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Steps to take before you run an agency review

By Emma Burgess

Mercer Island Group created this checklist for CMOs to reference before conducting an agency review.


Someone writing down a checklist.When a marketer decides it is time to leave a client-agency relationship, uncertainty that they’re getting the best for their organization can add stress to an already stressful process. A move means a client loses the benefits of a long-standing relationship that was rooted in a deep understanding of an organization’s needs and challenges.


Still, if a move becomes necessary, how can you as a marketer ensure you land on the best agency for your company? What steps can you take to streamline the process of conducting an agency review? Mercer Island Group has compiled a checklist for marketers to aid in agency transitions.


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  1. Be certain a change is warranted

Before you jump into the lengthy process of conducting an agency review, take a closer look at your current client-agency relationship. It is possible the problem lies not within the agency but in your team and communication between the two parties. Make certain you’ve exhausted all other avenues before breaking a long-standing relationship.


  1. Make sure the business need is defined

Establish a business need and goals that the change should meet, and communicate them with your team and prospective agencies. Setting a clear narrative will prospective agencies your story and what you expect to gain from a partnership.


  1. Assign a process leader

Delegate the responsibilities of a review to a process leader that understands your organization’s position and the ins and outs of company-agency relationships.


  1. Create a plan

Create a plan of action for the review itself that will yield the best results and inspire your team. Do you have employees with the time and skill to conduct the review or will you hire a consultant for the task?


  1. Carve out the necessary resources

Allocate a budget to utilize over the course of the review for the process, support staff, and necessary travel.


  1. Match your timeline with the business calendar

Conduct your review at a time that aligns with upcoming marketing efforts. Decide whether you want to begin your relationship with the new agency with a large project or day-to-day tasks, and find a window in your calendar that fits those specifications. Analyze your department's workflow to find a time where the review team can dedicate its full attention to finding the best fit. 


  1. Define the scope, deliverables, and budget

By defining the basics of your department’s resources and what you need from an agency, you will save time and narrow down your list of prospects.


  1. Socialize the change internally

Communicate how an agency review and the early stages of the transition will affect other departments in your organization. Outline the support you need from management and the strategic sourcing team to establish the necessary roles and policies.


  1. Update your MSA

Review your current master service agreement and update it if it hasn't been edited in the past two years. Both your organization and prospective agencies should be aware of the terms of the client-agency relationship.


  1. Brief your team

Finally, bring your team into the loop to prepare them for the upcoming process. Communicate that you'll be providing – and needing – support throughout the review.


By following these 10 steps, a client can turn the uncertainty and stress of an agency review into an inspiring process that results in a successful, long-term client-agency relationship. 

Check Mercer Island Group’s original blog post for more insight before conducting your agency review.


Photo by energepic.com

Topics: corporate communications, internal communications

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