Want The Perfect Digital Partner? Get Your Process Together

Peter Weiss is a veteran account guy, having served in leadership roles for Grey and Euro RSCG around the globe. Today, Weiss runs two companies, Weiss Ideas, which provides strategic direction to brands and Weiss + Mowery, a startup agency search consultancy with an emphasis on digital.
Peter agreed to meet for coffee yesterday. We shared war stories, after which he suggested that I downplay my experience on Camel, since no one wants to hear about cigarettes. Of course, that’s kind of tough to do, since the work I did for Camel is some of the best work of my career. However, I appreciate the redirect and trust the source knows a thing or two about presentation.
After our meetup, Peter forwarded the white paper he and his partner Bruce Mowery recently published to help clients understand the digital agency search process (follow the link to request one). Here’s part of the introduction:

With the explosive growth of the digital economy selecting a superlative interactive agency is more critical to a company’s business success than ever before. “Digital” requires new ways of thinking. New business demands. New management responsibilities. And new ways of marketing. It also demands a new way of thinking about choosing an interactive agency.

The paper lists six mistakes companies make and how to avoid them. I like Weiss + Mowery’s “Mistake #4: Agencies Are Non-Profit Institutions.”

You get what you pay for; rewarding prospective agencies for their ideas can pay real client dividends. Agencies instinctively work harder when they know the client has some real skin in the game. Similarly, corporate teams are more demanding and attentive knowing that they have money on the table. And, in the final analysis, companies get better thinking, better work–and they even get to keep the recommended agency ideas as their own at the end of process, since they paid for them.

You heard the gentlemen, if you want ideas as part of the pitch, be prepared to pay for them. Otherwise, it’s a credentials review only.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.