5 Clues It Is Time for a Change

Changing Agencies

5 Clues It Is Time for a Change

About every other day I receive a call from a nonprofit organization or a commercial company that is kicking around the idea of changing agencies.  A big part of that is just the nature of the client/vendor relationship, but I believe there is something more meaningful and measurable that will allow you to know for sure whether or not it is time for a change.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I have been on both sides of this conversation so I will share my views on what to evaluate before you stir that pot.

5 Clues:

  1. You only hear from them when you call them—The vibrant agency relationship is truly dynamic.  Teams that are firing on all cylinders are constantly sharing ideas, articles, notes about competition, innovations, and areas that could use improvement.  If you are thinking about your agency more than they are thinking about you, then yes, it is beginning to look like it is time for a change.
  2. Strategy sessions are all about new, shiny, bobbly things—Agency partners can often fall into the trap of activity rather than long-term evaluation and growth.  Often the conversation focuses far too much on what else you can try rather than digging deep to understand what is and is not working and why.  It is far easier to throw time, money, and effort at the latest thing instead of digging in and gaining an understanding of what finely honed tweaks can break your current programs wide open.
  3. It is all about them—If your meetings or calls only center on what the agency is up to and their latest and greatest client and not your business, it is time to shop a bit. You want an agency partner that is hungry to make your project soar!
  4. They are too quick to say "yes"—Effective relationships between organizations and agencies need to have a respectful measure of disagreement.  Dynamic, long-term relationships will always question and challenge new ideas and concepts from the perspective of the consumer.  Agencies that only say yes, oftentimes do so for revenue rather than what is right, and what is best.
  5. You hestitate when you write the check—If you have to wonder what the value is when writing a check to your agency, then you may need a good hard look at the relationship.  Let's face it—advertising and marketing can be expensive at times but it should always be married to value and results.  Even on programs that simply take time, there should be a constant sense of progress and understanding about where things are.  If you do not sense that, you may want to consider a change.

So as an agency member, why would I write something like this?  Simple.  Great companies with great constituents deserve the best they can get.  Organizations need advocates more than vendors; partners more than production houses.  It is important to have agency partners that bring new ideas and innovation but it is equally important that you have a partner that has the skill and ability to work effective campaigns and programs over the long haul.  Flash in the pan, an idea-a-minute agency will soon deliver customers, donors, and constituents with that exact same thought about your company.

Dynamic partner relationships build on successes, speak with candor, and celebrate success and failure with the same responsibility as you do.  It is your brand, we are but stewards of its value.

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