Interesting media/advertising article: http://adage.com/cmostrategy/article?article_id=145554
The three points I like specifically are:
1. Don’t hire an agency. Hire a culture. The core values of an agency will foretell the kind of relationship you are likely to have. Favor agencies that are collaborative, innovative and proactive. Avoid agencies that tolerate fiefdoms. And their office often will reflect their culture.
2. Talent rules. The most critical decision in any review is getting a measure of the agency talent. Agencies that are brave, culturally diverse and committed to self-expression create better, more forward-thinking teams. Find out what kind of people they hire. Are they ambitious? Inspired? Make sure that the talent is technologically literate.
10. Have the right perspective. Don’t just hire an agency based on its history. Hire its future, its vision. Look at what it thinks about the most important consumer trends. Find out how well it gets technology, how deep and central to its culture that is, and whether it understands how to use social media.
Between the lines, I also read the importance of understanding the technology and emerging media — these are a couple key pillars in the digital industry as the market continues to evolve. An example might be the transition from individual publisher sites to inventory networks to data networks and demand side platform technologies in the last decade. To understand the inner workings is what allows you to make your way through the smoke and mirrors.