2008 – Agency Outlook


The 2008 RSW Agency Outlook Report was completed by 103 key agency principals during August 2007. The purpose of the survey was to glean insights about the 2008 business climate that could prove of value to agency principals as they prepare for the upcoming year.

The sample came from a database of agency principals ranging from under $5M in capitalized billings to over $50M. The disciplines of each agency varied from full service ad agencies to promotions agencies as shown in the breakdown below.

As usual, we leave the interpretation of our detailed findings to you. You know your business and you know how to use this stuff, so we won’t teach you how to suck eggs. Instead, we have prepared an overall executive summary for ease of reference.

If you would like to reproduce any of our findings in any format whatsoever, please ask permission.

Overall Survey Implications

Many agency principals feel 2008 will be a more competitive landscape. Nearly 50% of agency principals believe there will be more agencies in the market in 2008. Additionally, 85% of respondents stated they will be more aggressive in their approach to win new business in 2008 versus the previous year.

Despite the increased level of competition, 86% percent of agency principals still feel their business will grow in 2008. 50% principals also stated they plan on hiring more personnel for the upcoming year, further supporting their confidence

Agency principals believe the largest increases in new business will come in the form of acquiring new clients and offering innovative solutions to client needs. 65% believe increases in business will come by increasing the quantity of clients on the roster, while nearly 60% believe the key to success is by offering innovative, interactive & digital solutions.


More competition among agencies coupled with a more aggressive approach by firms to win new business will make it tougher for agencies to acquire new clients. Our experience suggests that the days of great referrals and networking is slowing down. As companies consolidate on the client side and as we see here, the number of agencies grows (and gets more aggressive), there will be an ever-increasing need to get more focused on business development.

The bottom line is the sooner agencies can become aggressive in acquiring new business with a differentiating and consistent approach, the quicker the agency will find itself in a better place.

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