In a recent article by Andy McMains at Adweek, he reports that the small independent firms that are part of the Worldwide Partner agency network are particularly pessimistic when it comes to the outlook for the business of marketing and advertising.

The question I ask myself is this…

is it the economy they are mostly pessimistic about – or is it more about the feelings they have relative to the way the agency-client relationship world is changing?

I think the latter.

The reason I think it is the latter is that our sister company RSW/US represents close to 50 agencies across the US and maybe a couple are feeling a bit down on how things are moving along.  All in all, most of the agencies we represent (all independents, like the Worldwide Partner agencies) are feeling particularly good about where they (and their clients) are headed.

I think the problem here…as you dig a bit deeper into the article…is that a lot of these agencies are struggling with the added demands clients are placing on them.

Without question, the the demands are greater and the pressure is higher than it ever has been before.

What agencies are facing is a new reality and those that adjust and work with the situation the way it is will survive.

Those that fight it and let it make them frustrated or angry will ultimately fail – as their work will be affected, their affinity for you, the client, will be affected, and they will find themselves in a nasty spiral.

So what to do?

As a marketer you have to recognize that agencies are a sensitive bunch.  Be open and upfront.  Share your pain and make them know that they aren’t in it alone.

Be clear about objectives and expectations about how things work – or could potentially work as the relationship unfolds.

Transparency and honesty is always going to be the best policy.