In 2015, 50% of marketers stated in our New Year Outlook survey report that they used 2 or fewer marketing agency partners to support the needs of their business.

In our most recent New Year Outlook survey report, that number is now 74%.

Since 2015 there has been a steady (and in the last few years, a rather aggressive) rise in the percentage of marketers using a smaller number of agency partners, primarily for three reasons.

One, is many marketers are trying to minimize the complexity of managing multiple marketing agency partners.

With marketer ranks shrinking (and likely to continue shrinking), marketers have less time to manage multiple firms. It’s too time consuming.

The second reason has to do with a client’s brand’s equity.

Having too many agencies makes it difficult to maintain any kind of reasonable consistency of a brand’s equity across firms. Limiting the number of agencies that a marketer works with, makes the job of consistent treatment of the brand, that much easier.

And the third reason is integration.

It’s harder for marketers to put together a well-integrated marketing plan when activities are splintered across multiple agencies. Having a single firm – or possibly a lead agency and a specialty firm – makes the job of creating and managing a program across multiple, well-oiled and well-integrated platforms, that much easier.

We’ve experienced both of these situations when helping marketers (via our RSW/AgencySearch business) find new agencies to replace a larger, more fragmented roster of firms.

In our last two searches, the marketers had rosters of 5+ firms, many small specialty shops, and they felt like few of them had the talents necessary to carry their business forward.

They also felt like they needed a firm that could coordinate within their four walls, a plan to move the client’s business forward. In each of those cases, we were able to help the marketer find the agency to accomplish those ends.

So what does this mean for you, the Marketer?

If you’re going to narrow down your focus to just a couple of agencies (e.g. one lead agency and maybe one specialty firm), you need to make sure you’re choosing wisely.

There are agencies out there that can “do it all” and do it all really well.

Key is asking the right questions and getting satisfactory answers to effectively screen firms to determine if they can meet the challenges you put in front of them.

Working with fewer agencies can be a good thing for marketers if it is managed well upfront and then on-going via a solid, strategic relationship.

If you need help, drop us a line.