In our most recent survey (to be released this week), we asked marketing agencies if obtaining new business was harder than it was last year.

Close to 40% of marketing agency principals in the survey said “yes”, it is harder to obtain new business.

The top reason why agencies said it was more difficult was because there were fewer opportunities out there.

Over 65% of the 168 agencies surveyed believe that because of what’s going on in the economy and because of agencies going after things they may have never gone after before, there are fewer chances for them to win new business.

While this might seem like it’s good news for marketers as it presumably opens up more marketing agency possibilities for you to look at (assuming that there are more agencies hunting around for business), reality is, it can actually create more problems for you than you realize.

With agencies a lot more hungry to bring in a new piece of work, we find that agencies will either take short cuts to hurry a response to a request for information from you…or they will go after stuff they have no business pursuing.

What we see in times like these is that larger agencies will often work their way into searches that they don’t belong in.

And while they might talk a good story about servicing your account, I’ve seen it all too often where marketers feel lost in a big agency pond because they get brought in believing they will get great service, but end up assigned to a junior team with little experience and limited motivation to service your account.

The last thing you need is an agency that quickly loses interest and is more focused on their next win to fill the pipeline and cover overhead than an agency that genuinely is interested in helping you build your business.

So take your time when you review firms.  Give them plenty of time to response.  Lay out what your expectations are and insure that you’ve honestly set a fair and reasonable set of criteria for your next agency partner.

Don’t be overly impressed by agencies fawning all over you.  See through the smoke that agencies can sometimes mask as true love.

Key is doing your preparing yourself prior to the search, doing your homework during the search, and meeting the team and the agency before the search is complete.