procurement Professional needs to have on speed dial. They make it their priority to be in touch with the Marketing Supplier marketplace, to know about who the major players are, the new entrants, and technology innovations. “