If you’ve been in the marketing world for more than a few years, as I’m sure most of you have, you know that our world of advertising is almost entirely cyclical.

This year’s trends are wholly different than last year’s, but may look familiar to the landscape we saw two (or three, or four…) years prior to that.

Nowhere is this more apparent than when we conduct our annual New Year Outlook Report. (It’s a free download and a great read!)

The report is a valuable snapshot of where the industry stands both for agencies and for you marketers.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the report is seeing how trends have developed over the years we’ve been conducting the survey.

As an example, take a look at the data below on how prevalent specialty agencies are in searches conducted by marketers like you.

Consolidation is back in a big way, and when you’re looking to streamline your roster, specialty agencies are usually the first to find themselves on the chopping block.

It’s an unfortunate reality, but a necessary one as you look to turn your marketing into a well-oiled machine.

It’s tough to manage multiple firms.

We’ve seen it with our marketing clients who are looking to consolidate from sometimes as many as 5-6 agencies, down to 1, well-qualified full-service firm.

So what’s the deal? Are specialty agencies done for, going into hibernation until they’re called back into action in a few years? Not quite.

The value of a specialty agency on your roster hasn’t gone down, but their role within a given roster makeup is undergoing some renovations in the face of shifting tides.

Because you might not directly work with a social or video production agency (as an example), your lead agency might bring one in to augment their own efforts.

Or, you bring a specialty shop in for a one-off project as needed, but don’t factor that need into your traditional agency roster reviews.

So what does it mean for you, the marketer? It’s another trend that we noticed in surveying marketers like you for the report: above all else, strategic thinking will allow you to thrive with a streamlined roster of agencies.

A strong strategic agency is able to curate and contract these specialists to meet your needs.

When your agency brings in a specialist, it saves you work, demonstrates a proactive partner, and most importantly, ensures that you’re getting the best talent for the job.

In other words, find the right strategic partner, and the specialty piece may just fall right into place.

If you’re starting the search for a marketing partner that’s able to get the job done, even if it’s not within their own four walls, give us a call (513-559-3101) or drop us a line (msneider@rswagencysearch.com) and we can tap into our database of hundreds of agencies to find the one that’s right for you and your challenges.