The agency tour; a chance to show prospective clients or partners the inside workings of your agency. But, what impact does this have on the prospect when deciding which agency to hire? Does the agency tour really help to paint a picture of what a client is buying into? Are aesthetics and interiors important? Are foosball tables, sleep pods and yoga studios as important to clients as they often are to employees?
Understanding what and who the agency is made up of and how it functions can help bring ideas and projects to life. Being able to visualise the wider team and the culture helps to forefront the human element behind scamps, processes and proposals. But how much does it matter, and should those with less impressive work spaces veer away from offering an agency tour at the risk of not living up to what others have to offer?
To find out, we chat to client side marketers, to see how important the agency tour really is.
Chanty is an AI powered tool for team communication and collaboration. We hit up Chanty’s CMO, Olga Mykhoparkina, who talks about partnering with and outsourcing ad agencies and how the agency tour is in fact the least important consideration when making a decision.
“We first look at their [the agency’s] portfolio and the data from previous campaigns - everything else comes second. In fact, we’ve come to realise that agencies with a fancy agency tour have pretty poor results. We don’t like fluff and we’ve learned early on that it takes more than pretty videos to deliver results.”
However, Tom Bourlet Marketing Manager at The Stag Company, speaks of how the experience of visiting an agency can indeed have an impact on overall perception and decision making. After appointing a fair few different agencies, Tom talks about some of the things they liked or disliked when scouting out agencies to partner with.
“I do actually think the little touches make such a psychological difference. Buying us smoothies from a store close by or making us a frappuccino instantly puts us in a good mood, as does laying out some cupcakes in the meeting room. Taking us on a tour of the building, explaining how they work and having a five second meet with the heads of departments often creates a sense of trust.”
“From the other side, if they [an agency] don’t take me on a tour, we tend to jump straight into business talk in a meeting room and it can prevent a connection being made. I think this is vital, as I’m not just buying into the brand, I need to trust them personally with the company. I need to get a feel for the characters at the agency, their knowledge of their roles and previous campaigns they have run. There are definitely opportunities to achieve this through an agency tour, especially if you hang up awards on the walls or previous successful campaigns.”
“Just the same, we had a meeting with an agency and while waiting, they placed us in a kitchen. They didn’t mention who we were to staff, so we kept getting moved around so people could make their own coffee. By the time the meeting started, we just wanted to get out of there as we hadn’t felt welcomed or appreciated.”
It may be that faux grass + foosball tables = ‘fluff’, but there’s no question that an agency tour can help bring character to a chemistry meeting or tissue session. Using the agency tour to demonstrate attention to detail and personality can help build a connection and trust. However, above all else, it’s demonstrating proven results and knowledge that’s truly impactful, whether shown through an agency tour or elsewhere.
So what’s the best approach? Build your agency tour around showcasing effectiveness, previous work, client testimonials and results. Use your tour as another chance to show the prospect client how your agency can meet their brief. Link everything back to effectiveness. Your table tennis room is cool, but how will this impact your client? If your games room isn't just ‘fluff’, but instead has a vital impact on staff retention and satisfaction, explain this, because happy staff means motivated staff. And motivated staff means strong work.
If your office space doesn't flaunt trendy breakout spaces, or maybe you operate remotely, fear not… demonstrating your creativity, ideas and effectiveness will always be more important than ‘fluffy’ agency interiors.