When it comes to agency selection, it’s about the music they play, not about the sound system
by Gary Mattes, CEO
When my lovely wife, Lisa, agreed to marry this guy, she took on all but one task in the wedding planning. Boy, did I get it wrong! (That’s my task, not my choice for a wife.)
The one task assigned to me was arranging the music for the reception party. She knew that I had strong opinions on music and “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang was not being played at my wedding. It had been played at every friend’s wedding for years.
I arranged to meet with a couple of event DJs. One DJ had great playlists. He was somewhat of a musical dopplegänger to me and seemed like a good fit. Another company represented a group of working DJs, but the thing they emphasized was their sound system. They cranked it up and it sounded great! They told us that if we contracted with them, we could pick a DJ from their pool of talented people, several of which would perfectly align with our musical taste. I was blinded by wattage and signed the contract.
Isn’t this the way clients sometimes pick agencies? “ They have great offices,” they’ll say. “They work with Google and Microsoft”. Just sign here to a hefty retainer and then we’ll assign a brilliant team to your account. Getting a team from their “pool of talented people” is likely going to turn out the way it did for me.
Look for the agency that introduces you to the people who are going to be working on your account. Find out what type of accounts they are currently working on. Have them tell you about their success stories with clients in similar situations. See if they are excited about the work they will need to do for your business. Do they seem to be already thinking about the challenge ahead? How did they prove it? If they really want to work with you, they will be thinking about your account from the beginning, asking great questions and making suggestions. You want to find the creative and curious group. They don’t start thinking only when the meter is running.
In my case I soon found out what the “pool of talented people” would mean for me. I was limited to the DJ that was free that night. I gave him my playlist. He said “sure, I’ll play as many of these songs as I can”. Needless to say, I had friends coming up to me during the reception saying “great wedding, but I can’t believe the DJ played ‘I Ran’ by Flock of Seagulls. I thought you hated that song!”
I only had to suffer through one night of bad music. If you contract with the wrong agency you might be hearing Flock of Seagulls for a full year.