Selecting the right agency partners

How L’Oréal France identified the best media and search agencies for their needs

Reviewing agencies is a major undertaking and shouldn’t be entered lightly or with insufficient time, energy, and resource. It’s important that everyone relevant in an advertiser business – across multiple functions and levels of responsibility – is involved. And a clear and methodical process should be followed, giving prospective partners enough time and scope to demonstrate why they’re the right fit – not just for today, but for the medium-term future.

Celine Largy
Marketing Director at
L’Oréal France

Practice & Location

Ebiquity Media
Office: Paris

Objective

L’Oréal France is one of the biggest advertisers in the country, and France is one of L’Oréal’s top three markets worldwide. After more than ten years in partnership with its media agency of record, the beauty giant decided to benchmark the service, cost performance, and innovative thinking it received from its agency against the market. In France alone, five different divisions and 150 members of the HQ marketing and brand teams work with the agency. L’Oréal France chose to review the service provided by its search agency at the same time.

Approach

Ebiquity Paris worked with L’Oréal France to understand motivations for and expectations of the agency review. Our consultants interviewed 30 internal stakeholders – from big and small brands, from consumer and salon professional products – to help shape the requirements of this tender and review process. We also ran workshops with multiple teams in different divisions to design the optimal review process. This involved colleagues from finance, legal, media, marketing, and procurement to discuss a comprehensive set of topics, including: budgeting, tendering, governance, legal pre-requisites, and – of course – transparency.

We invited five of the six global media agency groups to participate in the Request for Information (RFI) stage. We asked them to answer ten critical questions in writing and discuss three questions in a one-hour chemistry meeting. Presentation materials were forbidden and just five people could attend. We split the request for proposals (RFP) into two lots, one for all paid media but search, the second for search – PPC and SEA. We gave agencies six weeks to respond to the RFP.

L'Oréal France wanted its new partner to be not just its strategic agency of record but also to manage programmatic, the present and future of its media buying strategy. It also needed its agency to internalise programmatic. We therefore challenged the two finalists to a programmatic live test.

Outcomes

Conducted best-in-class agency review and selection process

Found, appointed, and on-boarded new media, search partners

Ensured minimum disruption during agency review

Set blueprint for agency review in other global markets

Project & Process

Ran end-to-end Agency Selection process for media and search partners

Conducted 30 interviews with internal stakeholders as pitch preparation

Developed & delivered cross-functional work-shops across consumer & professional divisions

Integrated finance, legal, media, marketing, and procurement – a first