I have recently become more involved in doing new business because, well, I have to and it seems to me that the entire comms industry in Romania is based on a network of acquaintances. The normal way to get new business is to know someone who knows someone who needs something. Then the person you know says to the other person "hey, I know someone who can do this"...you go, do a credentials presentation and you're in.
The good thing about this is that for new businesses it's an easy way in into an industry where there's a lot of money being kicked back for account securization (you pay people money to give you the account and keep it with you despite you doing lousy work).
The bad thing about this is mismatching: often the wrong agency gets matched with the wrong account because someone knew someone.
Not a lot of people talk about pre-pitch screening and very few appoint agencies directly based on a competency and portfolio review. All of these should be the job of brand managers and they would also act as incentives for agencies to develop a coherent track record of performance.
Until then, do you know someone who knows someone?
communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.