Startups: 5 Easy Creative Partner Hiring Tips
Reaching out to friends and colleagues for creative resource recommendations is a great starting point for any agency search, whether you’re a start up or not. But unlike larger, more established companies, startups don’t often have the resources to hire an agency, so a friend’s positive recommendation might very well be the only assessment criteria.
Even if you don’t yet have the need or resources to use our regular agency selection process, here are five questions to help you make a more informed decision about working with a potential creative partner.
1. Do they come well recommended?
o What did the recommender like about them?
o Did they do a similar project for the person who recommended them to you?
o Why does the recommender think that they would be a good resource for you?
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Top Five Agency Pitch Mistakes
Many of my clients ask me to help them identify and hire agency partners like creative agencies, digital firms, media buying agencies and web design companies. I’ve developed a process that makes efficient use of my clients’ and the contending agencies’ time, and it typically culminates in individual 60-minute meetings between my client and three agencies.
The agenda for the meetings is deliberately bare bones:
9:00 – 9:05 – Introductions
9:05-9:35 – Agency walks us through whatever they think we should discuss/learn about them to assist in our decision
9:35-10:00 – Client questions/discussion
The overall purpose of the final meeting is to see if the chemistry is there for my clients and also to compare and contrast the different agencies on something other portfolio,price and process. The 30 minutes of “free time” in the agenda enables me and my clients to get some insight into how the agency thinks and prioritizes.
I’ve been using this process for since 2010 and in that time there have been five key mistakes I’ve seen some of which, fortunately, were one-time wonders.
Mistake #1: Wrong People/Wrong Tools
One of my clients was looking to hire a web design company to design their new e-commerce site. During the exploration phase, one agency clearly stood out from the pack. They did gorgeous work that was very aligned with my client’s essence and I was trying to figure out how my client was going to be able to pay for the $100K+ site. The project was literally theirs to lose.
And they did.
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Dentist’s Ad Needs More Teeth
A lot of times we’re just too close to our own marketing to objectively assess it.
If Lincoln Park Smiles, a dentistry practice in my neighborhood, had asked someone else to look at their ad before it was turned into a finished billboard, then maybe their ad would’ve shown some teeth!
If you’re a dentist selling smiles, then you might want the person in your outside advertising to be showing their teeth when they smile.