When Your Small Agency is Ignored by Review Consultants

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MARC BROWNSTEIN: Do search consultants really give a damn about agencies our size? We have reached out to so many of them, and here is what they say:

We are only focused on agencies with billings of $100 million or more. Send us something, and don’t waste your time (read: or ours) making it dimensional and creative. 8 1/2 x 11 will do just fine, so we can file it away. We get tons of mail from small agencies. And you all sound alike. Have we told you about our consulting services for agencies your size?

With encouraging words like these, is it any wonder our agency has its greatest new business success when we are asked directly by the marketer to pitch? The increasing presence and clout of search consultants has put agencies our size in a true quandary. We need them to get on the shopping list of reviews. But they don’t need us, with the exception of the occasional consulting gig.

So what do we do? Pursue them regardless or don’t waste time and go direct?

At Brownstein Group, our strategy is simple: we keep the big consultants up to date on what we’re doing. And we have researched and organized a list of consultants who work with smaller ($1-10 million) client reviews. We communicate with them more often. But for the most part, we focus our efforts where we are successful: direct client contact. We send them our work. News of agency wins. Other happenings at Brownstein Group. And recent meaningful hires. That way, when business is put into review, we are often on the list. And if a search consultant is hired, the client tells the consultant to put us on the list. When that happens, we take advantage of the exposure to the consultants, and show them what they’re missing. Assuming they even care.
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