What does the world actually look like without WPP, the world’s largest agency network?

Let’s add all the other big global networks into that mix.

Would we miss them?  Would marketers long for them?

Personally, I think the world would be a happier, more creative, and friendlier place to be.

You dive into these big agency networks and you find agencies fighting other agencies for lead positions.

You find agencies encroaching on eachother’s space trying to offer what other agencies are offering.

You find agencies turning away business because their “share” of the pie is too small when it ultimately is divided up among all the fish in the agency network sea.

You find corporate cultures that can sometimes stifle creative cultures.

Stiffling

And you find agencies that can’t be as nimble and flexible as is required by marketers today.  The world is changing rapidly in the marketing and agency space and it’s the independent shops that I believe, will end up winning the day.

You marketers are pushing out more project work.

You marketers are bringing stuff in-house that the networked agencies once made a nice dollar off of.

You marketers are under some intense pressure to justify spending and prove out returns.

These changes can…and do prove challenging for networked agencies that are under margin pressure and are looking to own more of your marketing pie.

It’s just not the way the world is working anymore.

My guess is that eventually the big networks will go away.  Smaller networks of agencies may exist, but if they do, they will be comprised of more nimble and more creative shops that exist as a unit to garner efficiencies and better serve their clients.

The case can be made for the independent agency today.

So what does this mean for you, the marketer?

With project work now serving as a great sampling mechanism for marketers, we say, give it a try with a smaller-to-mid sized, independent firm!  Give them a piece of your pie.  See how smart and creative and hungry they are for your business.

You can keep your networked agency in the short-term while you sample some new, independent, fresher thinking firm.

Give it a shot?  What do you have to lose?

 

About 

Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.