I just finished presenting a webinar to about 100 agencies that in part, helped them understand that they need to start thinking about things differently if they expect to survive long-term.

And it goes a lot further than just doing all the things we’ve told agencies in our Agency of the Future infographic about being agile & nimble, a partner and not a player, among other things.

It’s because of fundamental shifts in the way you, the marketer, are operating is requiring them to look at the world differently, evaluate opportunities differently, prospect for new business differently, and manage their relationships with you differently.


There are four things that are currently forcing agencies to think differently.

And I believe it’s these four things that could be the ultimate demise of agencies that don’t take them seriously and don’t adjust how they operate, how their structured, and how they play with you.

The New Seat at the Table

37% of marketers stated in our recent New Year Outlook survey report that they currently have a CIO on staff.  More stunning is the fact that 82% of those marketers stated that their CIO either has “moderate” or “tremendous” influence on things like marketing strategy.  If agencies are going to remain relevant and want a seat at the table with the CIO, they will need to speak their language and will need to partner nicely with them – not dismiss their existence.

 Agency “Sampling”

53% of agencies (it was only 46% in 2016) tell us in this same survey that over 40% of the work they picked up last year was project based.  This is something we see a lot of when we prospect for our marketing agency clients.  Smart agencies will look at these opportunities differently and not shun them just because they are project only.  They need to evaluate them like they would a long-term investment, not a short-term gain/loss.  They have to look at you, your brand, your company – and determine whether the investment in time and money has the potential to pay dividends long-term.  Those that don’t, or can’t look at it this way may ultimately be left in the dust.

Mi Casa Es Su Casa?

76% of agencies believe that some portion of the work they do for you will move in-house.  This compares to 60% last year.  It’s the harsh reality of the market dynamics that agencies will need to adjust to.  The advice and counsel I give agencies is: play nice, offer help and surprise & delight when you do, and bring ideas to the table even if some of what they were doing, you’re now doing.  Good partner agencies will heed this advice and build a solid relationship with you.


Shiny Object Syndrome

In this year’s survey and in the past two year’s New Year Outlook surveys, both you (the marketer) and the agencies taking the survey accused the other of “chasing shiny objects.  Regardless of who is the biggest culprit of this behavior, I believe that at the end of the day, agencies need to take ownership of evaluating technology platforms and leading you versus allowing you to take the lead.

If they don’t take some ownership of this phenomena, they could be left in the dust.  In this year’s survey you marketers tell us that 44% of you are moving marketing dollars out of traditional marketing platforms, into marketing technology platforms, so hopefully it’s your marketing partners (the agencies) that are the ones guiding and shaping this move.  If they aren’t, that’s a problem.

So I know a lot here, but the cold hard fact is that the way you are operating is changing and agencies have to adjust if they are going to survive and prosper in a relationship with you.

Agency not doing this?  Not adjusting?  Not being proactive in how they’re managing your relationship?

If not, give us a call.  Happy to help you find a better marketing agency, at no-cost to you.