2014 Outlook Survey: More competition ahead for ad agency new business

Mark Sneider RSW Ad Agency New Business

In a recent survey, 63% of agencies state that there will be more competition for new business.

Guest post written by Mark Sneider, Owner/President of RSW/US. 

Most agencies seemed to have a good year last year and most of them that we talked to with seemed to be starting out the new year on a solid footing.

I know in our RSW/US outsourced agency new business world, more of our clients are winning business, more of them are being looked at by marketers we introduce them to, and more of their own clients are dialing up their marketing

All good seems good for now.

In our latest annual outlook survey,  marketers and agencies echo this positive sentiment but,  they also recognize that it’s not all going to be a cake walk this year.

Overall, agencies believe that this year holds a good deal of promise, with close to 70% of those responding stating that they believe the number of opportunities will increase in 2014 versus last year.

% Of Agencies Expecting New Business Opportunities Will Increase In Upcoming Year

2014: 69%
2013: 60%
2012: 72%
2011: 74%

The great news is that we seem to be on a bit of a rebound now that a lot of the political inertia in Washington is somewhat behind us.  Coming out of the 2008-2010 recession, agencies seemed a bit more optimistic (at least for a couple of years).  Things slid a bit last year in terms of enthusiasm, but now it seems to be back – which is all good.

This positive feeling is backed by marketers’ good feelings about their expected spend levels in 2014 – enthusiasm that we have not seen for at least the past three years.

% of Agencies AND Marketers That Expect Marketing Spending To Increase “Somewhat” or “Significantly” In Upcoming Year

             Agencies              Marketers

2014:    60%                       50%  
2013:     53%                       38%
2012:     55%                       41%
2011:     60%                       44%

So while this is all fantastic news, there are some things that suggest it’s not going to be enough for an agency to just sit back and wait for the phone to ring.

For one, there are more agencies being considered for a client’s piece of business than ever before.

Both marketers and agencies state in this year’s survey that they are seeing a marked increase in the number of agencies that marketers are looking at for a single piece of business.  In the chart below, 63% of agencies state that they are in many more situations where there are multiple agencies in consideration.

2014 ad agency new businessGone seem to be the days of winning without competing.

Just looking at year over year comparisons of this same stat reveal a fairly marked increase in attitude about looking at multiple firms.

% of Agencies AND Marketers Stating That They Are In More Situations Where Multiple Agencies Are Being Considered for a Marketer’s Business

             Agencies               Marketers

2014:     63%                          43% 
2013:       59%                          34%

This change in attitude is likely brought about by three factors:  

  1. More marketers are dividing up parts of their business and are more often looking for agencies that have specific specialties to meet their needs so there’s a need to look at more firms to find the right one
  2. With consolidation of marketers’ businesses, there are fewer pieces of business out there and at least as many agencies – so there are more for marketers to look at.
  3. More pressure on marketers means they need to be more careful about who they bring on board.  The need to rationalize their spends more critically means they need an agency partner that’s equipped to help them do just that. Only looking at one agency simply isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Click to review RSW/US 2014 Outlook Survey results

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.

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