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Ask Us Anything: A Look Inside Our Research Department


Behind every successful company is a group of hardworking, dedicated individuals who know what needs to be done to be the best. Here at Agency Access, that’s our incredibly talented and attentive Research Department. The backbone of our company is our immaculately kept database, so we borrowed some of our Director of Research, Michael “Mikey” Cassella’s time and got some of YOUR most asked questions answered. Check out below the inner workings of the Agency Access Research Department.

I’ve read that I can ask for specific new companies to be added to the Agency Access Directory. I know of a couple of new agency start-ups that I’d love to market to. How do I go about doing that?

You sure can. I like to think that my team and I are generally on-top of adding new companies as they pop up, but it’s inevitable that we’ll miss a few here and there – especially smaller start-ups. If you’d like us to add a company to our directory, let us know either via email or live chat. We’ll do the research and get it added, including as many relevant contacts as we can identify – usually within a day or two. Once we’ve added it, we’ll let you know so that you can start including the contacts in your list building and marketing.

A new company that I recently asked to be added to the Directory doesn’t appear to have the typical types of contacts I normally like to market to like Art Producers and Creative Directors. What gives?

It all comes down to the size and type of company. We will of course add any relevant contacts we can find while prioritizing titles typically responsible for hiring like Art Producers, Art Directors, Creative Directors, Photo Editors, etc. However, the reality is that these days, not all companies have full creative departments like in the past. Many times, you’ll notice mainly marketing and departmental manager titles available. When you see this, it’s because we’ve identified these titles as the most relevant at the company. In other cases, especially in large corporations, you’ll mainly see executive types of titles – this is because many large companies don’t handle creative in-house. For these companies, we indicate this and of course link to the agencies that are responsible for the creative so you can target contacts at those companies.

People in this industry bounce around a lot. How do you keep up with that to ensure your data is up to date and accurate?

Tell me about it! It feels like musical chairs sometimes with how much movement happens within the creative industry. The secret to the accuracy of our directory is in our approach. Unlike other resources, we still update each and every company and contact manually. We hate junk data, and so while we do use tools to help us automate the process and make us more efficient, each and every contact is verified by one of my research staff who is in touch with every company in our directory every couple of months.

Are there certain things that will deter you from adding a certain company or brand to your directory and why?

Our approach is to only include companies that we believe are active. We start by checking out the companies website and social media profiles to make sure they are regularly updated – it’s amazing how many times we’ll find out-of-date websites still up only to call the company and realize they are either out-of-business or have pivoted and no longer require the services of our members and as such. When this is the case, we won’t add the data. Similarly, in our regular update process, if we find that one of the companies that we do have in the directory is no longer relevant (or in business), we’ll remove them.

With a lot of companies now working remotely, how have you guys handled updating that information?

This has always been a priority for us but obviously, since 2020, it’s become an even more crucial data point for our directory. While my staff is talking with companies during our regular update process, we’ve begun to identify which contacts are working remotely and almost more importantly, whether or not they are having their mail forwarded. Admittedly it’s not perfect, but I'm quite confident having personally talked with hundreds of companies that their creative employees are receiving their correspondence – even if it's a bit delayed. On a related note, our directory has been updated to show the location of contacts when we have that data available making it more obvious when folks aren’t in the same cities as their company.

How are you guys keeping the directory relevant for us photographers looking for new ways to connect with creative industry folks?

Our goal is to simply provide the best and most accurate information available. Early this year we started displaying social media profiles for the contacts in our database. This has, unsurprisingly, turned out to be a huge hit because it provides an additional method of connecting with creatives and building relationships. My team has also been busy collecting several other super useful data points that we anticipate will launch on the site in the coming months. Examples include various company attributes where we’ll display things like the top 100 agencies, women and minority-owned companies, and more. These extra data points make building targeted lists even easier with Agency Access.

Any tips in general for searching the directory?

This one is simple. I always remind members to use the “Date Added” filter in our Directory or when building lists using our List Builder. It’s super obvious, but many people forget about it. Being able to quickly filter to see what we have added over the last week, two weeks, month, and so on and marketing to those contacts can give you a leg up on building some new relationships with freshly added companies and contacts.

Is there any way to organize my own personal contacts with Agency Access?

Absolutely. You can add individual contacts or import them in bulk. Once uploaded, you’ll use the same familiar searchable interface to view and manage everything. Furthermore, just like with contacts in our directory, you can add tags, notes, and tasks making it easy to keep everything “under one hood”.

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