If it feels like the industry is becoming more competitive — it’s not just you.

In the RSW/US 2015 New Year Outlook Survey, 79% of agencies responding indicated seeing the industry as more competitive than it was three-four years ago.

And, this is a considerable increase from 2013, when 68% of responders observed increasing competition.

Industry more competitive

Surely, a strong new business program is important to agencies for a vibrant business in the future. Just as certainly, retaining clients – old and new – is critical for a healthy business.

Yes, this IS obvious, but with the increasingly competitive environment, the fundamentals to building solid client relationships and long-term loyalty are increasingly important.

The “old relationship model” is relevant for a generation that has already retired. Now, marketers are looking to agencies as strategic partners.

Build client loyalty beginning day one, and take steps constantly to reinforce client relationships.

Consider some of these tactics for showing clients they matter every day – just like it’s the day you first won their business!

Bring strategic, insightful business building ideas to them. Regularly. Set a goal of at least once a month.

Add value in perhaps simple, but meaningful ways. Go beyond delivering what is assigned, and consider how your team can assist your client in solving or eliminating routine problems.

Put distinct emphasis on client retention.

o How do your clients feel working with your team – highly valued and respected, or like an interruption?

o Have you considered a written client retention plans that outlines steps to build and reinforce relationships throughout each client’s organization?

 Consider “voice of the client” report cards. This is a tool that goes beyond providing feedback on the work your firm has already completed. It can identify gaps that need to be closed before they create problems. It can also reveal opportunity for your firm to anticipate and prepare for upcoming needs.

Client turnover in this industry will always exist.

Strategies for keeping it to a minimum will bring success for your firm and your clients, and professional satisfaction that goes beyond financial measures.


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.