We’ve been dealing out a lot of new business tips, facts and advice over the past seven weeks….and the last 11 years!

The “Winning Hands” playing cards we’ve been playing daily on #Instagram were truly dealt randomly, and “three of a kind” showed up in this week’s cards that caught my attention, given their common connection to our Agency of the Future advice.  What’s more, two of the three relate to marketing technology specifically, a force that is propelling industry evolution.

With so many firms immersed in planning season or embarking on it soon, it’s a great time to take another look at these traits:

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Implications of these traits: 

Real Timer: Being an agency that is tenacious, competitive AND able to operate in “real time” helps your clients succeed in increasingly fragmenting, complex and competitive markets.

Student of Technology: your firm needs to be proactive in continuously studying, learning and applying new tools and technology to build both YOUR business and YOUR CLIENTS’ business.

Selectively Specialized: Promote your strengths, specialization and expertise to differentiate yourself.

You are likely already aware that the ability to be a “Real Timer” and a “Student of Technology” are traits that Marketers are looking for in their agencies.

A June 2016 report from Marketing Insider Group illustrated the increased emphasis on marketing technology capabilities.  The study examined skills sought in over 75,000 job listings on LinkedIn.  Following are the emphasized skill sets from that study:

  • 39% – technology and digital engagement
  • 38% – strategy plus planning
  • 32% – data analysis
  • 27% – customer experience
  • 26% – advertising and branding
  • 16% – creative graphics


Consider these desired skills from the standpoint of an agency partner.  Technology and digital engagement skills lead the list and given the rate marketing technology is growing, these skills will increase in importance.  Agencies of the Future will be able to support these needs.

Specialization is also important to Marketers; 88% say that it is important for their agency to specialize in their industry.

Specialization and New Business Development

Specialization can play a central role in your new business development strategy.   If you are a full-service agency serving multiple industries and are doing it all very successfully, I’m not suggesting you stop.

However, the most effective new business development programs are borne out of highly selective and well defined positioning that leverages a particular area of expertise.

Even if your firm is superior in doing it all, presenting yourself as everything to everyone can dilute the impact of your new business efforts.

With each new business prospect, zero in on what makes you uniquely suited to their business; they are more likely to engage when they perceive specialization they need.

The full RSW/US “Winning Hands” deck of cards (and new business advice) is available FREE.  If you’d like a set for yourself, or your firm, just provide us mailing information and we’ll make sure you receive a deck of your own!

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.