Category experience is something that every marketer we have worked with seems to want in a new agency.

Jack-in-the-Box wanted fast food experience.

Roundy’s wanted grocery experience.

Mercy Health wanted hospital experience.

Motorola wanted durable goods/B2B experience.

Name your category and marketers all feel the same way.

Category Experience

And they should.

Without some meaningful knowledge of a marketer’s category, it’s tougher for an agency to jump in and move quickly (and thoughtfully).

In our most recent survey, 88% of marketers stated that they want an agency to have experience in their category.

Only 45% felt that an agency had to have over 50% of their agency committed to the marketer’s category in order for it to be “expert” in their space.

Which leaves over half of the marketers surveyed believing that only some experience is enough experience…which I also feel is valid.

While it’s good to bring category experience to the table, I tend to feel that bringing experiences from other categories is healthy for any marketers business.


I remember the days when I worked in brand management for a couple of CPG companies.

We often turned to disparate categories for new product insights and inspirations.

Consumer insights in your own category are good…but broadening the perspective can reveal new thinking, new ideas, and new ways of better meeting the needs of your consumer.

So next time you’re looking for a new agency, think about the value of both: category experience and perspective from other categories not directly tied to your business.

It could be game changing if you find the right agency.

Give us a shout and we can help (



Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.