Here’s Why Your Agency Didn’t Get Hired

When a client chooses not to hire your agency, it's easy to start second-guessing yourself. Often, I hear from agencies that are curious to know why they were disqualified and what they can do to improve. In our 2015 report, Agency Hiring & Firing Insights, we got the scoop on what 500 marketers -- CMOs with budgets up to $10 million -- believe and how those beliefs influence whether they hire or fire an agency. The results surprised us. We found that a whopping 94% of respondents believe their search and selection process is effective in finding agencies that are good fits for their organizations. So if their processes are so effective, what's that "special sauce" that makes them hire an agency? We saw a range of answers -- everything from "gut" to "socializing with clients" to a "review by a variety of staff, not just the marketing department." But we also learned a number of surefire deal breakers. What's Getting You Kicked to the Curb? We asked clients why they would disqualify a firm. These reasons came up consistently: The agency is a generalist. In other words, it doesn't have experience in the client's industry. It's increasingly important for agencies to find their niches and stick to them. The agency personnel is arrogant. The employees are self-aggrandizing or imply that the client should be grateful just to work with them. The agency has poor testimonials. The potential client reaches out to the current clients (often on LinkedIn) and learns that it hasn't grown those clients' businesses. The agency brings a pitch team, not the people the client would be working with on a daily basis. Clients want to know exactly with whom they'll be [...]