How to choose the right media agency

This is one of the few topics we would rather not write about because we believe our works should sell us to the world. However, there is no harm trying to guide brands and businesses looking for competent and global agencies like us to work with.

As simple as it seems, it is not always easy to seek, choose and appoint a media agency because of the critical role they play in making our brands famous and profitable.

The first move is to determine what you want from a media agency: A lot of clients are often very confused about their goals or intentions (oftentimes for valid reasons). For clients who have not hired an agency before, it is a tougher decision to make while experienced clients are oftentimes looking for better services. Bottom line is that you should talk to professionals who can guide you. There are consulting firms that are versed in making a business to business connections and agency hiring.

However, you have to be careful in choosing such consultants. This is because you need to be sure that such firms are experienced in selecting advertising, media and marketing companies. There also concerns about conflict of interest. Recent experience of clients showed that some management consulting firms might also have vested interests and relationships with agencies, while this does not invalidate their recommendations, it is very valid to request for potential conflict of interest(s) disclosure.

An alternative approach that has to a great extent become the norm is to going on the Internet, draw up a list of media agencies and request a formal meet-up. As a matter of fact, well-run agencies are used to this culture and they invest time, energy and resources to attend to such requests. An agency worth its salt will have handy its detailed credential, past, present projects as well as their future plans as a company. Some agencies might not disclose certain areas of their work, it is perfectly okay because of confidentiality and trade secrets of their clients.

Whichever route you choose to take, there are certain criteria you look for. From the track record, client recommendation, creativity and versatility, financial capability as well as market relevance (global and local- this is very important). One thing you should be wary about is the temptation of going after big names, glitz and glamour instead of competence and credibility- they often come with huge baggage and burden you might not be able to carry.

These criteria are not exhaustive but they are KPIs formulated from many years of industry benchmark. You can get connected to the right media agency if you are also true to your goals and ambitions as a brand owner or manager, it begins with doing and looking for the right thing.

First published in NEXTGEN, a weekly newsletter of SBI Media Limited