ANA and 4A’s Publish Guidelines for an Effective Agency Search

NEW YORK (Oct. 3, 2011) — Recognizing the need for guidance on searching for an advertising agency in the rapidly changing agency-advertiser marketplace, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and 4A's announced today the development of new, comprehensive strategies in a guidance paper titled, "ANA / 4A's Guidelines for Agency Search." 

Understanding that marketers and their agencies look for high-performance relationships based on mutual trust, the white paper outlines steps to help both parties go through an effective search and selection process that will allow them to create a better working relationship. Marketers and their procurement teams, as well as agencies, will mutually benefit from these guidelines.

The marketer/client guidelines cover a wide variety of topics impacting the search and selection process:

Guidelines for clients cover:

  • Before You Even Decide to Conduct a Search
  • You're Conducting a Search-Initial Considerations
  • Initial List / Request for Information (RFI)
  • Semi-Finalists / Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • Finalists

The recommendations also cover helpful information and guidelines for agencies including:

  • You've Received an RFI or RFP-Now What?
  • You've Made the Cut-Optimizing the RFP / Pitch Process
  • A Word About "Spec" Work
  • Contract and Terms

"Agency search is an increasingly important topic for ANA members as there has been a proliferation of new agencies due to media fragmentation," said Bill Duggan, Group Executive Vice President of ANA.  "There is also an expanded desire for specialty expertise and new perspectives to comple­ment or replace existing agencies."

"Both marketers and their agencies benefit from more effective and efficiency agency search practices" said Tom Finneran EVP, Agency Management Services of 4A's. "Agency relationships are critical strategic investments for marketers. The wisdom of embracing solid agency search and relationship management fundamentals is more important than ever." 

"ANA / 4A's Guidelines for Agency Search" also includes a section for getting started and planning for success.  There are also a variety of additional resources in the appendix section including: Industry Resources for Agency Search and Selection, Cultural Compatibility, Thoughts on "Spec" Creative Assignments.   

The guidelines were developed by a task force of ANA and 4A's members.  They include ANA members from Accenture, American Express, Intuit, Kraft Foods, Pfizer, and Visa.  4A's members were from Bernstein-Rein, Cramer-Krasselt, EuroRSCG, Merkley and Partners, MRM Worldwide, Mullen, Publicis, Shafer Carter Condon, TBWA Worldwide, and The Richards Group.

The guidelines are available on both the ANA ( and 4A's ( websites.



About the ANA

The mission of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.

About the 4A's

The 4A's is the national trade association of the advertising agency business. Its membership comprises virtually all of the large, multinational agencies and hundreds of small and mid-sized agencies from across the country. The 1,200 member agency offices served by the 4A's employ 65,000 people; offer a wide range of marketing communications services, and place 80 percent of all national advertising. The management-oriented association founded in 1917 helps its members build their businesses, and acts as the industry's spokesperson with government, media, and the public sector. For more information, visit the 4A's website at

ANA Media Contact

Luna Newton

4A's Media Contact

Portia Badham