3 Reasons Why Marketers Are Looking For More Specialty Agencies


In our 2018 RSW/US New Year Outlook Report, we unearthed a significant shift in the market that might have bigger, full-service shops concerned.

Today, more so than years past, marketers are looking to fill specialty talent voids left by their roster shops at what could be considered an aggressive pace.

In 2013, only 47% of marketers stated they were looking for “specialty agencies”.  At the end of last year, 71% of marketers in our survey said they needed help from specialty firms.

3 Reasons Why Marketers Are Looking For More Specialty Agencies:

1. The media/marketing landscape is extremely fragmented and getting more complex, thus creating a greater need for smart, specialized agencies to complement existing relationships.

2. The growing importance of data and analytics.

This year 87% of marketers stated data/analytics was important when looking for a new agency.

Last year, only 73% of marketers felt that way, so the growing need to find agencies that are solid in this area, drives marketers to more specialized firms.

  1. While a significant number of marketers feel it is “Extremely Important” to measure ROI for digital and traditional media (77% and 61%, respectively)…

…only 15% of Marketers feel their agency is “Very Effective” at supporting their need to measure return on marketing investment. 

Agencies also aren’t too enthusiastic about their own skills (only 38% rated themselves “very effective”).

So, while all of these findings in no way suggest agencies need to drop everything they’ve been doing and suddenly become specifically specialized, it does suggest that agencies need to stay steps ahead of their clients and bring them the expertise they need and deserve.

In 2015, we created an infographic called 8 Animal Traits Agencies Need to Survive.  One of those animals, the ant, was used to represent the need for agencies to be curators of “best-in-class” talents – owned by the agency or otherwise.

In our surveys, marketers tell us that agencies don’t have to own it all – strategic partnership are fine.  So if an agency is lacking in specific talents, they need to get out there and find it before their client decides to find it on their own.

Author: Mark Sneider

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.