Comps vs. Competencies


Occasionally, companies looking for marketing, advertising or public relations support will ask the invited agencies or those responding to a proposal to provide “comps,” that is, samples of specifically what they would do for the company.  We never do.

It’s not because we can’t compete but because it isn’t fair – either to our agency, which is being asked to work for free; our existing clients, who deserve all our time; or the prospect, who would not see a true reflection of what a truly strategic approach would accomplish.

And that’s the key:  No one can know what an organization needs without knowing the organization. On the surface, it may look as though a few bells and whistles will suffice, while, deeper down, more relevant content may be needed. The point is that comps are shots in the dark – very unlikely to hit the target.

So how do you gauge what an agency can do for you?
A good place to start is their web site, particularly any case studies. Do they work with clients in businesses such as yours or have they addressed issues similar to those you face? Did their efforts bring measurable results? Do you like their design aesthetic?

Nose around a little more, looking, for instance, at their blogs. Are these people you want to work with and know? Check out their credentials. Are these the quality of people you would want on your team? If you’re still interested, ask for a meeting. Any professional agency would be happy to chat with you about your needs at no charge.

At Next-Mark, we stand on our competencies and ground all we do in strategy. We don’t create materials in a vacuum and work to sincerely understand our clients and their goals. We also showcase our client work on the portfolio section of our website.

If that sounds good to you, we may be good for you, as well.

Joseph S. Grano, Jr., has a record of success providing vision and strategic direction to organizations experiencing rapid growth and change. He is one of those rare individuals who have made a successful transition from corporate leader to entrepreneur and owner of his own growing company.