We tell our marketing agency clients all the time to reach out with relevancy when they engage with you.

Absent of that, an agency looks like every other agency.  They all think they’re smart and strategic and fun and creative.  They all tell you they can help drive sales and that they have a special process.

I say…these are all costs of entry for an agency into your world.

Agencies need to show you that they understand your world.  They don’t need to pop open that PowerPoint presentation and show you how great they are.  They need to strike up a good conversation with you about your business, the industry, your consumers – and show you that they understand your space.


In a recent survey we conducted, marketers rated agencies a “6.2” on a 10-point scale for “being a good partner”.  Too many agencies look at the relationship as if it’s a creative/marketing partnership when in reality you need a good smart business partner that can do all the things great agencies do.

I ran a couple searches a few years ago – two back-to-back hospital searches.  In both cases, the marketer said that one of the reasons why they selected the agency they did was because they felt like the agency was “already ramping up”.

Both agencies did a great job of showing the client that they understood their market and their business.  They made the presentation more about them, than about their own agency.

This is the way all agencies need to think and act.

So next time that phone rings or that email shows up in your inbox, ask yourself: “Do they know it’s me?”  And “Do they know who I am?”.

If the answer to either of these two questions is “no”, thank them kindly and move on.

The onus is on the agency to win your hearts and minds.  Listen and watch carefully.



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.