I read with interest the analysis of agency matchmakers (MW July 21) and though it is flattering to hear that marketers turn to intermediaries when they need to outsource for expertise and skill, I don’t believe that “expertise” alone is central to clients’ requirements. Most clients now have considerable experience of working with (and often, in) communications agencies across the board. As such, they understand the processes and skills required to produce effective communication.
Therefore, all clients really need is the right information to make an informed and objective decision, not expensive hand-holding and subjective judgements by a third party about the quality of the agencies’ work, presentation or personnel. When it comes to communications, opinions are abundant and the last thing that’s needed is a further one when selecting an agency.
What is required is access to information surrounding issues such as conflicts of interest, relevant agency experience and information on key personnel as well as details of the company’s financial and business performance. Clients often struggle to obtain this information themselves, due to lack of time or resource, not knowing where to look, fears about going public with a review too early or being swamped by speculative approaches. Using intermediaries, such as ourselves, reduces the burden on clients by handling simple requests anonymously and even allowing them to redirect cold calls through to us.
My final point is that intermediaries also allow small agencies to be included on the pitch-list alongside bigger and more established ones. As such, intermediary services should also be priced to create a level playing-field, so that small companies don’t lose out purely for financial reasons. This will also ensure that clients have access to the best talent and creativity, not just the agencies with the deepest pockets.
Chairman and founder