Managing your business is no easy task.  No matter how small or big the assignment is.  You could be a Brand Manager on one of 100’s of brands, or you could be the CMO of a large Fortune 100 company.  The challenges, while different, feel the same.Managing your business and your agency

If it’s not pressure from the board or the CEO, it’s pressure from your Director of Marketing.

If it’s not competitive pressure from the new up and coming brand, it’s competitive pressure from the company located in the next state.

If it’s not pressure to prove out the returns on all that you invest in your brand’s marketing plan, it’s pressure to justify the return on a marketing spend for the entire company.

Pressures are the same…but different.

So where and how does your marketing agency fit into all of this?  Where can they help?  Where do they get in the way?  Where are they not operating now, where they should? And do they look at your business the same way you do?

If your agency isn’t feeling the same pressures you are (regardless the size or scope of your business management challenge), then either shame on them or shame on you.

If you don’t trust that your agency is well-equipped enough to dive into your business and sit along side of you to help you drive it forward, then you need a new agency.  Gone are the days of agencies that just “do” and “create” stuff.  Here are the days when agencies need to be your business.  They need to understand your business as well or better than you do today.  They need to be thinking about what’s a year ahead, 5 years ahead and think about and articulate to you what that means for your business.

And if you do trust your agency, but they haven’t stepped up – or you haven’t given them the rope to step up, then shame on one or both of you.  You have to give your agency some rope.  You have to be prepared for them to make a mistake or two along the way, but absent of choices and the rope to help you manage through those choices, the relationship is sure to stale.

Give your agency a seat at the planning table.

Ask your agency for their opinion on the changing digital/social landscape and its implications for your business.

Ask them to offer ideas on how to improve sales.

Push them in ways that they may have never been pushed before.

They’ll either embrace it and run with it.

Stare at you blankly and tremble with fear.

Or ignore you in the hopes that your request goes away.



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.