Reason #9 – The Agency is in a Good Location
In today’s globally connected world, the concept of “location” barely holds water as either a barrier against or a case for professional collaboration. There are a thousand different incarnations of off-shore outsourcing for everything from web hosting to back office operations to customer service in regions sometimes tens of thousands of miles away. Skype has made video conferencing virtually free and instantaneous for all. Yet, for many smaller and midsize marketers, hiring an agency tends to be a decision driven day after day by district.
It makes perfect sense. The marketer who chooses to hire an agency that’s nearby gets numerous benefits out of the proximity victory. Meetings can be held in person if the agency is just across town. The marketer and the agency can virtually ensure a clear and consistent collaboration process that includes personal visits to each other’s businesses, or timely lunches or even social gatherings during cocktail hours.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are many cases in which a marketer will deliberately hire an agency OUT of their market for any number of reasons. In some instances, the marketer might believe that an agency in New York or Los Angeles or Miami might be “better” or “more capable” than some in their own market.
This may or may not be true and it largely depends on what market we’re talking about here. Some marketers just like the sexiness of having to travel to the coast for a big “agency meeting.” Some executives just like a boondoggle. (Why do you think there are so many “amazing” agencies in Hawaii?)
In a more benign example, it may be that an out-of-market shop has a particular expertise (say, direct response, or mobile, for examples) that might be necessary for the next effort. Perfectly legit to look outside the area code.
But the truth of the location issue lies somewhere in the middle of all the excuse-making. An agency that understands your business, your goals and your parameters is valuable as a partner, whether they’re a cab-ride away or a long-distance flight from home.
In my career, I’ve met – and sometimes collaborated with – a hundred agency owners in big markets (New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco,) and small (Tupelo, Greenville, Omaha,) and they pretty much all have talented people, proven processes, strong relationships and solid creative thinking across the board.
What really matters is what makes YOU comfortable. If you place a high value on face-time, then hire an agency that you can drive to in less than an hour. If not, then don’t be afraid to expand your search.
And remember, if you’re in a small market and you decide to look outside your region, you don’t necessarily have to hire an agency from a big market – there are incredible small and midsize agencies in smaller markets across the country that would love to pitch for your business.
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