Agency Consolidation Plans Marketers Expect In 2020

Agency Consolidation Plans Marketers Expect In 2020-3 Takeaways Ep36

In this “3 Takeaways”, we talk about agency consolidation plans marketers expect In 2020. What can you do to insulate your agency from that event? Find out in this episode.

This is “3 Takeaways”, the RSW agency new business video series where we give you three takeaways to help improve your new business program.

Give us a like if we’re helping you on the new business side of things and hit subscribe if you want more agency new business content.

Per our latest twenty-twenty New Year Outlook Report, Marketers plan to consolidate roster agencies this year.

Thirty-five percent report they plan to use fewer agencies, versus twenty-six in eighteen and fifteen percent in seventeen.

You’re shaking your head aren’t you? We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Yes, yes we have, per Marketing Charts in nineteen, with the article “Agencies’ New Business Worries Spike” and Marketing Profs, way back in fifteen, with “Brands Are Using Fewer Marketing Agencies.”

Just two examples. Point being, we’re once again thrust back into the cyclical trend of consolidation.

As ever, it provides potential opportunities and potential grief for small to mid-sized agencies.

So what does it mean, from a new business standpoint?

Well, one outcome is, you may be the last agency standing.

This type of consolidation is not something you would wish on another competitor but the fact is, in a process of consolidation, your firm may very well be last man standing, or one of a few. You obviously need to embrace this, and in order to hedge your bets that you are that firm, you need to embrace our first takeaway:

Own your client’s brand.

And I mean consistently show that you get them, that you have intimate knowledge of their brand. I know many agencies, clients and non-clients alike, who know their client’s business and brand better than the client’s team does.

Especially given the current state of turnover on the marketer side.

Granted, it’s not always easy to show that in an ongoing way, but any chance you get, show them that they can’t get rid of you-remind them, as diplomatically as you can.

OK, your second takeaway and another tactic to keep your firm on the roster:

Treat them like they’re still a prospect.

Once the work kicks in, you get busy, and your client gets pulled in every direction possible.

They’re focused on you when they need to be and then they’re on to putting out the next fire.

It gets very easy for you and your team to become laser-focused on the work, which of course you have to be, but you run the risk of being pegged as “the agency that does this thing” by your client.

Chances are, you can do more for that client, or you may have other insights to share that could open a door to additional/new work.

This can be hard to do, I will grant you that.

But if you’re creating any type of content at all relevant to your client’s vertical, you have to find a way to get it front of them.

Especially if it’s related to new trends or technology in that vertical.

They may not read it immediately (or ever?) but the simple act of getting your name in front of them in a different way will add value.

And chances are, if you’ve built even a small relationship, they will get to it.

It shows you walk the walk, and are staying on top of trends that will help your client look like a hero, or at least more knowledgeable.

The reality is, you should do these things I’m talking about, but ultimately, there are things out of your control, no matter what you do.

As good and successful as the work may be, you could be the firm that loses the business.

That truly sucks, and it will be painful. So the one thing you must do, as self-serving as it may be for me to say, is your third takeaway:

Make new business a priority this year.

However you do it, it’s the best possible insurance you can have against this worst-case scenario,  agency consolidation plans marketers expect in 2020. Take baby steps, with smaller, manageable tasks to start: a combination of referrals, content and outbound prospecting. Do what you can initially, find your footing, and increase in manageable intervals. You can do it. Thanks for watching 3 Takeaways, and see you next time.


I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.