Agency Reviews for Project Work — New ANA/4A's Collaboration

January 28, 2016

By Bill Duggan

Today, the ANA and the 4A’s released “Agency Reviews for Project Work Guidance Considerations.”

Project assignments are on the rise. The fragmentation of media, expanded specialist marketing resources, and client-side financial pressures have led to an increase in project-by-project-based relationships. Project assignments are limited in time and scope, and are usually driven by a need to address a defined business opportunity. They are often for strategy and creative development but can also cover areas such as website work, social media, PR, media planning, and media buying. 

While best practices for conducting an agency search for an AOR are well documented, agency reviews for project work did not have a similar guidance tool — until now. The ANA and the 4A’s have collaborated to provide both clients and agencies with considerations to help optimize the review process for project work. Some highlights: 

  • Project assignments come in many different types, scopes, and complexity ranges. As a result, there are often good reasons for conducting project reviews. The importance of project review efficiency to both clients and agencies warrants thoughtful project review planning and prudent process calibration so that the scale of the request fits the size of the opportunity.
  • Project engagement is particularly appropriate when the client’s needs are short-term and limited in scope, and/or when special expertise, beyond that of roster agencies, is required.
  • Some client project reviews involve large-budget, highly-complex, and multi-phase or multi-year activities. When a project is longer-term or complex, or requires highly specialized talent, then a more comprehensive review process is often warranted.
  • The most important consideration in conducting a review for a project-based assignment is to match the process to the opportunity. The scope, complexity, budget, and timeline of a project can and should influence the review process. If the assignment is small in scope, the requirements for the review, and the number of agencies being considered for the assignment, should be scaled accordingly. The more complex the assignment, the more information you may need from the agencies to determine the best fit for the project.

Done well, project work can be an efficient way for clients to find new resources and for agencies to find new business opportunities.


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