What Agencies Need From Marketers to Form a Love Connection

If There Were a Match.com for Adland, Here's What a Shop Profile Would Look Like

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Tom Sullivan
Tom Sullivan

Jumping into a new-business RFP is sort of like looking for romance online. So, marketers: If you want to find an ideal companion -- not just a one-night stand -- here's a sample profile to demonstrate what agencies today seek in a love connection.

Looking for: A long-term relationship. Very loyal. Not exclusive (well, exclusive in your category). More like a "marketing friend with benefits."

My perfect date: Me and you alone, with nothing more than a whiteboard between us. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to hover over your shoulder. But I'd love to feel like we're going to collaborate on the big issues you and your brand face, dig into the data and workshop solutions as a team.

Turn-ons: There are two big ones. First, being treated with respect. This sounds so simple, but it can be so rare. Even a token gesture that you understand me and my daily realities is a sign that you'll be a great partner down the road (also tells me this isn't your first rodeo). Secondly, I want to do work we can be proud of. And not all of it is about awards bling. It's about the chance to do work that moves the needle, grows your brand and steals share from the competition.

Turnoffs: You didn't ask Mom (your CEO) if you could date. Or maybe you did, but you forgot to get her to buy off on the brief and she seemed super confused when we presented our future plans. We also detest vague budgets. We're a business, too, and we want to know what, specifically, we're winning. How can we determine what amount of time/money to commit to a pitch if we aren't sure of our ROI? Good clients always focus on their ROI, so can we please have visibility into ours? Another big one is unrealistic timelines; these are never good for morale. And here's a dealbreaker if we ever saw one: You expect to own our creative. Not gonna happen. Our ideas are our currency.


Tom Sullivan is CEO of San Diego-based Vitro.

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