How to scope your agency really badly – 5 top tips

team member

Simon Francis

Bad Agency scoping leads to bad relationships and bad work. Bad Scoping is bad for business (both yours and your agency).

So, how come when there is $264billion in Agency fees scoped each year, it is done so badly?

It seems like many advertisers follow a checklist of how to scope their agencies really badly!

We’ve compiled the “bad scoping checklist” for fun, to make a serious point.

Here is the guide for how to scope your agencies really badly. If you want to scope really well, do the opposite of this list. And, use our Flock Agency Scoping Tool.

1. Do not plan in advance. Most clients have an annual plan and scope of work. It is recommended to start the agency scoping process at least 8-12 weeks before the scope is due to begin. You should never start work without a detailed scope. If you want a bad scope ignore this time frame.

2. Use last year’s scope as a guide. Best practise is to start each year’s scope afresh adopting a Zero-Based Budgeting style approach. If you want a bad scope, why not take last year’s scope, add some more, and ask for it all for less?

3. Do not prioritise. Best practise is to go through each scope item and prioritise it, to ensure the most important initiatives get maximum attention and appropriate resources. This also means some things won’t get done. If you want a bad scope, don’t prioritise, try and do too much, and make sure everything is resourced equally as badly.

4. Write vague scope descriptions. This is our favourite for creating truly awful scopes! Best practise scopes feature a detailed description of the scope items, that are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (MECE).

  • Scope should capture the Output of any agency work, e.g. Finished Master still imagery.
  • Output descriptions should be as clear as possible.
  • Scope descriptions should also feature Outcomes, e.g. What is the effect of the work.
  • Both Outputs and Outcomes (where possible) should be quantified, e.g. 8 finished master still photographs that gain more than 1,000 likes.
  • You may need to mention the frequency of the activity (weekly, monthly etc) and you should define how many iterations/rounds of work due to client requests may be expected, e.g. 8 finished master still photographs that gain more than 1,000 likes/shares, with x2 rounds of client feedback.
  • Lastly, best practise suggests you should capture the nature and number of versions of work, e.g. 8 finished master still photographs that gain more than 1,000 likes, with x2 rounds of client feedback, versioned for Pinterest, Instagram, website, Facebook, ECRM each adapted x2.

If you want awful scopes then ignore all this and say something really vague like “photography”.

5. Don’t scope for reporting and analysis. Another cracker. In our analysis of thousands and thousands of Agency Appraisals, the lowest scoring criteria is ROI, analytics, and insightful use of data. But, guess what? Advertisers rarely scope for it well. If you want a bad scope do not scope for analysis, proof or ROI, or any reporting. 

There are other great ways to scope really badly, and of course to scope brilliantly! If you’d like help with the latter let us know and we can share our experiences and also our tools.

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