Let’s Not Go Back to the “Used Car Like” Days


When I started RSW/US in 2005, the industry was very “used car salesman like” in its reputation and the industry was in its infancy.

Over the years, I’d like to think that we brought some legitimacy to the industry.  We helped the industry grow and along with some of our competitors, we were able to instill a measure of credibility and validity into the activity of outsourcing agency new business.

But I find myself a bit concerned as I sit here today because of what’s happening in the market.

Our agency clients kindly share the volumes of emails they receive from individuals and other firms trying to win their business and unfortunately, the promises made are sometimes dubious.

Agency New Business Sales

Claims like $1B in closed business to clients, guaranteed opportunities, and outright over-promising are just a few of the claims I’ve seen over the past year.

It reminds me of what happened in the UK, where RSW first started back in 1992.  The market became cluttered with random offerings and the exaggerations grew right along with the number of firms playing in the space.

No single firm is perfect.  We have lost clients after trying relentlessly to help them win business.  Our competitors pick up clients from us and we pick up clients from them.  It’s just the nature of our business – and the nature of yours.

But what we don’t need is the industry of outsourced agency new business drug back down into the bowels of the unbelievable that so permeated its existence in the start of the century.

If you hear a claim that seems too good to be true, more than likely, it probably is.

New business in the agency world is tough business.  It takes anywhere from 5 to 11 touches just to get a meeting these days.  Marketer consolidation, agency proliferation, and project work domination all play into what makes for a more competitive and more challenging environment.

Winning

Outsourced firms like ours and our competitors can and do help agencies win new business.

Just beware of those out there that claim that the big prize is right around the corner.

Author: Mark Sneider

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.