A survey that we run continuously with Marketers individually establishes benchmarks on how their current agency is performing.

One of the questions asks Marketers to rate how reliable their agency is in consistently doing an excellent job on a 10-point scale.

This goes beyond creative, media planning and buying; it includes the agency’s ability to discern business developments that will impact their client’s business months in the future.

With 10 being “excellent”, the aggregated rating across Marketers surveyed is 6.2.

Marketers tell us they need agency partners who are:

  • Emotionally and intellectually vested in their brands
  • Strategic team leaders and members
  • NOT simply “order fillers” or a “creative powerhouse”


Amongst the characteristics highlighted in our Infographic, 8 Animal Traits You Need to Future-Proof your Agency, are the partnership traits of the horse.



Horses are excellent partners.  They became domesticated about 6,000 years ago, and have united with humans on the battlefield, in hunting, as transportation, on the farm and more.

From the marketer’s perspective, a strong agency partner will devote time to studying industry developments, certainly in marketing and advertising, but also importantly, in the client’s industry.

What trends are evolving?  What is the competition doing?  How will these activities affect the client and their business, next week, next year, five years out or more? 

To future-proof your agency, ensure that your team develops understanding and vision that can guide the client in leveraging industry changes to their advantage.

Proactively bring your clients insights your team generates about developments in their industry and the challenges and opportunities they present.

Encourage your group to “own” the brands they work on every bit as much as your clients do.

Emotional and intellectual investment in your clients’ brands will position your firm as a partner that can be relied upon to do an excellent job consistently.


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.