Each month as part of our GO! Figure content series we will be spending time speaking with Marketing and Brand Leaders to get their opinions on a different topic directly affecting our industry.

This month for our Brand Q&A we sat down for a chat with Andrew Haines, Marketing Consultant to Car Finance 24/7, to discuss how he views intermediaries and why we should all know what they are.

GO!: Thanks for agreeing to be the focus of this month’s Q&A, Andrew. First off, can you talk us through how have you gone about finding agencies for your briefs in the past and how you ensure you are meeting the right agencies?

AH: Finding the right agency for any project is always tricky.

Do you ask someone you know for a recommendation?

Do you find two or three yourself through searches and hope for the best to come to the surface?

Do you throw it out to a community you trust i.e. LinkedIn or marketing network?

My preference has always been to reach out to someone or network I trust and take a recommendation from their experience, but even then you still sometimes feel like you’ve found the right agency for their challenges and not necessarily for mine! I always seem to wonder if I’ve found the best out there or just the best in my circle of knowledge.

GO!: What have you found as being the single biggest challenges of finding a new agency?

AH: The biggest challenge is working out which agency is best for the specific problem that needs solving.

The sheer number of agencies available in Manchester alone, let alone the UK means its a minefield to find the perfect one with the right skill set, for the right price and the ability to meant the deadlines of the business. This almost always means the whole process using up considerable time and resource just to get to the point of inviting an agency in, and even then hoping they fit the bill.

GO!: Had you ever considered using an intermediary before?

AH: The short answer is No… I never really knew this kind of service was available.

GO!: What made you decide to use an intermediary for this specific project?

AH: We were originally looking for an animation agency to advise on creating bespoke short video’s for social, we didn’t have the expertise in-house so had no other option but to look for a specialist agency.

Before I had started the search via my usual channels I’d had a conversation with a consultant who works in my team. He talked me through the process of using an intermediary, the value it can add and most importantly the time it can save me.

Then he told me it was for zero cost, after that it was a bit of a no brainer.

GO!: Did you have any reservations about using a middleman?

AH: The only slight reservation I had was about the clarity of the message being delivered to the agency about what it was we were trying to achieve.

I’m pleased to say the level of detail and care that went into the briefing process from your sector specialists put me at complete ease and the whole process was very smooth and easy with excellent communication throughout.

GO!: What did you find were the biggest benefits of using an intermediary?

AH: Only having to brief one person and not having to repeat the same story 2 or 3 times, or trying to judge whether they have what it takes to complete the project.

The whole process saved me a huge amount of time and effort, meaning I could get on with the day to day business of running my team, whilst someone else who I trusted came back with 3 agencies for me to review.

GO!: How did the agencies compare against your traditional way of sourcing?

AH: The biggest difference was the speed at getting the right solution the first time around.

Previously I would speak to a handful of agencies, before inviting 2 or 3 in for a more formal pitch and sometimes include a second round just to make sure. Even then I sometimes still had a slight doubt until the project was well underway.

This time, the process felt much shorter and easier, the agencies selected were perfect for the problem that needed solving and I felt I had made the right decision with none of the doubt.

I was extremely impressed by the knowledge and insight your team had of the agency sector. Being based in the north meant they could easily visit the office and feel like a real extension of my team, and one we could trust to get the right solution for us and not just shoehorning agencies in because you owed them a favour.

GO!: What would you tell a fellow marketer if they were about to go on the journey to select a new agency and had never used or heard of an intermediary?

AH: I’m definitely a convert. Use an Intermediary!

Ensure they don’t charge you for the service and find one that really understands the agency market. The right intermediary will save you time and money in the short, medium and long term as you will have the right agencies for each of your businesses challenges.

GO!: Andrew, thank you.

If you’ve enjoyed this you can read last months Brand Leader Q&A with Mark Elwood, Marketing Director of TeleWare, here