Does Your In-House Agency Need an Outside Agency?

Many things keep agency leaders up late at night.

The latest agency night terror is the pendulum swing of clients building in-house agencies to replace them.

The fear appears to be spreading: 80% of agencies predict that their clients will bring at least some marketing services in-house in 2017, according to RSW/US.

On the surface, this shift sounds dire for agencies.

With brands building their own in-house services, agencies should be fading from the landscape — endangered species marching towards extinction.

Right?

Then why are new agencies, large and small, continuing to pop up and grow in every market?

Why are massive consulting firms tripping over themselves to build — or acquire — robust agency skills?

Clearly, there is still a need and an opportunity for out-of-house agencies.

At Traction, we make a significant part of our revenue working with clients who have in-house agencies and teams.

In a few cases, we’ve had those relationships for a better part of a decade.

Because of this history, we understand when and why internal agencies reach out to us to help complement their own abilities.

The curse of knowledge

Traditionally, brands have turned to agencies as an objective party that can help them find creative (or more recently, technical) solutions to business problems.

That is where agencies often provide the most value.

In its recent survey of in-house agencies, The Boss Group reported that 92% of in-house creative teams identified brand knowledge as part of their value.

This is a blessing and a curse (it’s too easy to pick on Pepsi here, so I just won’t). It leads to standards-based thinking, which leads to standards-based work.

In short, living and breathing a brand can blind people to new perspectives; they are are unable to see the forest for the trees.

 

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5 Trends That Will Define Agency New Business in 2017

Will 2017 be the year agencies fall dangerously out of touch with client expectations?

How will the shift towards project-based work impact your agency’s ability to retain long-term clients?

Do clients intend to move more marketing services in-house in 2017?

new report from RSW/US examines these and other troubling trends, offering valuable insights into both agency and marketer perspectives on key topics such as spending, project work versus AORs, and the explosive rise of marketing technology.

Now in its 11th year of publication, the annual RSW/US New Year Outlook Report gathers and analyzes data from over 10,000 agencies and over 100,000 marketing decision makers across the US and Canada. As you begin to set your marketing and sales priorities for 2017, consider how the RSW/US data will impact your goals.

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

Is 2017 the new 2008 for marketing agencies? Consider these recent industry developments:

We are only a month into 2017, and this is already shaping up to be an interesting and unpredictable year. We could blame it all on Trump, but that would be too easy. What’s happening now is feeling a little like what we saw in 2008, according to a new report from marketing lead generation firm RSW/US, which explains this déjà-vu moment in its 11th annual New Year Outlook survey.

Is 2017 the new 2008 for marketing agencies? Consider these recent industry developments:

  • Agency business is strong, but driven by a lot of project work, so business is somewhat unstable.
  • Marketing tech is raging, but both marketers and agencies feel the other is chasing shiny objects.
  • Agencies that never went after small pieces of the pie are now vying for this business because the networked agencies need revenue.
  • Marketers are demanding more from their agencies and giving them less.
  • The talent pool is somewhat sporadic, which makes marketers feel like agencies aren’t equipped to manage their business.
  • More marketers are bringing business in-house.

So not exactly the same kind of bubble, but there are a lot of economic, political and other market forces at play, making 2017 a bit unpredictable.

The firm offers insights into how to NOT make 2017 like 2008. What’s a marketing agency to do?

    • Be strategic—Don’t treat relationships as creative assignments…make them business assignments.
    • Don’t strap yourself with unnecessary overhead—Curate strategic partnerships.
    • Stay ahead of clients—Bring new ideas and technologies to the table that make good business sense.
    • Be agile & nimble—The old models don’t work and the world will continue to change.
    • Be focused and expert—Don’t be everything to everybody. Pick a space or two and own them.
    • Always be looking—Stay ahead of the search game and always be looking for new talent.
    • Get aggressive with new business—Either strengthen your internal process or hire a firm dedicated to agency new business like RSW/US.
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RSW/US, the nation’s leading outsourced lead generation firm for marketing agencies, just completed its 11th annual New Year Outlook survey.

One of the most compelling questions from the study has hit a nerve with marketers and agencies is whether 2017 is going to include more project work with agencies needing more revenue and marketers demanding more as agencies work with less.

The study notes that after less than a month into the New Year, 2017 is shaping up to be an interesting and unpredictable year.

The survey suggests that agency business is strong but driven by a lot of project work.

Further, while marketing tech is surging, both marketers and agencies alike feel that the other is chasing shiny objects.

With agencies needing more revenue, those same agencies that seldom went after small pieces of the pie are now vying for this business because the networked agencies need revenue.

With marketers demanding more from their agencies and giving them less, the survey also found that the talent pool is somewhat sporadic, which makes marketers feel like agencies aren’t equipped to manage their business.

With more marketers bringing business in-house, there are market forces at play making 2017 one of those years where agencies want to steady themselves so it does not become another 2008.

The survey suggests that agencies and marketers alike must curate strategic partnerships, and stay ahead of clients bringing new ideas and technologies to the table that make good business sense.

Being agile and nimble means that old models may not work.

The survey notes that being aggressive with new business can either strengthen the internal process or hire a firm dedicated to agency new business.

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RSW/US survey notes stubborn gap

It’s 2017, but advertisers and marketers remain at odds over the changing nature of their relationship, according to results from a New Year Outlook survey conducted by development firm RSW/US.

Asked about “troubling trends” in the industry, for instance, answers coming from the two disciplines were almost diametrically opposed.

Marketers complained that agencies “haven’t figured out how to be project-based,” pointed to a perceived “lack of technical and data-savvy teams on our accounts,” and claimed that too many legacy shops have yet to complete the cultural shift from old media to new.

Per RSW/US, agency executives, meanwhile, said marketers often turn to their own in-house departments for work they feel their teams could do better. They believe that such partners are unwilling to commit to quality work amid a “declining respect for agencies” and advertising in general.

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