The move to in-house creative teams.

The takeover by AI.

The question of digital agencies’ relevance.

Marketers cutting back on agency spending.

Agencies have had it tough over the past few years.  Not only did they have to deal with the effects of, and residual effects of the pandemic, but they have had to fight the uphill battle of keeping up with changing technologies, a rapidly changing marketplace, and a more sophisticated marketer who demands significantly more today than in recent memory.

I’ve been in the business of managing agency-client relationships since 2005.  As I think back over the last 18 years, it is fascinating to think about how far changed the industry is.

What hasn’t changed is the challenges agencies face in busting through to your world, marketers. They try to capture your attention, but you’re either not listening, don’t care to make a change, or simply believe that what you’re doing now is as good as it’s going to get.

And what also hasn’t changed is the value that really solid agencies can bring to your world. I’ve seen far too many marketers living with their agencies for decades, believing that because the relationship is a mutually loving one, it means that they’re getting the best they can possibly get.  Sorry to say, but in most cases that I’ve seen, this is simply not the case.

Not all agencies matter, just the right, bright ones bring real value to an agency-client relationship.

Creative was king when I started RSW in 2005.  But today, with so many marketers bringing creative work in-house, it’s not wise to make your agency all about the big idea and nothing more than that.

Today, agencies have to apply their creativity in different ways.

They need to apply their creative thinking to technology, identifying the right solutions to creatively help their clients find new, inventive ways to go to market.

They need to apply their creative thinking to business strategy, delivering solutions and ideas about the client’s business, going above and beyond the scope of what they’ve been asked to do.

They need to apply their creativity to the client’s customer, creating multi-media solutions that will help their clients better ride along side their customers, telling them the things they want and need to hear at different points throughout their purchase journey.

And they need to apply their creativity to their own internal organization, bringing the best people into their organization and keeping them motivated, well educated, and happy, so they can maximize the value they bring to you, the marketer.

So (solid) agencies matter if they can go beyond their scope to bring exceptional value to their clients’ worlds.

Challenge is finding the good ones.

So I say, listen to some of the agencies trying to get your attention.

Don’t just take the advice of one peer who has had a good experience with a firm, look at many.

Define your criteria for the ideal firm and use that to judge value, not how smokin’ hot their presentation is.

Or bring a group like ours in to manage a search.  We charge you nothing to find best-in-class firms.

Call us (513-293-6785) or email us ( and we’ll explain how.