10 Things Your Prospective Digital Agency Partner Wishes You Knew


Time consuming. Unwieldy. Ineffective. In case we’re not being clear, we’re not big fans of how many organizations approach finding and selecting digital agency partners. Maybe you recall our 2012 rant about “Death by RFP“?

In our experience, most start their selection process with great intentions—to find a suitable partner whose capabilities match up with their needs. Kickoff meetings are held, RFP documents are released, and excitement levels run high.

Everything seems on track, until suddenly it isn’t.

Whether it happens quickly—we’ve seen processes abruptly canceled midstream—or in a slow fizzle—we’ve seen processes that never reached a decision—there are countless ways for things to go wrong.

These situations are awkward, but they’re not the worst-case scenarios. In several cases, we’ve seen teams actually select a partner based on a flawed process. This almost never ends well. Bad process, bad results, as they say.

When the mismatch of capabilities and needs is finally realized, everyone’s a loser. Time has been lost, money has been wasted, and reputations have been tarnished. If you’ve ever been forced to let an agency go, or been on the receiving end of a “this isn’t working out” call, you know the disappointment we’re describing.

So, what have we learned from our clients that seems to work? On and off over the next few months, we’ll highlight 10 things we’ve observed that characterize successful partner selection processes. Are our observations top secrets? Far from it—many are common sense. But, in a world where common sense is surprisingly uncommon, we think you’ll find them helpful.

Please tell us what you’d personally put on your list of best practices for finding and selecting agency partners. We’ll incorporate the best of the best in our series and share credit with you for your contribution. Horror stories and happy anecdotes are particularly welcomed!


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