In a recent article in AdAge about Midsize brands, they talk about the unique needs of brands that are $100M-$1B in size.

There are 350,000 of you out there that fall into this space and you know it, the challenges are different than the big dogs that are playing in the stratospheric revenue and agency space. You’re a challenger brand with more of a challenger mentality that needs a midsize firm that can operate on a wholly different level than the agencies fixating (as AdAge said) on Web3, the metaverse, and AI.  Important, yes, but necessary for midsize brands, no.

Midsize brands continually are continually redefining their world.

They are reorienting from manufacturing or sales dominance, to marketing mindsets. They are inventing new products and new ways to sell them. They are continually thinking about strategy and how to adjust it to keep pace with a changing marketplace.

As the article states, in doing all of this, midsize brands can’t be wrong as often, they can’t afford waste or justify ridiculously high spends, and they only need to make a few, big bets pay off.

But to do it well and to stay competitive, midsize brands need to move quickly and need a level of orchestration that big brands and big agencies find easier to do – because they have the resources and because if they don’t, they’re big enough where slip-ups and lack of orchestration is more of a blip than a significantly hurtful event like it can be in a midsize firm.

When I started RSW back in 2005, the need for smart thinking agencies was less important than finding agencies that could produce cool creative.  The market was primarily dominated by full-service firms that mostly did traditional and some digital media, but that was about it.

Today, the market is much more complex and the demands for smarter, more strategic agency partners is critical, particularly among midsize brands.

As AdAge noted, there are ways in which agencies need to organize in order to better meet the needs of midsize brands:

  1. They need to solve the “Orchestration Problem”.  As midsize brands hire more specialist agencies, they need to manage more agencies. And for midsize brands with midsize marketer resources, that’s tough to do. So either the agencies need to work in a more coordinated fashion, or the marketer needs to narrow his/her focus on the number of agencies they are using or spend a boatload of time coordinating, which they simply don’t have.
  2. A Data and Analytics conundrum. Having the resources to read data and analyze the performance of your marketing campaigns is job #1 in this world of digital media. Analyzing, interpreting, and implementing on your own is nearly an impossible task when you’re a midsize brand. Having an agency (or agencies) that can support this effort is key. Big agencies have it. But you’ll just get lost in their big ocean of bigger brands if you try and find your way into a really big firm. Key is finding the right midsize shop that can do that. Many talk the game, but fewer can really deliver.
  3. Differentiate on “Business Strategy”. Spoke to this a bit in point one above, but midsize brands need good, smart business partners. They can’t do it all on their own – well they could – but operating in a bubble in their own world without the perspective from a firm that has many more varied experiences and have seen how different approaches work for other midsize brands can be a huge plus for a marketer with little time and little breadth of perspective on how to best run his/her business.

We just helped a couple midsize brand marketers do all of this. Too many agencies in their portfolio. Too little time to do it on their own.  No single agency servicing the account in a strategic, analytical, and coordinated fashion. A need for a best-in-class firm that could support their business in a different and better way.

Midsize brands are fighting for their lives in ways that are completely foreign to big brands with big budgets and big agencies. They need agencies that can move quickly, think strategically (and creatively), and be there to serve your business’ success and not just produce the next award-winning campaign.

Midsize brands need all these things.

Midsize, independent agencies can deliver.