'We saw a need for it': Business development firm assembles care kits for those experiencing homelessness

WALNUT HILLS, Ohio (WKRC) – RSW/US, a business development firm in Walnut Hills is putting together hundreds of personal care kits to help those experiencing homelessness in the Cincinnati area.

 

The business development firm that works solely with ad agencies has been collecting donations from employees and corporate donors since June 1. Each bag will have personal items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, tampons, and deodorant. They also packed food bags with snacks, tuna, and juice boxes.

Employees will distribute the bags to those in need in the community, and 100 bags will go to Lighthouse Youth Services for its clients as well.

“When I first started the company in ’05 I wanted to you know give back and not just take and this is really sort of a manifestation of that sort of vision and desire to put a program together that can give back to the community,” said RSW/US President and CEO Mark Sneider.

RSW is a marketing firm that connects brands to agencies, but they also have RSW Cares which is a philanthropy division of the organization.

“It’s something to get the organization together through serving, you know a lot of times we get so busy with the business, that we don’t think about ourselves, and others so why not just take the time to unite together and help people,” said Shadre Parker, Director of Philanthropy for RSW Cares.

This is one of many philanthropic events RSW organizes every year, it also partners with Soles4Souls, where they collect shoes for those in need. That initiative will be hosted in September of this year.

This is the first time the company has organized a homeless initiative.

“We saw a need for it, I think a lot of us, we used to work in Madeira and now we work here in Walnut Hills and since then just on our routes we’ve seen people in need more and wanting to help out,” said RSW Cares team member Kiana Puskas.

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Marketers and agencies are miles apart: A potential shift in the sphere of influence?

Marketers and agencies are miles apart: A potential shift in the sphere of influence and advertising agency/marketer relationships?

The symbiotic advertising agency/marketer relationships have always been fraught with a certain level of division, but a new report from marketing agency business firm RSW/US shows marketers and agencies are miles apart when it comes to planned 2022 investments in their business on things like personnel, technology, R&D, and product development.

Last year COVID dampened enthusiasm for marketers’ spending, from 77 percent in 2020, down to 49 percent that planned to invest “somewhat” or “heavily “in their business in 2021. Agencies similarly saw a drop from 86 percent in 2020 to 64 percent in 2021.

However, this year shows a stark contrast in the respective temperaments of marketers and agencies as it relates to 2022.

Just when we thought marketer enthusiasm couldn’t drop any lower, this year we hit an even lower point, with only 21 percent of marketers saying they would “somewhat” or “significantly” increase spending on non-marketing activities in the new year.

The story is different for agencies. In contrast to marketers this year, 79 percent of agencies actually report they plan to invest in non-marketing activities “somewhat” or “heavily”. Last year only 64 percent of agencies felt this way.

So, what does this mean for marketers and agencies in 2022?

Could this chasm in investment mean the beginning of a wholesale shift in the sphere of influence between marketers and agencies?

Agencies that invest more in their business could find themselves in a more dominant position relative to their marketing partners, with marketers relying on them even more than they do today.

It’s possible that because of marketers’ lower levels of investment in technology, personnel, and development, they will need their agency partners to help keep them ahead of the technology curve and fill in gaps where their own personnel are lacking.

2022 could prove a banner year for marketing service firms!

Download the full report here.

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NEWS RELEASEMarketers and Agencies Are Miles Apart

RSW/US, the nation’s #1 outsourced agency business firm for marketing agencies, released its annual 2022 New Year Outlook Survey Report, and seemingly marketers and agencies are miles apart..

Marketing agencies and Senior Marketers received the survey in December 2021.

Download the report here.

The symbiotic advertising agency/marketer relationship has always been fraught with a certain level of division, but as RSW’s 2022 New Year Outlook Report shows, marketers and agencies are miles apart when it comes to planned 2022 investments in their business on things like personnel, technology, R&D, and product development.

Last year COVID dampened enthusiasm for marketers’ spending, from an anticipated 77% in 2020, down to 49% that planned to invest “somewhat” or “heavily ” in 2021.

Agencies similarly saw a drop from 86% in 2020 to 64% in 2021.

However, this year shows a stark contrast in the respective temperaments of marketers and agencies as it relates to 2022.

Just when we thought marketer enthusiasm couldn’t drop any lower, this year we hit an even lower point, with only 21% of marketers saying they would “somewhat” or “significantly” increase spending on non-marketing activities in the new year.

Plan (in next year) to Invest “Somewhat” or “Heavily”
in Their Business (non-Marketing)
2013 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Agencies 87% 84% 93% 91% 89% 86% 64% 79%
Marketers 57% 75% 90% 88% 90% 77% 49% 21%

The story is different for agencies. In contrast to marketers this year, 79% of agencies report they plan to invest in non-marketing activities “somewhat” or “heavily”. Last year only 64% of agencies felt this way.

SO, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MARKETERS AND AGENCIES IN 2022?

Could this chasm in investment mean the beginning of a wholesale shift in the sphere of influence between marketers and agencies?

Agencies that invest more in their business could find themselves in a more dominant position relative to their marketing partners, with marketers relying on them even more than they do today.

It’s possible that because of marketers’ lower levels of investment in technology, personnel, and development, they will need their agency partners to help keep them ahead of the technology curve and fill in gaps where their own personnel are lacking.

2022 could prove a banner year for marketing service firms!

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After a Rough 2020, Agencies Are Finding it Easier to Obtain New Business
RSWUS Agency Difficulty Obtaining New Business Nov2021

Fairly early on in the pandemic, global agency strategists believed that COVID-19 would fundamentally change the way agencies work. Along with these changes, it appears that about two-thirds (67%) found gaining new business harder or much harder compared to the year before. This is per a report [download page] from RSW/US, which finds that things have gotten better for agencies this year.

Indeed, the report indicates that agencies are having less difficulty obtaining new business this year compared to 2020. Only a little more than one-quarter (28%) of the 120 US agency executives surveyed say that obtaining new business this year is harder/much harder than it was in 2020. The news gets better, with close to 4 in 10 (38%) saying that it’s gotten easier or much easier to obtain new business this year, up from just 7% who said the same last year.

The pandemic might not be totally to blame for the increased difficulty in obtaining new business. Although close to 6 in 10 (56% of) agencies reported that the number of new business opportunities decreased in 2020 compared to the year before, the share of agencies that were finding it harder to obtain new business had already started an upward trend in 2016. And, by 2019, the share of agencies who believed winning new business would become more difficult had increased to 43%. Nevertheless, 2021 appears to have seen a resurgence in opportunities, with half (51%) of respondents saying they have seen new business opportunities increase compared to last year.

The pandemic also had little effect on most agencies’ positioning: only 16% say they changed their agency positioning in response to COVID. This may not have been necessary considering that nearly all respondents currently believe their agency’s positioning is extremely (22%) or somewhat effective (72%).

7 in 10 Rely on Business with Existing Clients to Generate New Business

A slight majority (52%) of respondents report being satisfied with the success of their new business plan. When asked which marketing tools have been most effective in generating new business over the past year, 7 in 10 (71%) cited business from existing clients (top 3 choices). They also rely on referrals (53%) and networking (43%).

When it comes to closing “new” new business, about half (49%) say their average closing percentage is at least 50%. And, the majority (87%) say that it takes 1-6 months from the first meeting to close a piece of business. One sticking point in closing business is likely to be price, with S2 Research reporting that businesses are not satisfied with what agencies charge.

Content and Collaboration

Two-thirds of respondents say they have a blog on their site used to drive new business. The largest share (34%) post to their blog monthly. Some 8 in 10 (81%) also say they post content on other platforms to drive new business, with nearly all posting on LinkedIn.

The majority separately report that their new business wins have not involved collaborations with in-house agencies over recent years. Likewise, 52% say that the new business they’ve won over the past year doesn’t involve collaboration with other or partner agencies.

Finally, there has been a potentially problematic rise in the share of agencies that say they have a single client that represents more than 50% of their agency’s business. This year, 29% say this is the case, compared to 17% who said the same in 2020.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings for 2021 are based on a survey of 120 US agency executives.

 

Thanks to Marketing Charts!

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The New Business Climate for Marketing Agencies in 2021

This year has been better than last year for marketing agencies, with most finding more new business opportunities in 2021 compared with 2020, according to recent research from RSW/US.

The annual report was based on data from a survey conducted in September and October 2021 among 120 executives who work for marketing, advertising, and PR agencies.

Some 51% of marketing agency executives say the number of new business opportunities has increased relative to last year and 37% say it has stayed the same.

Only 12% of marketing agency executives say the number of new business opportunities has decreased relative to last year.

Some 38% of marketing agency executives say obtaining new business in 2021 has been easier compared with last year and 35% say it has stayed the same.

In 2020, more than two-thirds (67%) of marketing agency executives said obtaining new business had become more difficult compared with the previous year.

Marketing agency executives say the most effective tools/approaches for generating new business over the past year have been gaining business from existing clients and referrals.

 

About the researchThe report was based on data from a survey conducted in September and October 2021 among 120 executives who work for marketing, advertising, and PR agencies.

Published on November 10, 2021

 

Thanks to Marketing Profs!

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Marketers and agencies are miles apart: A potential shift in the sphere of influence?

Communications agencies got back on their feet in 2021 after a deflating 2020, but this is no time for marketing and PR firms to rest on their laurels, in terms of client growth, according to a newly released agency survey and report from marketing business development firm RSW/US.

This year’s annual survey and resulting RSW/US 2021 Agency New Business Report saw many small and mid-sized agencies growing or regaining lost growth from the previous year.

For example, 38 percent of agencies said it was easier or a lot easier to obtain new business this year, vs. just 7 percent in 2020. And “business from existing clients” was reported as the most effective method/tool for bringing in new business (71 percent).

But with this rise of organic growth, firms should be aware of warning signs heading into 2022

The first is a multi-year decline in referrals, traditionally the predominant method for agencies to gain new business. There was a slight dip from 62 percent in 2019 to 60 percent in 2020. 2021 saw a deeper drop—to 53 percent.

Another sign: agencies are not investing in the development of “new” new business, only relying on existing client growth

This plays out in the low percentages (all under 10 percent) attributed to phone calls, social media, inbound, and traditional mailings.

A few other key stats that exemplify the lack of a strategic plan around “new” new business:

  • Ad agencies said the predominant reason it was harder to obtain new business in 2021: “harder to break through to prospects” at 59 percent, up from 42 percent in 2020.
  • 29 percent of agencies say they have a client that represents more than 50 percent of their business, vs. 17 percent last year.
  • Hiring for the new business director position at an agency is at its lowest level since the survey started in 2010, with just 32 percent of agencies hiring a new business director in the past 3 years.
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Seizing Opportunities Through a Pandemic-eMarketer Advertising Report 2021-Mark Sneider Quote

Navigating Pressures and Seizing Opportunities Through a Pandemic and Beyond

Executive Summary

The relationship between brands and agencies is ever-changing.

Throw in a pandemic, seismic disruptions in marketing strategy, plus urgent digital transformation plans, and that partnership becomes even more complex, adding both stress and opportunities for agencies as they prioritize their own success while still meeting and exceeding client demands.

How has the pandemic affected marketing and advertising agencies?

In 2020, agencies saw declines in revenues and struggled to close new business deals, while many in the US received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding. Still, some agencies saw the tumultuous nature of pandemic as an opportunity to guide clients through a crisis. Furthermore, the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation for major brands, and agencies were and remain ready and waiting to assist in that journey.

KEY STAT: Agency executives worldwide are focused on improving multiple areas of their business for success in the future, including new business strategy (60%), productivity and efficiency (54%), profitability (54%), and attracting and retaining the right talent (47%).

Why do brands regularly audit their agency roster?

A big brand putting its agency business out for review is standard practice. It ensures the brand is getting the best work from its partners and keeps the ecosystem competitive. It also allows the brand to design a model that reflects the current state of marketing and advertising and its business priorities.

What is the state of in-housing?

The initial threat of brands in-housing isn’t as strong to agencies as it once was.

Still, there are brands that bring commoditized capabilities in-house, and some even build their own shops if it’s a core differentiator or value proposition.

Agencies are not threatened and see it as another way to guide and support clients as they build their team, skills, and operating model.

How can agencies best serve their clients in 2021 and beyond?

Agencies should focus on updating and evaluating their offerings to bring fresh and innovative ideas to the table, especially as clients change their needs. They should also understand their role when engaged in multi-agency brand ecosystem and be clear on how to deliver success. Lastly, agencies should be evaluating their operating model for a balance of depth and breadth with agility and scale.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report covers the pandemic’s impact on the agency landscape, reviews other challenges agencies face like roster audits and in-housing, and highlights priority areas for future growth.

 

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From Ad Age: COVID accelerates belt-tightening as brands try in-housing, reviews, projects, digital experiments and more

COVID-19 and the related recession forced sharp cutbacks in marketing spending last year that still weigh on budgets now that marketers are going into second-quarter planning for 2021. But while spending started rebounding for most of the U.S. marketing industry in the back half of last year, it doesn’t feel that way for lots of people, especially in big agency holding companies where revenue continues to decline.

A survey by agency new business marketing firm RSW/US finds only 41% business marketing firm RSW/US finds only 41% of marketers expect to increase marketing spending this year, down from 50% last year, but a bit better than the all-time low of 38% in 2013.

Well before COVID, cost-cutting had become a way of life for marketers—and the pandemic has only served to sharpen their knives—accelerating everything from remote work and distributed workforces to more programmatic media buying, remote-controlled commercial production and greater flexibility in TV deals.

In some cases, marketers are just pushing harder on tried-and-true cost-cutting measures including agency consolidation, increasing project reviews or bringing more marketing in-house.

In others, they’re trying inventive new tactics including saving money on market research by putting products for sale in social media without actually having any products on hand.

But no matter how they are achieving it, one thing is for certain: As the industry continues to seek out ways to do more with less, there is potential for even bigger cuts in years ahead as marketers and agencies decide how many people to bring back into offices and whether to renew leases for expensive commercial real estate.

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61% of marketers said they expect in-housing to increase

Marketers and agencies are expecting in-housing to continue this year, a clear sign that what was once a growing trend might be the new reality.

The amount of work managed in-house is expected to increase over the next few years, according to 61% of senior-level marketers who responded to a survey by RSW/US, a firm that helps agencies find new business opportunities.

The report found that half of agency respondents said that 26% or more of their clients do “agency-like work” in-house. It also found that, compared to five years ago, more and more marketers are using two or fewer agencies to support their business needs.

“Marketers are struggling to do more with less,” the report said. “While many marketers are making the move to bring some services in-house, this alone isn’t their answer. Agencies need to show marketers why they are unique in the value they provide, as marketers will continue to look to agencies to bring them things they can’t get from an in-house shop.”

In-housing

According to the report, 48% of agencies expect the amount of work clients manage in-house to increase, while 46% said they expect no change. Only 7% said they expect in-house work to decrease.

“Agencies have to learn to work with in-house firms,” Sneider said. “If I were an agency, I wouldn’t want to ignore what’s happening.”

Nancy Hill, former 4A’s CEO and founder of consultancy Media Sherpas, said it’s “too soon” to tell how the in-housing trend will shake out—but said agencies, particularly independent ones, are beginning to find ways to prove their value within this framework.

“Clients are certainly experimenting with what works internally versus what works externally. I think agencies are figuring out how to work with that system,” she said.

Greg Paull, principal and co-founder at marketing consultancy R3, said marketers will continue to “find more and more things to try and do in-house,” particularly those who are armed with first-party data they may not want to share with agencies.

Consolidation

The report found a slight uptick in the percentage of marketers who plan to consolidate the number of agencies in their roster this year.

In 2018, 26% of marketers said they plan to use fewer agencies, while in 2019 that number rose to 35%. Additionally, 70% of marketers reported using two or fewer agencies to support their business needs, compared to 54% in in 2017.

However, Paull is skeptical that marketers are actually making moves to seriously consolidate their rosters.

“I think they’re talking about consolidation, but I don’t believe they’re actually doing it,” he said. “I would be surprised if rosters continue to decrease, because I think marketers are looking for the best ideas. They are willing to go anywhere for that.”

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58% of Marketers Believe They Could ‘Know More’ When It Comes to Martech Although most marketers have adopted some form of martech at this point, new research shows that many are still just beginning to test the waters in terms of familiarizing themselves with martech platforms.

58% of Marketers Believe They Could ‘Know More’

Although most marketers have adopted some form of martech at this point, new research shows that many are still just beginning to test the waters in terms of familiarizing themselves with platforms.

RSW/US recently conducted the “2019 Marketing Technology Survey Report,” and the majority of marketers (58%) said that while they are reasonably well-versed in terms of platforms, they believe that they could know more.

Twenty-four percent said that they’re still trying to figure them out, while only nine percent claimed that they are on top of them.

 

About 46% of marketers say that there are simply too many offerings in the martech space, making it challenging.

Nearly 55% claim that they don’t have the time to read up on martech platforms, and 45% find many of them to be too expensive.

Many Marketers Still Working on Integrating Martech

As it turns out, many marketers are still working on implementing martech into their strategies, according to previous research.

Ascend2 recently conducted the “Marketing Technology Trends Survey,” and statistics showed that the majority of marketers (63%) are still “working on it” when it comes to implementing.

Furthermore, most respondents (58%) have only been “somewhat successful” at achieving their top priorities with their strategy.

About 52% of marketers say that integrating disparate systems is their biggest challenge. This is followed by attributing revenue to marketing (47%) and increasing marketing ROI (36%).

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