incandescent lightbulb


The annual Mirren Agency is always a great event.  Hundreds of agencies, lots of great insights, and a great way to stay current on what’s happening in the marketing agency world.

Each year, they invite other search consultants in to speak about the world of agencies and what it takes to win in an agency-client relationship.

At the 2014 conference, Lisa Colantuono of AAR Partners talked about how agencies need to be “always on” in a relationship to make it successful.   

We talk the same story but characterize it as a “make every day of the relationship feel like the first day”. 

Regardless of what you call it, the implication for agencies is the same:

Agencies have to do more than just take orders and be great executioners of “stuff”….they need to be consultants and advisers and thinkers and strategists.

We have something we call an Agency Benchmark analysis that any marketer can take.

It basically affords marketers the ability to judge their agency on a number of criteria and compare their perception of their agency’s performance to that of 100’s of other marketers doing the same thing.

Just yesterday we received input from a marketer at a national flooring company and the results looked like this:


Pretty typical of what we’ve seen lately.

Agencies not keeping their marketing partners ahead of the curve, not thinking strategically and not proactively managing their client’s business.

While “getting by” may have been easier and more easy to tolerate in year’s past when relationships were more about relationships and less about the business of moving a business ahead, in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, this approach simply won’t cut it.

In 2010, there were approximately 100 marketing technology companies in the market.  At the start of 2014, there were over 950 companies in the market.  Not saying that your agency needs to know all and be all, but you need to be students of technology and be there to help your clients sort through what can look like a maze of options available to drive your business.

Call it “always on” or “treating every day like the first day”…the key is being the agency that takes the business of being a couple steps ahead of your client, seriously.

This is the way agency-client relationships last.  Of course results matter a ton, but results can’t happen if you as the agency isn’t committed to the same.

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.