How to Find the Right Agency for your Tourism Organization
Selecting an agency to execute a marketing campaign, build a new brand or communicate your product is a challenging assignment for tourism organizations.
Finding the right partner means understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, before asking six other companies to describe their own.
Once you developed a strategic identity for your DMO, you then have to find another firm to adopt, improve and promote these ideals.
It can be challenging, but knowing the right qualities to look for can identify the right partner.
The difference between smart and brilliant is the explanation.
There are a lot of smart people working at PR firms, ad agencies and social media shops, but if they cannot explain their idea in a way you can understand, all of that brilliance is for not.
Consider the communication you receive from a prospective agency…website, emails, RFP responses, meetings, etc…do you understand what they are trying to say to you?
Does your future partner have the ability to take a complex idea or strategy and explain it, not only to you, but to your stakeholders, your CEO and even tourists?
If the agency can’t communicate, your organization won’t succeed.
If your agency relationship is going to become a true partnership, then you should be looking for an equal partner.
Far too many agencies openly advertise that they will do anything (SEO! Logo design! Swag development!) and just as many maintain a vigorous dedication to specific tools and tactics (Drupal! Radio spots!), but to find the right partner you need to avoid the extremes and seek balanced conviction.
A partner strong enough to explain why you are wrong, but able to admit when they don’t share your depth of product experience.
An agency should be strong enough to say no and humble enough to say they don’t know.
Travel is not the same as tourism, and tourism is not the same as destination marketing.
The final trait we look for when helping tourism clients find the right agency partner is an ingrained cultural principle to listen and comprehend.
Unfortunately it can be the hardest one to identify.
We have found that compensated test projects offer useful insight into the comprehension skills of an agency as well as offer a much more relevant final selection method than a simple (and often one-sided) interview.
You provide the outline and let the agency fill it in with what they know.
Has the agency been listening to you, or just to themselves?