come together


Agency consolidation is on the rise…and I’m not talking the acquisition type of consolidation.

Marketers are consolidating the number of agencies they are using…and expect that trend to continue.

In our recently released 2015 New Year Outlook Report, we asked the question: “How many marketing agencies (not including independent contractors/individuals) do you have supporting your business?”

Of marketers who responded, 62% report using two or more agencies to support their business. This is down 13 points compared to 2009 when 75% of marketers said they used two or more agencies.

Looking deeper, RSW/US asked marketers whether they have been adding more specialty agencies or consolidating into fewer.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of respondents replied that they are consolidating. Moreover, 63% indicated they anticipate the trend to consolidate will continue.

This move to consolidate means agencies need to show their existing clients that they can think, act and operate strategically across platforms on behalf of a client’s brand.

This can either take the form of a deep bench across multiple disciplines, or it can mean strong strategic partnerships with other agencies in key areas, like media, PR, SEO/SEM if your agency doesn’t have the expertise in these particular areas.

Marketers are fine with you not having it all.  They’ve told us this in past surveys and we see it on the RSW/AgencySearch side of our business when marketers come to us looking for new agencies.

This consolidation also means there are going to be more agencies vying for fewer pieces of business.

This is certainly one reason for agencies to consider carefully how best to invest in the human capital supporting their business. It includes making sure agencies have enough support behind their own marketing to protect from potential losses resulting from marketers’ efforts to consolidate.

Our survey points to the fact that agencies are certainly starting to feel this pressure.   Through the same survey, 79% of responding agencies stated that the industry is more competitive, up from 68% in 2013.

Furthermore, 88% of agencies anticipate their approach to new business will be “somewhat” or “much more” aggressive.

So if it’s been awhile since you’ve updated your site or reworked your case studies or presentation deck or proposals, you might want to take a fresh and objective look at all of it to make certain it’s not only telling the story that you want to hear, but it’s also telling the story your potential new marketing client wants to hear.

Happy to discuss any of this with any of you if you’d like.  Just drop me a line (

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.