stamping project for kids

To project or not to project?

That is the question.

Turn the clock back to 2005 when I started RSW/US and agencies could be much more discriminating. They didn’t have to accept project work, they could be more selective relative to their client base, and if you were a big networked agency, you could dismiss small potato marketing clients.

No so much anymore.

In our most recent survey, 52% of marketers said that up to 40% of the work they assigned to agencies in 2015 was project work.

40% of marketers anticipate that the amount of project work they will assign will increase in 2016.

77% of agencies said that 60% of their work in 2015 came to them via project work.

Each and every year, we have seen more of our agency clients win more business – most of which is project based…that often leads to larger assignments within the organization.

There are the occasional AOR assignments, but they are fewer in numbers than they were in 2005.

Why you ask?


There are a number of reasons why project work has increased and will continue to increase as we move throughout the coming years.

  • Pressure on marketers is increasing and they are looking for the best-in-class options to help address their business challenges
  • There are more agencies knocking on more marketer doors – giving marketers more choices
  • Technology changes are making it more difficult for any agency to best-in-class in all platforms needed by marketers

So what does this mean for you, the agency?

Means you can still be selective (only going after project business if you think there’s some real potential down the road)…but means you have to accept project work.

Means you need to get more aggressive in finding work, because there are fewer marketers that can carry you from job to job…and more agencies getting more aggressive in their attempts to find new business.

Means you need to accept what might be lower margin project business to win it big down the road with the same client.

Means you need to better define your point of difference as an agency to help marketers more clearly see why they should select you over the hundreds of agencies trying to win the hearts and minds of the same marketers you want on your roster.

And in defining your positioning, you need to build the marketing platforms around it to support a solid inbound marketing program that defines your thinking, your positioning, and your expertise.

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.