This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3. With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.
In my experience, many people are too busy focusing on the primary task of selecting the right agency, that they miss the larger strategic opportunity to engage and align the other internal stakeholders during the process.
One of the great failings of marketing and marketers is the way they communicate and engage with other stakeholders within an organisation. Yet selecting a new agency supplier is a high profile opportunity to encourage engagement and alignment with these important internal stakeholders.
The selection of a new agency is an opportunity to engage internal stakeholders and create alignment to the marketing communications strategy
Let me demonstrate with a recent example.
An automotive advertiser was looking to ensure they had the right creative agency to deliver the increased market share expected. The incumbent, while enjoying a good relationship, was to be tested against the market for strategic and creative development ability.
In discussions with the marketing team it became clear that, beyond the immediate team, there were a number of key internal stakeholders interested in this selection process for a wide range of reasons.
These internal stakeholders included:
It was important that this was defined up-front as it allowed us to define the process to not only engage these stakeholders at the appropriate time, but to align them to the final choice.
The TrinityP3 Strategic Supplier Search and Selection process can be defined in the following steps:
By establishing the requirements of the process up-front we were able to set the criteria to deliver the agency that the marketer required. But then within the process, especially the chemistry session and the strategic workshops we were able to assist the marketer in engaging with the internal stakeholders in the selection process.
These parties were more than simply observers, they were able to interact with the agencies and participate in the reduction of the agency list from the invitation list to the short list. The strategy workshop was based around working on a strategic challenge that had application for all of the internal stakeholders so there was a high level of input and engagement. But by setting and agreeing the selection and performance criteria up-front we were able to ensure that the selection outcome remained focused on delivering the marketing requirements that were defined in the search brief.
It was by opening up the search and selection process at the right points and inviting the relevant internal stakeholders to participate that the marketing team were able to engage these stakeholders in a positive and productive way.
The outcome of the process was the selection of an agency that was unanimously supported by the internal stakeholders, meaning that marketing had a mandate for the agency and the strategy developed in the selection process, during the strategic workshop.
Rather than keeping the selection process closeted within the marketing team, this approach created a powerful alignment.
Which internal stakeholders would you invite to participate in your next pitch? And what concerns do you have in doing this? Let me know by leaving a comment here.