Agency Partners: How Many Is Too Many?

May 13, 2014

As the world of marketing becomes more complex, brands are relying on an increasing number of partners to help them connect with consumers. Small, specialized agencies have begun to proliferate, and the idea of the singular, full-service agency has become outdated. The challenge of managing more relationships, however, puts brands at risk of losing efficiency and effectiveness. Marketing2020 found that the ideal agencies for a brand vary depending on function.

  • Of marketers surveyed, 52 percent anticipate working mostly with smaller, specialized agencies for their creative needs in the next five years.
  • Conversely, 47 percent of marketers say they will mostly work with large, global, general-service agencies for media planning and buying.
  • Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed work with only one to five agencies.

A common theme among the marketers surveyed was the desire for agencies to eliminate unnecessary overhead to become leaner and more versatile. One marketer noted that “the overhead and account planning aspects of the traditional agency add little value in a real-time marketing environment characterized by authenticity, relationships, and speed.” There was also a popular desire to see agencies focused on a few specific industries. This increases understanding of the inner workings of these industries and know-how to adjust media buys, creative, and PR to meet the changing tides of these industries.

About Marketing2020

Marketing2020Organizing for Growth is the most comprehensive global marketing leadership initiative ever undertaken. Led by Millward Brown Vermeer in partnership with the ANA, Spencer Stuart, and Adobe, Marketing2020 is focused on how to best align marketing strategy, structure, and capabilities for business growth. The Marketing2020 fieldwork included vision interviews with more than 250 leading CMOs and an in-depth online survey of 10,491 contributors from 92 countries.


"Agency Partners: How Many Is Too Many?." Marketing2020.