Involve buyers from start, says guide

31 March 2004
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01 April 2004 | Geraint John

Purchasing professionals should be involved from the outset in the process of selecting creative agencies, according to industry guidelines published last week.

Finding an Agency, best-practice advice produced by five trade bodies representing advertising, marketing and PR services, says value will be missed if purchasers are only brought in to finalise contract terms and conditions.

The guide makes 10 recommendations to improve the way selection is handled. They include inviting no more than four agencies - including an incumbent - to pitch, and giving them good access to client company information and personnel.

Debbie Morrison, director of membership services at the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA), said bad practices were still common on both sides.

Morrison, who co-wrote the guidelines, said it was good practice for clients to make a contribution to agencies' pitch fees, which in some cases could be as high as £100,000. A figure of £3,000-5,000 per agency was typical, she suggested, depending on the nature and size of the account.

"Paying a contribution shows that clients are sincere in their search for a new agency, rather than just trawling for free ideas."

Finding an Agency can be downloaded from the ISBA's website at


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