Agency Search Consultants, also known as Agency Optimization Consultants or Agency Relationship Management Consultants have for many years been recognized as a cornerstone of the advertising and marketing industry.
They are typically hired or engaged by a company or brand’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for one of the following reasons:
1. To resolve conflict or to optimize a current Media, Public Relations (PR), Creative, Digital or Multicultural Agency of Record (AOR) relationship.
2. To search for a new AOR relationship with an advertising agency, media agency, digital agency or public relations firm; applying best practices throughout the agency search process to increase the likelihood of the right choice, and a successful long-term partnership between the company and their new agency.
In a new AOR search, it’s important to note that it is not the function, nor the expectation of the CEO or CMO of the hiring company, for the Agency Search Consultant to make the final selection of an agency.
The consultant is hired to run a best-practices process, first helping understand the need and issue(s), and then crafting an agency requirements brief. Once the brief is completed, the Agency Search Consultant then narrows down a list of prospective agencies (normally between three and four), that are then invited in to pitch the company. From the pitch, the company then makes the final decision on who they choose as their new agency of record.
The Agency Search Consultant is paid for the engagement by the company, normally in the form of a fixed fee for the services provided. Rarely is a contingency or success model used. The 4A’s publishes a document called The Rules of the Road for Agency Search Consultants which outlines the generally accepted rules and regulations they abide by.
As a hired third-party consultant and professional advisor to the company’s CEO or CMO, it’s expected that the Agency Search Consultant is an expert on professional services relationship management, optimization and conflict resolution. It’s also the expectation that the consultant has a complete and current perspective of the marketing services, and agency landscape, most relevant to the company’s business.
Given that there are more than 9,000 registered marketing services agencies in the United States, Agency Search Consultants often rely on agency database and relationship research tools like Winmo to be alerted to agency updates, up-to-date contacts and news, along with trade publications like Advertising Age, AdWeek and The Drum. In addition to leveraging outside sources, many Agency Search Consultants also maintain their own internal lists and databases of agencies.
If you’re looking to register your agency profile, and keep it up-to-date with top agency search consultants, we recommend using online registration forms like External View.
Lastly, to get the complete list of top agency search consultants in North America, check out our post about Top Agency Search Consultants and How to Reach Them.