In this week’s Adweek, they featured an article we wrote about the impact marketing agencies are feeling as a result of the changing nature of your world, marketers.

To read the Adweek article, click here.

The changing marketer landscape has significantly impacted the way agencies find and win new business. No longer can agencies exclusively rely on referrals and networking to drive the success of their firm. Once a vital source of new business for marketing agencies, referrals from marketers as a source of agency new business have dropped significantly since we at RSW, first started measuring their importance as a new business resource in 2007.


As companies merge and operate with fewer marketers on staff, there are fewer of you to make recommendations about agencies to your peers, which slows down the volume of referrals driving new business for marketing service firms.

The other important change in the way in which marketers are operating is there are more of you bringing business in-house.  Not so much the big important stuff, like strategy and full-on campaign development, but things like social media, creative development, and some media buying are moving inside.

inhouse agency

This move also obviously slows down the opportunities for agencies.

But all that said, agencies do look to 2018 positively.  54% of agencies believe that 2018 will present more opportunities to win more new business.

So you ask, why is there what seems to be somewhat of a contradiction?   More in-house  work and fewer referrals means less opportunity, yet agencies are optimistic about 2018.

Well, I believe there are two reasons:

  1. You marketers are parsing out more project work…which means more opportunities for agencies.  The day of the AOR is fewer and farther between and more of you are using specialized agencies to get the job done.  This inherently creates more business (maybe not in terms of absolute dollars initially), but this opens up more potential doors – if the agency is aggressive.
  2. Speaking of aggressive…the other reason agencies are feeling good about 2018 is they are getting more aggressive in their outreach.  You may feel it.  60%+ of marketers state that they are getting 6+ calls a week from agencies.  8% say they receive over 20 calls a week!

So don’t blame the agency for being a bit pesky.  They need and want the business and they know that the only way to bust through to you is to dial up their efforts a bit.

So what does this mean for you, the marketer?

It means you should give agencies a listen.  Good ones will come to the table with something of value that can specifically benefit your business.  And the good ones will have done their homework before they walk in the door.

It also means that you should use project work as a “sampling” mechanism for agencies that want to partner with you.  Give them a project to try them out and if they play well and add some real meaningful value to your world, keep incrementally giving them more.  It’s to your benefit to have so many agencies knocking on your door…take advantage of it.


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.