It’s often said that the only constant is change, and this certainly applies to our world of agencies and marketers.
The value of an agency and of a client, for that matter, can now be measured more in its ability to adapt to the changing tide than traditional metrics like size, revenue, and the like.
Every year we speak to both marketers and agencies to put together our New Year Outlook Survey Report, which examines the search for agencies from both sides of the equation.
One of the clearest shifts we’ve seen is the move from large AOR relationships into much smaller, project-based work.
What does this shift look like in reality? 35% of agencies we surveyed report that 60% or more of their work is project, as opposed to part of a larger AOR agreement – a 15% uptick from the previous year.
With this shift to piecemeal projects comes a new opportunity for marketers to partner with more specialized agencies; 70% of companies we spoke to partner with 2 or more agencies for their marketing workload.
No longer do companies need to settle for a single AOR’s weakness in, say, digital to capitalize on its expertise in PR. Done right, you can have the best of all worlds. But how do you begin constructing your best-in-class “Dream Team”?
From the beginning of the search until the final decision, be vigilant in determining which agency is “plugged in” to your specific challenges, and is looking to be a partner, as opposed to a vendor.
Some see these terms as interchangeable, but they couldn’t be more different.
Any vendor can offer an assembly line, cookie-cutter solution; truth is, your challenges are rarely unique at first glance.
A partner, however, will dig deeper into the nuance of your circumstances and craft a tailored solution based on your input, rather than a predetermined “cure-all” that they offer some version of to all their clients.
These partners are the agencies worth keeping an eye on during the search, and deserve consideration when it comes to filling a spot in the lineup. No project is developed within a vacuum—the best agency partners are those that understand a client’s challenges, and are able to navigate them in a way that fits the current environment.
A critical eye throughout the entire search process is a must. Remember: this is your Dream Team. If an agency doesn’t fit into your long-term goals, or seems bent on providing “one-size-fits-all” work, then they likely don’t deserve to be on the roster.