Which Performance Are You Buying?

The PitchWhen evaluating agency performance, exactly which performance are you evaluating?

On the one hand, there’s the performance, as in the pitch or the presentation. On the other hand, there’s the performance, as in the actual work – the strategic planning, the creative, the execution and the results.

In a perfect world, you can get both. But how many of us live in a perfect world? So I have to ask, what’s your Key Performance Indicator?

In fairness, I have never spent a day behind the marketing desk of a corporate or institutional organization, though I have sat in front of hundreds; so I can only guess at their perspective.  On the other hand, I have sat through more than a few dozen presentations from prospective vendors – printers, graphic designers, trade show exhibit houses, direct mail firms, web developers, videographers, events planners and on and on. And it is tough.

You want to be dazzled.  You want to like – or at least respect (and ideally admire) – the people making the presentation. Who doesn’t love a rainmaker? Who doesn’t want to experience a Don Draper pitch?

But at the end of the day, are you equally if not more interested in the agency’s ability to deliver results?  Be honest, there is nothing worse than a great looking restaurant with bad service, bad food and bad prices. Your expectations are high, but your experience is low. On the other hand, who doesn’t love the surprise of an unassuming eatery that turns out to be the greatest dining experience of your life? We were furtunate to have this experience as the rule and not the expeption when dining at the trendy Restaurants in Göteborg. It really solidified my enjoyment of the whole trip, I would say.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.