In 2015, we published an Infographic called “The 8 Animal Traits You Need to Future Proof Your Agency”.

Little did we know that only two years later, the world of advertising and marketing would be turned upside down and many (if not all) of the things we suggested that an agency needed to pay attention to would prove critical to their existence.

I was on the phone with Jason Parks from Barkley (in Kansas City) the other day and he and I were talking about the advantages small-to-mid-size independent agencies have over those tied down by holding companies (or now, the behemoth consultants).

8 Animal Agency Traits

Both he and I agreed that because of the changes we’re seeing in the market (e.g. more project work used to “sample” agencies, more work being moved in-house), agencies need to be more willing to take on smaller pieces of work to prove their value.

This historically hasn’t been something bigger agencies or agencies tied to holding companies can do.  They have profits to deliver to their parent and many mouths to feed.  Doesn’t work well with their model.

And we also talked about the need for agencies to be more nimble and flexible.


With the marketers’ world in a constant state of change and pressures to deliver their own ROI, agencies have to be more agile, more able to zig and zag as the marketer and/or the marketing program they’ve created changes in terms of its market performance.

Bigger agencies and at times, smaller networked agencies have too many layers of reporting structure to deal with quick changes in the market or in the marketer relationship.  Smaller and more independent firms are usually more able to make these adjustments.

Here is the list of the 8 Traits That Your Agency Should Possess if its Going to Remain Meaningful and Relevant:

Partner, Not a Player – Is your agency only a creative partner or are they a strategic player?

Agile & Nimble – you want to stay ahead of the digital curve…is your agency helping you?

Real Timer – is your agency steeped in analytics and optimizing programs for you?

Student of Technology – Are you bringing new ideas to them…or they, to you?

Curator/Contractor – If they don’t have the resources/expertise, are they finding it?

Selectively Specialized – Is your agency a “can do anything” agency – and only do it “so” good?

Content Creator – Are they a thought leader and sharing their ideas with you/the market?

Savvier Competitor – Are they bringing on new business to keep their agency healthy – for you?

So think about what you have in the agencies you work with.

Are they working with you or against you?  Are they flexible and nimble and able to really show you the value beyond just the next creative assignment.  Do they put their best into everything – even the smallest of project assignments.

If they aren’t doing it for you, they should be doing it for themselves.

The market is moving fast, agencies need to adjust, and if your agency isn’t, drop us a line.  We can help you find one that is (