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What Matters Most When Selecting An Agency?
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What we do

In our experience, there are four different approaches to agency selection.

 There's the traditional pitch in which several agencies are briefed and are invited to come in with ideas, which includes strategic thinking and creative. This is usually a good approach when the brand is big and the financial prize is big enough to warrant a big investment on their part, or when the agencies are unknown to the client. The advantage of this approach is that you get to see a lot of how each agency thinks strategically and how they translate strategy into creative.  

There's a modified pitch, in which agencies are briefed and are asked to come in with their thinking about how they would approach the assignment if they were awarded the business - strategic refinement and some ideas, for example, but stopping short of full-blown creative development. This is usually a good approach when the agencies are somewhat familiar to the client, and/or the brand is big-to mid-sized but maybe not a multi-national.

Then there's a project assignment, in which a client is interested in trying out an agency before formally awarding them a piece of business. The client briefs a single agency and they agree on a fee and a finite timeline with clear deliverables at the end. (2-3 weeks to refine strategy and present creative, for example). The major drawback is that you are back to the drawing board if it doesn't work.

We have just complete a global agency review for Merck: 

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/finalists-emerge-mercks-global-creative-review-135046 

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Agency Compensation

A good and fair compensation agreement will have the following principles:

1. Accurate Scope Of Work. 

2. Appropriate FTEs staffing. It is essential that seniority level of FTEs and staff depth be measured to deliver SOW. Knowledge of agency resource allocation philosophy is essential.

3. Advertising Development Best Practices. Timely resolution of scope projects is essential to avoid OT charges, and for the agency to protect profitability without downshifting quality of staff.

4. Skin In The Game. We believe that incentive compensation is an essential of balance remuneration. 

5. Three component to determine incentive. Sales performance, agency evaluation, and some form of direct agency performance meaurement, like behavior change.