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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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